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The 8 Dimensions of Wellness

The Wheel of Wellness encompasses these 8 dimensions:

Physical:

Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep, regular physical examinations.

Environmental:

Promoting good self-health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.

Emotional:

Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.

Financial:

Satisfaction with current and future financial situations.

Spiritual:

Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Intellectual:

Recognizing creative abilities and strengths and finding ways to expand our knowledge base and our skills.

Occupational:

Personal satisfaction and enrichments from our work – paid or volunteer.

Social:

Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.

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Butternut Squash Soup

butternut soup

I have modified this recipe from the original version offered at another website. Owing to length and copyright issues.

The version I created is quicker and easier. A plus as not a lot of us have the time or energy to labor over a hot stove for hours on end.

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash halved vertically and seeded (about 3 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling.

1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced.

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 to 4 cups vegetable broth, as needed (24 to 32 ounces)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle each half of the squash with just enough olive oil to lightly coat on the inside (about 1/2 teaspoon each.)
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until tender and completely cooked, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let it cool about 10 minutes. Then scoop the butternut squash flesh into a blender.
  3. In a medium skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has started to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Transfer shallot and garlic to blender. Add in maple syrup and nutmeg. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth.
  5. Use blend function on the blender if it doesn’t have a soup pre-set.
  6. Heat the soup in a saucepan.

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The butternut squash I used from the CSA box was medium-sized.

Thus, it might have been better to decrease the amount of liquid I used to only 1 1/2 cups for a creamier soup. I had used 3 cups like the recipe called for.

Also, I should’ve decreased the cooking time for the shallots and garlic. They got burnt so I had to add more and re-do for a shorter time.

I prefer to use the FreshDirect vegetable stock instead of regular broth. This is because the stock has no natural flavors just real ingredients.

You can use vegetable broth if you’d like. Either way it should be fine. Just lower the amount of liquid should you want a creamier soup and have a smaller squash.

 

 

Falling in Love with Food

The early fall is my favorite time of year.

It’s where I’m falling in love with the food offered at the Greenmarkets and via the online groceries vendor in New York City.

I’ve taken to ordering an organic CSA box every week. The box is chock full of produce. For only $30 you get enough vegetables to last for three or four days of cooking.

The Hepworth Farms cornucopia features a carrot, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, hot pepper, Lacinato kale, an ear of corn, garlic heads, an onion bulb, shallots, two apples, and scallions. And oh—mint leaves, celery, hot peppers and a green pepper, and butternut squash.

If you ask me $30 isn’t a heck of a lot of money for this assortment. Ordering groceries online and having them delivered right to your front door beats the hassle of going to a food market.

Who wants to dodge shopping carts  and have to wait on line to pay for the  mostly unhealthful food and drink options?

Plus, I can’t reach any of the items I want to get. A market employee has to be called on to bring the organic lettuce down from a high shelf.

I’ve given up on going to a food market for major weekly shopping.

Plus the last time I bought scallops from a market I thought I was going to get food poisoning after cooking and eating them.

If you live in New York City and want the only superb seafood, go to a Greenmarket vendor that sells fish and other catches of the sea during market season.

At other times of the year go to a standalone seafood storefront where all they sell is fish.

In the second blog entry for today I’m going to feature a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

Pure joy can be had when you eat healthfully eighty percent of the time and break a sweat at least twice a week.

This is my mantra: eat well to live well.

Though I can’t resist having a honey-lavender macaroon or a scoop of ice cream here and there : )

FreshDirect online grocery shopping here.

Setting Up a Home Gym 3.0

To set up a home gym I recommend getting this equipment:

A 36-inch foam roller.

A set of 5-pound, 8-pound, and 10-pound dumbbells. (Use a set of 5-pounders to start. Or 2-pound dumbbells first if you’re out of shape. As your routine gets easier add the 8- and 10-pound sets.)

A 10- or 15-pound kettlebell. (I have 10-pound 15-pound and 20-pound kettlebells.)

