Aging Gracefully…and Other BS
Whoever coined the phrase, “Aging Gracefully” certainly wasn’t a 50-something-year-old-perimenopausal woman. There is nothing graceful about night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, cravings and mood swings. We could write an entire series on this stage of life in The Rebellious RD. We, as I am honored to have my lifelong friend, Lori Klein, LCSW-C, co-author this important series with me. Our shared interests in clean eating, healthy living and enjoying all things in moderation have put us on this journey together. The journey is different for everyone, but the commonality of “the change” is a shared experience and we need to talk about it.
While we are lucky to be alive…and aging, it sometimes feels like we need to be in a constant state of vigilance. We need to be aware of our changing bodies and then shift our mindset in relation to our physical, emotional and mental wellness. Since we live in an anti-aging and nutritionally sensationalized world, this internal strife can lead to disordered eating and other health consequences. It is crucial to move away from a diet mentality to a more individualized approach and to focus on meeting the nutritional needs of the body and mind.
The distress associated when weight and body changes occur at the same time that a woman’s identity and life go through major changes is akin to a natural disaster. Along with the discomfort of sweating when sitting still and out-of-the-blue-irritability, this stage of life can also cause a change in body fat distribution leading to more fat in the abdomen or weight gain (an average of a 5 pounds), a decrease in estrogen and sarcopenia (loss of lean muscle mass). Having fun yet🙃?
In addition to working, managing a covid-free house, dealing with the pandemic, worrying about loved ones (especially older people in our lives), now is the time to focus on YOUR overall health and wellness. While 2020 has left us feeling like we don’t have a lot of control over what happens around us, we do have some control over how we lead our lives in our own homes — what shows to binge, what to cook or pick-up from our favorite local restaurants, and who we spend time with (outside and socially distanced, of course). This is a great time to focus on YOU. If you can create healthy and mindful habits now, you will really benefit when life starts to feel more open, normal and free.
There are plenty of dietary needs that become much more important as we age. Good nutrition and regular exercise are important for heart health and mind, but they are also essential for keeping your bones healthy. Most women think about how much calcium we need when we are pregnant or nursing, but it sometimes gets forgotten afterward.
Genetics play a big role here, but if you do not consume or absorb enough calcium and vitamin D throughout your life, you put yourself at risk for developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis or “porous bone” is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Your bones become less dense and weak, as the healthy spaces in your bones grow much larger. As a result, bones may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from just sneezing or minor bumps. If you have experienced a stress fracture(s) and/or broken bone(s), a bone density test should be at the top of your list. Reach out to your physician to schedule, asap.
So how much Calcium should you aim for each day?
50 years old and younger = 1000 mg/day
51 years old and older = 1200 mg/day
70 years old and younger = 1000 mg/day
71 years old and older = 1200 mg/day
Vitamin D is calcium’s BFF, as it is key to calcium absorption.
Both WOMEN & MEN:
50 years old and younger = 400–800 IU daily
51 years old and older = 800–1000 IU daily
Keep in mind, the safe upper limit of vitamin D is 4,000 IU per day for most adults, so do not overdo it. More is not always better!
So how are you going to get all of this calcium and vitamin D goodness? Through delicious and nutritious foods, of course. There are plenty of supplements out there, but the absorption through food and nature are best.
*Fortified soy milk and other plant milks
*Low-fat dairy products (milks, yogurts)
*Some dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. broccoli, kale, okra, collard greens, bok choy)
*Tofu (made with calcium sulfate)
*Fortified orange juice
*Sardines or canned salmon with bones
Vitamin D sources:
*Vitamin D-fortified cow’s milk
*Fortified soy milk or other plant milks
*Skin exposure to sunlight (Allow 10 to 15 minutes or so of unprotected sun exposure to your arms, legs, abdomen and back. Between 10 am — 3 pm is best, but be sure to follow up with sun protection.)
We kept the recipes to two, pushing the importance of the sources listed above, and how to simply include them in every dishes.
