Healthy Holiday Eating

Here are some tips for making favorite recipes healthier:

Cut the sweetness. When making desserts or eggnog, reduce the amount of sugar by half and enhance “sweetness” by adding a bit of citrus, more vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon. Try turbinado sugar, honey or molasses — their flavor means you can use less. If recipes call for sugary toppings like frosting, jams and syrup, use fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit instead.

Shake the salt out. You can reduce salt by half in most recipes too. Also go easy on salty condiments, such as pickles, catsup, mustard and soy sauce. Instead offer cucumber slices and fresh tomato or fruit salsas. Or try lower-sodium versions of packaged foods when available. In recipes, substitute fresh herbs and flavored vinegars for salt.

Trim the fat. In baked goods you can cut the fat by about half and replace it with unsweetened applesauce, prune puree or mashed banana. Instead of full-fat condensed milk, use condensed skim in drinks, desserts and, yes, even in fudge. For gravy, heat fat-free, low-sodium broth (or drippings with the fat removed); mix flour into cold skim milk and pour slowly into broth, stir until thickened and season to your liking.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Beauty Foods and Drinks

Edible beauty products, used alone or in conjunction with products applied externally are now available in the market and claim to enhance hair, skin and nails like cosmetics. For example, the Beauty Booster, a burgundy liquid that comes in what appears to be an oversize nail-polish bottle topped with a chemistry dropper is said to be loaded with antioxidants and minerals and tasting of the sweet fruit that inspired it. The elixir can be eaten directly or drizzled over yogurt and into club soda.

These products were found in the dusty aisles of health food stores before. Today they can be found on the shelves of retailers high and low: Sephora, Nordstrom, drugstores, the corner deli.


Mental Fuzziness Can Last Several Years After Breast Cancer Treatments

Breast cancer survivors can experience memory and concentration problems several years after treatment with radiation and/or chemotherapy, a new study says.

The researchers found that chemotherapy can cause cognitive, or thinking, problems that persist for three years after breast cancer survivors finish treatment. This pattern of changes is often called “chemo brain.” They also found that patients who were treated with radiation alone often had cognitive problems similar to those treated with both radiation and chemotherapy.

There was no indication that hormonal therapy, such as tamoxifen, caused cognitive problems.

The study was published online in the journal Cancer.


Asian Noodle with Sweet and Sour Sauce


1 small red onion
1 small yellow pepper
8 asparagus stalks, about 1/2 bunch
1 cup small oyster or shiitake mushrooms
1 cup snow peas, ends removed
2 small baby bok choy
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 3/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vegetable oil
450 g pkg fresh Oriental chow mein or precooked noodles
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)


  1. Prepare all vegetables before beginning to stir-fry. Cut red onion into thin wedges, about 1/4 inch wide. Core and seed pepper, then slice into bite-size strips. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus and slice spears diagonally into 1-inch pieces. They should measure about 1 cup. Trim tough ends from oyster mushrooms or whole stems from shiitake mushrooms, ends from snow peas and slice bok choy in half lengthwise. Stir rice vinegar with soy sauce, water, brown sugar, pepper flakes and cornstarch.
  2. Heat oil in a large wide saucepan or wok set over high heat. Add red onion and stir often for 2 minutes. Then add pepper, mushrooms and bok choy and stir often for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, place noodles in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Stir soy mixture into vegetables. Stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add asparagus and snow peas and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in green onions and bean sprouts, if using. Reduce heat to low. Add drained noodles and toss until combined.

Source: Chatelaine

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