A 10-pound body bar. (Start with a lower weight if you have to.)

An aerobic platform with risers.

Medicine ball. (I have a 12-pound.)

A resistance band.

Disc sliders.

These items can be bought on Amazon.com. I bought the dumbbells and medicine ball at Modell’s as well as training tee shirts and pants. Get fitted for the right sneakers while you’re at it.

First: you might have to buy an exercise mat to cover a rug or carpet. I have a hardwood floor in my living room where I exercise regularly.

Exercises that can be done in your apartment: (Watch YouTube videos to see the correct form.)

Foam roller stretching and other stretches.

Dumbbell exercises:

Pec flyes, bicep curl, chest press, lunges and squats, walking lunges, lateral raises, triceps kickback, chest press with squat, renegade row, one-arm row, one-leg dumbbell step up with reverse lunge, dumbbell donkey kicks, dumbbell fire hydrants, dumbbell flyes to shoulder press, dumbbell Russian twists.

Kettlebell exercises:

Swings, goblet squats, curtsy pulse squats, side squats, one-leg dead lifts.

Body bar exercises:

Frontal raises, hip bridging from floor.

Core exercises:

Bicycle crunches, figure 4s, leg raises, alternating V-ups, in-and-out crunch, Russian twists, toe touches.

Other exercises:

Planks, disc slides knee-to-elbow, plank jacks with disc sliders, side plank with hip drop, wall sits, jumping jacks, medicine ball slams (on hardwood floor or mat), triceps dips off chair, butt kicks in place, high knees in place, butt kicks in place, squat jacks, resistance band bicep curls, tricep dips off box (can use a chair at home), plank with opposite knee to elbow, lateral plank walks, body weight squats, decline pushups (off coffee table at home), mountain climbers.

(Disc slider exercises can only be done on hardwood floors or exercise mat. Cloth side faces floor.)

 

The Inspired Vegan

inspired vegan

The photo is the cover of a book I bought when it was first published in 2012.

Bryant Terry is a food activist who founded b-healthy in New York City. His goal was to train young people as food educators. To help them buy and eat and advocate for healthful food.

From The Inspired Vegan cookbook I’ve used the Simple Salad of Butter Lettuce and Fresh Spring Herbs with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. The book has the recipe for the vinaigrette. You can use regular lemons if you don’t have Meyer lemons.

I recommend this book for everyone not just vegans. I also bought the cookbook Grub that Bryant Terry coauthored.

I realize I had forgotten to write about setting up a home gym 3.0. I had said I was going to write about this. In the next Fitness Friday blog entry I will list a ton of at-home exercises you can do.

 

Talking About Health

book cover well

The subtitle of the captioned book is What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health.

The author Sandro Galea connects the dots that no one else has connected. He illuminates the root causes of health disparities among Americans.

The excess of diet books churned out and published each year expand the myth that personality responsibility causes ill health for the majority of Americans.

As economic inequality increases none of us will be immune from having to choose between buying an unhealthful $6.99 Hungry Man Swanson dinner and picking up fish and vegetables for dinner.

As Sandro Galea brings to light:

“True health comes from social and economic justice. It is a product of systems that create opportunities for all to live a life that is unconstrained by the forces that generate sickness…Health comes from living in a world where no one is walled off from the conditions that allow us to be well from the day we are born until the day we die.”

Alas the preponderance of “food deserts” in low income neighborhoods–the absence of supermarkets selling better food–causes obesity when residents are forced to buy processed food that lines the shelves of convenience stores.

In low-income neighborhoods a lot of people don’t have cars to drive to a supermarket or a farmer’s market that is miles away.

Sandro Galea refers often in his book to the legacy of slavery as seen in the the ongoing racial segregation in neighborhoods where people live.

The proliferation of unregulated gun ownership has caused ill health in these neighborhoods. Having more people own more guns in society doesn’t make Americans safer–it makes us victims of ongoing gun violence–whether by mass shooters or a hoodlum walking down the street.

The book Well by Sandro Galea should be required reading.