LORI’S BONE BOOSTING SMOOTHIE
Getting 1200 mg a day of calcium is a challenge as I don’t eat dairy (from cow) and I refuse to try sardines or canned salmon with bones😝. I use oat milk — I found that Planet Oat’s oat milk has the most calcium per cup at 350 mg! It may have other additives that aren’t great, but here the good (of the calcium) outweighs the other potentially less helpful ingredients for me. I always use unsweetened as I get plenty of sweetness from the other ingredients. As an added bonus, this sweetener (molasses) also contains magnesium, potassium and iron! Sometimes, I add cacao nibs and/or chia seeds for texture or taste.
1 cup frozen fruit (mango, strawberries, banana) ~35 mg calcium
1 cup frozen spinach or 2 cups fresh spinach ~80 mg calcium
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses ~14 mg calcium
2 cups Planet Oat oat milk ~700 mg calcium
1 Tablespoon nut butter (Almond: ~45 mg calcium)
1/2 small avocado, optional
Throw it all in blender and give it a whirl. Approximately 874 mg of calcium. TIP: If you eat dairy, adding Greek yogurt to this smoothie will make it even more impactful for your beautiful bones!
AMY’S KALE AND CHICKS
Kale is that overachieving friend who is just good at e v e r y t h i n g. You know the type :). We discussed (Going Green, 9/6/20) how kale supports your body’s natural ability to produce digestive enzymes, as well as load you up with folate, calcium, antioxidants, vitamin K and polyphenols. It is clearly one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet🏅. Cook it up with some chickpeas for a plant-based protein, along with additional vitamins, minerals and fiber.
1 pound kale, washed, stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces ~608 mg calcium
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander
1 15-ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained ~ 157 mg calcium
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
Place cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion. Sauté until browned, about 5–7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, coriander and kale.
As kale begins to wilt, about 4–5 minutes, stir in chickpeas. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Place in serving dish. Makes 4 side-dish servings or 2 lunch/dinner servings. Approximately 765 mg of calcium.
🥬Quick Tips for Cooking Greens
The cost of your good habits is in the present. The cost of your bad habits is in the future.
~ James Clear
FRYIN’ UP HEALTH AND HOPE
It is likely not a huge stretch to say we are all a tad politically fried right now, and it might not be over yet. So let’s focus on some fryin’ fun!
Frying has historically been considered the least healthy method to cook foods. Boiling chicken, fish, potatoes in gobs of hot oil, surely provided a crispy coat. This coat not only coated your food, but your heart and stomach with the excess fat drippings as well. So, we moved on to pan frying and oven frying. Both of these methods involve using a nonstick cooking spray, or spraying olive oil from a plant spray bottle or mister bottle to coat your food and cook until crispy in the pan or oven. They both remain excellent, lean methods for cooking, giving food a crispiness without adding excess fat, yet not quite as crispy as deep frying.
Thankfully 💛, along came the air fryer…and suddenly frying is a healthy cooking method, bringing a fun, crispy, speedy, tasty crunch to your foods. Air fryers help create the crispy, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, without the oozing fat drippings that come from deep frying. Air fryers use hot air in combination with high-speed air circulation, cooking food from the bottom up. Just a touch of oil spray and a couple of turns while frying, yummy and done.
You can take almost any recipe and experiment with the air fryer. A few of the most important tips:
CRISPY BRUSSEL SPROUTS
When you order Brussel sprouts at a restaurant, they are extra crispy and delicious, likely because they have been pan fried in excess fat (from oils to bacons grease) to some extent. At home you can accomplish the same crispy, deliciousness by cooking them in the air fryer, hence using less fat. The key is to slide them out every 4–5 minutes for a good stir, to be sure they all reach desired crispiness.
1 pound fresh Brussel sprouts, washed and quartered
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil from mister/plant spray bottle
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon balsamic glaze
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. While preheating, mix prepared Brussel sprouts with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. Slide out basket and spray with olive oil. Place Brussel sprouts in basket and coat with a spray of olive oil. Push into air fryer and place timer on 12 minutes. Slide tray out every 4 minutes to stir Brussel sprouts. Make sure all are browned and cooked to desired consistency (taste one!). Place onto serving dish. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with balsamic glaze. Makes 4 servings.
