Category Archives: General

MySisterSaid Better Health Starts with 3x 10-Minutes a Day


Who wouldn't love a 10-minute walk on a day like this!

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?

MySisterSaid Lebanese Butternut Squash with Tahini Sauce is a Savory Side Dish

Lebanse Butternut Squash

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.

Lebanese Butternut Squash & Tahini Sauce ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 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!

Do you have a favorite butternut squash recipe?


MySisterSaid Sleep Your Way to Better Health

Sleeping-Beauty-BJ-LAt bedtime when we were little kids, my mom often said it was “Time for the Sandman to visit“.  According to legend, the Sandman would come by and sprinkle sand in your eyes, forcing them to close, thus prompting sleep.

I have to admit that this creeped me out!  I mean it wasn’t as if the Sandman was going to leave a dollar under my pillow, like the Tooth Fairy. We’ve all been to the beach and getting sand in your eyes isn’t a very pleasant experience, certainly not something you want to think about while trying to go to sleep!

I did a little research on the “Sandman”, and what my mom failed to impart to me, or perhaps I didn’t hear, is that the the Sandman is a kindly figure, and the sand he sprinkled in your eyes was a very fine magical dust meant to help you fall into a sleep full of wonderful dreams.  What a better image than the one my five year old self conjured up!

Based on the latest sleep research, we should all be welcoming the Sandman. Here are a few great reasons to catch some more ZZZZZZs:

Weigh Less: Dieters who get enough sleep lose more fat, whereas dieters who don’t sleep enough lose more muscle mass

Live Longer: More deaths occur in those who get fewer than 5 hours of sleep than those who get adequate sleep

Curb Inflammation: People who sleep fewer than 6 hours a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins, which are markers for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging

Boost Immunity: People who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep may be 3 times more likely to catch a cold compared to those who get adequate sleep

Ward off Depression: Getting a good nights sleeps helps reduce anxiety and level-out your mood

There are plenty more good reasons to conjure up your best image of the Sandman and head off to the Land of Nod. What will you do tonight to relax and get some extra sleep?




MySisterSaid Here are 11 Reasons Why You Should Drink Coffee

healthy coffee

I love it that coffee is actually a superfood!

There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee!

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:


  1. Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than anything else.

  2. Just smelling coffee could make you less stressed.

  3. Coffee could lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  4. Coffee is great for your liver (especially if you drink alcohol).

  5. Coffee can make you feel happier.

  6. Coffee consumption has been linked to lower levels of suicide.

  7. Coffee could reduce your chances of getting skin cancer (if you’re a woman).

  8. Coffee can make you a better athlete.

  9. Coffee could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  10. Drinking coffee could help keep your brain healthier for longer.

  11. 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

MySisterSaid Sometimes Living Longer and Stronger Isn’t About Fitness and Nutrition. Sometimes It’s Simply About Living.

Sometimes life is all about living

Life is really all about living

 A couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Heartbreakingly. At some point in all of our lives we lose someone we care about, and at that point we consider our own lives. The funeral service for this good man was remarkable, a true celebration of his life. Several friends spoke to their relationships with him and how he lived his life. It made me think…how am I living my life? How do I want to be living my life? In all of my pondering I’ve had three major thoughts:

Take care of yourself

Is it time for your annual exam? Go. Just do it! Due for a mammogram or colonoscopy? Ten years since your last cholesterol check? Time to get it done. Sometimes none of this makes any difference at all, and when it’s your time, it’s your time. But what if it’s not your time, yet you are hastening the end along? Your family and friends want you around for as long as possible – so help yourself! Quit procrastinating, quit worrying about what the results will be before you even have them, quit making excuses. Take the time to take care of your health.

Find the silver lining

Our friend found the simple joy in living. How great is that, and really, how easy? Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day and nothing can be done. However, the sun came up today and you woke up. That’s good, right? Aren’t your kids the cutest things ever? It’s good to have a job (even if you are furloughed)! In the midst of the worst, there’s always something good to be had. And as they say, it always gets better. Remember that, take a deep breath and enjoy the oxygen!

Love the good life

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that we stop really living. We’re just doing. What about the friend you’ve been meaning to call and get caught up with? Call her. Call your mother, your sister, your kids – and tell them that you love them. Takes ten minutes – do it while you make dinner. Go visit if you can! Make dates and keep them. Take a class you’ve been thinking about. Write down those memories you’ve been meaning to keep for your kiddos. Make those first moves off the couch you’ve been talking about. Maybe you have 50 years more, maybe 5 years, maybe 5 days and maybe 5 minutes. Do what you can to live longer and stronger with what you have!