The author rallies for having compassion for everyone. He admonishes the Republican and Conservative ilk who use the “personality responsibility” card to attack people living in poverty and  collecting government benefits.

I have the unusual experience [for a person like me] of having received so-called “entitlements” in my early twenties. I collected a government disability check, used Medicaid to pay for clinic visits, and lived in public housing.

In retrospect I can see why I was overweight: I bought hot dogs to cook (cheap!) and Velveeta Mac-and-Cheese (not really healthier even though I added broccoli to it).

You shouldn’t be judged and attacked when you’re forced to choose to buy unhealthful food.

There’s a better way. I’ve written in my blog before that the American healthcare model is foolishly predicated on disease management instead of illness prevention.

As per Sandro Galea health has nothing to do with the ability to buy yourself a cure for cancer. It have everything to do with the environment you’re born into and live in.

Whoever has health has wealth in the true definition of wealth as being abundance.

Read the book Well like I did and you might see things differently as I do now.

My goal is to vote for Andrew Yang a candidate for president whose platform involves giving every American 18 and older a monthly Universal Basic Income of $1,000.

With the loss of jobs to computer automation–with the increasing economic inequality (which is no individual’s fault at all)–I’m in favor of creating a Universal Basic Income system in America.

The jobs lost to computers simply aren’t coming back.

In the coming blog entry I will explore the issue of food justice in more detail.

I will start to give summertime recipes again.

 

 

 

Better Exercise Routine

In here a few weeks ago I had to referred to changing the time and frequency of of my exercise sessions.

Currently I lift weights 2x per week for 30 to 35 minutes of training with warm-up and cool-down stretching. For a total of 40 to 45 minutes for each workout.

I had written that I would report back as to how it’s going.

I find that exercising consistently 2x every week for a shorter time in each session has toned my body better than it’s ever been.

It might be that I train harder and more intensely because the time I have is shorter.

I’ve been doing the new routine for over 7 weeks so far. I had a 3-week setback of not training. Yet quickly reversed course and started the sessions again.

The proof of the success is that I’m 54, living in menopause, and haven’t gained weight. In fact I lost 4 pounds after changing the time and frequency of the sessions.

To maintain your physical and mental health post-40 years old I recommend strength training. Specifically lifting weights.

I weigh the same as I did 8 years ago when I first started lifting. The difference is I dropped one pant and one skirt size. This happened because I gained muscle.

I ask you: is 45 minutes 2x per week so hard to fit into a person’s schedule?

You’ll like the results you get.

Next week I will return to talking about the benefits of having a home gym.

Eggs and Avocado Sandwich

By chance I spotted on a shelf at the library a great recipe collection: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook.

Twelve years ago, a friend and I saw Ziggy Marley in concert. Everyone was on their feet dancing and swaying to the reggae.

I’ve collected a number of cookbooks over the years. After checking this one out of the library I bought it for my apartment.

The Marley livet (diet) uses whole, organic food. It’s called ital. You can call me an Italian because I buy fresh, organic food too.

In New York City you can use SNAP benefits (food stamps) to buy produce at GrowNYC Greenmarkets around town.

The Rastafari performer echoes in his book my manifesto: that the food you eat can impact your mood. My body feels better when I eat better.

Losing just 4 pounds made a great difference.

Owing to copyright I can’t reproduce the specific recipes in the Ziggy Marley cookbook. Instead I’ll offer you a modified version that’s irie in its own right. As well, quicker and easier.

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Rise and Shine Eggs and Avocado

1/ 2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs

2 slices sourdough bread, or other favorite bread

2 butter lettuce leaves

2 slices heirloom tomato (you can use beefsteak or other)

2 avocados

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Toast bread.

To make avocado spread: Mix and mash avocados with lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Fry eggs in butter and olive oil

Apply avocado spread to bread, top with lettuce, tomatoes, and eggs.

Serves 1 person.

It occurs to me that you can insert a slice of Swiss cheese if you wanted to.