CHICKEN CHEESESTEAK EGG ROLLS
I am a Philly girl, which sometimes shines through (especially if you are one of those people who makes fun of my accent ;). Chicken cheesesteak is how I roll, but surely these could be made with any lean meat, or a meat substitute of sort like seitan…and dairy-free cheese if you choose.
3 cups pre-cooked shredded chicken (or protein of choice), leftovers are ideal
1 medium onion, sliced into rings (optional additions: chopped mushrooms, peppers)
1 Tablespoon margarine
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 egg roll wrappers
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. While preheating, place medium skillet over high heat. Melt margarine and add onions. Stir frequently while onions cook until they turn a caramel color (yes, caramelized :)), about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Place chicken in large mixing bowl. Add onions and cheese and mix well.
Place an egg roll wrapper on a plate in a diamond shape, with a small bowl of water next to the plate. Spoon 1/4 cup of chicken mixture in lower third of wrapper. Fold the bottom corner up over the mixture, condensing filling with a tighter fold (but do not rip the wrapper…). Dip finger in water bowl and spread the water on all remaining edges of wrapper. Fold in the left and right corners snugly, forming an envelope. Roll up tightly to seal. Place on separate platter. Repeat steps with remaining ingredients, placing all finished rolls on platter.
Spray the tops of the rolls with nonstick cooking spray. Place 4–5 in basket of pre-heated air fryer, sprayed side down. Spray the tops of the egg rolls in basket. Set air fryer for 6 minutes, turning rolls halfway, until crisp and browned. Remove, place in warmer and repeat with remaining egg rolls. Serve immediately with favorite cheesesteak condiments (i.e. ketchup).
TEMPURA BANANAS (or AVOCADO :)
The typical tempura recipe calls for 3 cups of oil in a regular fryer. Hence, stick with your air fryer and enjoy the bananas as a healthy dessert choice. A fun alternative — follow the same recipe with fresh avocado slices (a most delightful option my daughter made for me for quarantine Mother’s day💝). They make a delicious salad topping or on top of a fish, chicken or veggie dish.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
3 bananas, peeled and sliced into thirds
1/2 cup corn starch
2 eggs or egg substitute equivalents
Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil from mister/plant spray bottle
Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees. While preheating, place small skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and panko bread crumbs and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, to slightly roast the bread crumbs. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl.
Place corn starch in a separate small bowl. Place eggs or egg substitute in a separate small bowl and beat with a fork. Place a dinner plate or sheet of parchment paper on nearby work space.
Start with one piece of the sliced banana and dip into cornstarch bowl, then egg bowl, and ending with roasted panko crumbs, turning to coat all sides of banana. Place banana on plate or parchment paper. Repeat until all banana pieces are coated.
Slide basket out of preheated air fryer and coat with spray. Place prepared bananas on tray, leaving room in between each one. Depending on the side of your air fryer, you may have to do 2–3 batches. Spray tops of bananas and push tray into air fryer. Set timer for 5 minutes. Slide out and turn bananas carefully. Spray tops and finish cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from basket. Repeat steps for additional batches. Serve and enjoy.
#1132020 #isitover? #cocktailtime #reboot #refresh #antioxidantsunite Mixing blue and red and vodka and hope.
1/2 small watermelon, rind removed
1/2 cup fresh blueberries plus a few extra
1 1/2 ounces vodka
2 slices fresh lime
1 cup ice
Slice up watermelon into chunks and place in blender. Add half cup blueberries and blend into juice.
Fill shaker with one cup ice. Add one cup liquid from blender mix, 1 1/2 ounces vodka and squeeze slices of lime. Shake it up. Pour into martini glass. Garnish with watermelon, strawberry and/or fresh blueberries. Sip. Enjoy. Breath.
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The rebellious Rd
As a longtime promoter of healthy cooking and eating, Amy's focus is on plant-based eating, with a rebellious twist - that she and no one, needs to be perfect.