Video: Vegan Mac and Cheese

Watch video at You Tube (3:16 minutes) . . . . .


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Vegan Tacos with Lentil, Mango and Avocado

Ingredients

1 cup black (beluga) lentils
8 corn tortillas, warmed
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Guacamole

l avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
1 cup diced mango
1 plum (Roma) tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp minced chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, place lentils and 3 cups. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. To make guacamole, in bowl, place flesh of 1/2 avocado and lime juice and mash together. Finely chop remaining avocado. Add chopped avocado, mango, tomato, red onion, cilantro, chipotle chili pepper, and salt to bowl with mashed avocado and stir everything together.
  3. To serve, place spinach on tortillas and top with lentils, guacamole, and pumpkin seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Alive magazine

In Pictures: Food of Copper Branch Restaurant Chain in Canada

Plant-based Food with Organic and Non-GMO ingredients

How and When to Have Your Cholesterol Checked


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Getting your cholesterol levels checked is an important part of staying healthy. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States. Knowing your cholesterol status can help you stay in control of your health. Learn about cholesterol screening and why it is important.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to make hormones and digest fats. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but you can also get cholesterol from eating certain foods, such as egg yolks and fatty meats. Having high blood cholesterol can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, which is why getting your cholesterol levels checked is so important. Learn more about cholesterol screenings.

At What Age Should I Get Screened?

More than 1 in 5 youths ages 6 to 19 have an unhealthy cholesterol reading, and 95 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have high cholesterol. But since high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, many people don’t know their levels are high. Cholesterol should be checked starting early in life—even children and adolescents should have their cholesterol checked.

Cholesterol testing should be done

  • Once between ages 9 and 11 (before puberty)
  • Once between ages 17 and 21 (after puberty)
  • Every 4 to 6 years in adulthood
  • If your family has a history of early heart attacks or heart disease, or if a child has obesity or diabetes, doctors may recommend screening for high cholesterol more often.

What Are Risk Factors for High Blood Cholesterol?

Lifestyle, some health conditions, and family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. Your doctor may suggest you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have risk factors, such as the following:

  • A family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol. You are more at risk of having high cholesterol if other people in your family have it. This may be due to genetics, but it may also be that families share the same unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some people also have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol from a young age.
  • Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes raises “bad” cholesterol and lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, raising the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Older age. As you age, your body can’t clear cholesterol as well as it used to.
  • Being male. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels than women do. But after menopause (around age 55), LDL cholesterol levels in women increase.
  • Having overweight or obesity. Excess weight, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity can lead to high cholesterol.
  • Previously having had high cholesterol. If you have a history of high cholesterol, your doctor may want you to keep a closer watch on your cholesterol.

High blood cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, so many people don’t know their levels are high. That’s why it’s so important to have your cholesterol checked. All it takes is a simple blood test.

What Do I Need to Know Before Getting Screened?

A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. The results give you four measurements:

  • Total cholesterol. Less than 200 mg/dL is considered normal.
  • LDL cholesterol. Less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. LDL is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, because it can build up and clog your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease or stroke.
  • HDL cholesterol. It is best to have more than 40 mg/dL. HDL is sometimes called “good” cholesterol, because it can help clear arteries of cholesterol build up.
  • Triglycerides. This is a type of fat in the blood. Normal levels are typically less than 150 mg/dL.

How Can I Keep Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels?

Talk to your doctor about your numbers. Your risk of disease depends on other factors, too, in combination with high cholesterol. To keep your cholesterol managed, you should do the following:

  • Choose healthy foods. Limit foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium (salt). Choose foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and in unsaturated fats, such as avocados and nuts. Learn more about healthy eating.
  • Stay physically active. You should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, every week. Learn more about physical activity.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, learn how to quit.
  • Take medicine if necessary. A healthy diet and physical activity can help many people reach healthy cholesterol levels, but some people may need medicines to lower cholesterol. Always take your medicine as prescribed.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Tai Chi May Work Best to Prevent Falls in Old Age

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . .

The ancient practice of tai chi may beat strength training and aerobics for preventing falls among seniors, a new trial shows.

A modified senior-centered tai chi program reduced falls nearly a third better in a head-to-head comparison with an exercise regimen that combined aerobics, strength training and balance drills, the researchers reported.

“This tai chi program better addressed the deficits that were contributing to fall risk,” said senior researcher Kerri Winters-Stone, a professor with the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing.

Tai chi is a centuries-old Chinese tradition that involves a graceful series of movements. People performing tai chi flow between different postures in a slow and focused manner, keeping their body in constant motion and frequently challenging their balance.

Researchers have long suspected that tai chi can help reduce risk of falling, said co-researcher Peter Harmer, a professor of exercise and health science with Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

Annually, about 28 percent of U.S. seniors report falling, and 2 out of 5 falls result in injuries leading to an ER visit, hospitalization or death, researchers said in background notes.

“Falling in adults age 65 and older is significantly associated with loss of independence, premature mortality and big health care costs,” Harmer said.

The movements of tai chi require people to move in all directions, while traditional exercise programs focus more on forward and backward motion, Winters-Stone and Harmer said.

“The reality of how falls happen tends to be quite varied and a bit unpredictable. In tai chi, the movements are in these multiple planes,” Winters-Stone said. “You’re moving your body outside of your center of gravity and then you’re pulling it back. There’s a lot of postural responses.

“If you accidentally started to fall, if you had been trained in tai chi you would probably be better at starting to counteract that movement and regain your balance,” Winters-Stone continued.

But classical tai chi can involve upwards of 100 different movements, which can be challenging for seniors to learn, Harmer said.

So, the research team for this clinical trial developed a pared-down form of tai chi that focuses on eight fundamental movements most related to fall prevention, Harmer said. The trademarked program is called Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance.

To see how well the program works, researchers tested it against both a traditional exercise program and a control group that only performed stretching exercises.

Researchers recruited 670 Oregonians with an average age of nearly 78 and assigned them to one of the three programs. “This was a more at-risk group than we’ve worked with before,” based on both their age and screening for fall risk, Harmer said.

After six months, the tai chi group was 58 percent less likely to have a fall than the stretching group, and the traditional exercise group was 40 percent less likely to fall than people who only stretched.

Compared against each other, the tai chi program outperformed traditional exercise. People taking tai chi suffered 31 percent fewer falls than those who took strength training and aerobics courses.

“Not falling is a pretty complex physiological behavior,” Harmer said, noting that you combine muscle strength with feedback from muscles and joints, eyesight and even hearing to regain your balance. “Tai chi directly challenges the integration of all those things.”

Although tai chi did work better, people following a traditional exercise program still gain a benefit, noted Nathan LeBrasseur, a physical medicine and rehabilitation researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“I would not discourage people who are actively participating in a strength and aerobic exercise program to throw in the towel and say, ‘Now I need to do tai chi,'” said LeBrasseur, who wasn’t involved in the study. “The real challenge is getting people to adopt and stick to an exercise program.”

Harmer said tai chi not only improves balance, but also improves confidence.

“We’ve found a major risk factor for people falling is fear of falling,” Harmer said. “People might have had a fall. They’re scared then of falling again, so they start doing fewer physical things so they don’t fall. It kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

The modified tai chi program requires people to push themselves out of their comfort zone, breaking the negative cycle, Harmer said.

LeBrasseur agreed that whatever the exercise, more should be asked of seniors if they want to protect their health.

“I do think we tend to hold back across multiple exercise interventions in terms of really challenging and pushing older adults with the notion it will lead to harm and injury, when in fact it probably will drive beneficial adaptations,” LeBrasseur said.

The new study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Source: HealthDay


Watch video at You Tube (8:32 minutes):

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance . . . . .


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