Exercise Excuse-itis: Finding A Cure

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We all know that there are many excuses why people don’t exercise or don’t exercise enough. Are they valid? I polled colleagues to come up with a top ten list of excuses. Let’s explore them David Letterman-countdown style:

#10 You’re Too Embarrassed to Start

Really… it’s surprising how often we’ll hear “I’ll go to the gym after I lose some weight.” People can be very worried about what other club members are thinking about them. In fact, whatever shape you are in, by going to the club, you draw admiration because you chose to come in and change it. See Priscilla’s story on Fit at Five.

#9 You Have No Motivation

Change in behavior takes two beliefs: you must believe you can change and you must believe it’s worth it to change. There’s your motivation question: Is it worth it? Specifically, how would you feel differently if you reached your goals? How would your life be different? Your health? Now, is going to the club, working out, watching what you eat, worth it?

#8 You Don’t Know What to Do/How to Start

As with anything new, from ballroom dance, learning to play an instrument, to using a new computer program, get professional instruction. In this case, hire a Personal Trainer or take a group exercise class.

#7 Exercise is Boring/Don’t Like to Exercise

This is usually because people hold a stereotypical view of what exercise is. Yes, it can be the gym/club activities, but it is also all forms of dance, sports, yard work, and more importantly, physical play. If you’re bored or don’t like to exercise, you just haven’t found the right activity yet…

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Carbohydrates: Not so simple…

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What is a carbohydrate? What’s the difference between one that is simple and one that is complex? Shouldn’t I be on a low carbohydrate diet? Carbs are just breads and pasta, right? Oh, there is so much to share and so little time. Think of the word carbo-hydrate. Carbo means containing the element carbon, one of the most abundant elements in the universe, the chemical basis for life. Hydrate means water, which is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, good old H2O. So, carbohydrates are those foods with a chemical makeup that includes carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (CHO).

Carbohydrates include sugars, starches and fibers and are found in most of the food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and beans and legumes. The fact that carbohydrates are in most of the food groups and are our main source of energy is why we need half of our daily calories to come from carbohydrates. Keep in mind that most foods are mixtures of macronutrients.

For example, vegetables are mainly carbohydrates with small amounts of protein and sometimes even a bit of fat (think avocados). Milk and dairy foods are great mixtures of carbohydrates (lactose), proteins (casein and whey) and fats (saturated milk fats). Fruits are pure carbohydrate (fructose and fiber). This brings us to the term simple carbohydrate which means sugar. I was watching The Dr. Oz show one day and he mentioned the term simple carbohydrate. When he said it, I wondered how many people understood what he meant by it…

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The Wildcat

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He says he has “an appetite for destruction.” UNH senior Lance Mailloux lends his protein-rich diet loads of credit for his success on the football field.

This year, Lance’s football coach has given him “weight goals” that guide him to gain a certain amount of weight to become a better defender. Being a former weight-conscious wrestler, Lance decided to gain his weight “in the healthiest way possible.” And so begins his hulk-a-licious diet description:

“I get in extra calories through drinking lots of fruit juice…

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My friend Jeannie’s kid is 2 years old, and he’s obsessed with hummus and has been since he started eating solids. He dips everything in it, from Goldfish™ to veggies to his finger. He doesn’t really like meat and isn’t really a fan of cheese, so it’s a main source of protein for him. Jeannie goes through tubs and tubs of hummus a month, and while it’s not prohibitively expensive, buying a pre-packaged processed food—granted a natural one—gets old, I’m sure. Last month my kids discovered the Goldfish™/hummus combo when visiting Jeannie’s house, and sure enough, I found myself in the refrigerated section buying up tubs of hummus as well.

Around the same time, the garden started to ripen, and distracted by the beet greens and lettuce we were happily harvesting, we neglected to notice that buried beneath a super healthy and blossoming squash plant lay two of the hugest zucchinis I’d seen in a long time. Tender young zucchinis are one thing: hard, mature, two foot-long zucchinis are something else entirely. They’re the running joke of all home gardeners, as we’ve all forgotten to harvest and been surprised by fruit so large they might attain consciousness.

Now, when I’m blessed (or cursed) with these things, generally I’ll scoop the seeds out and shred one or two up to freeze for future baking; of course, one large zucchini provides enough shreds for two years of breads and muffins. Sometimes we put diapers on them and Mr. Potato Head parts and show them to our visiting friends. Some people are known to seek out unlocked cars in parking lots and leave anonymous gifts; but generally speaking, large starchy zucchinis are not considered a delicacy to say the least…

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What the heck is a calorie?

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We hear so much about calories when it comes to our body weight and how much food we should have. The importance of calories is underscored by the amount being prominently displayed just under the serving size at the top of the Nutrition Facts label on food packages.

Simply put, a calorie is a unit of measure of energy. Purely scientifically, a calorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise one cubic centimeter (think of a little box with half-inch sides all around) of water one degree Celsius…

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Nutrition 101 for Life Series

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This series is created to help you understand the science behind food in a way that you can use. Hopefully, it will dispel some myths and take some of the guesswork out of making healthy choices, just like using Guiding Stars does! I’d like to start with describing calories. Then I’ll follow with the macronutrients that give us the calories that fuel our bodies…

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Grilled Tuna with Fire and Ice Salsa

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I left my home in northern Maine about a week after high school graduation and wound up in Portland, ME. My first job was at a country club as a waitress, and it was a seminal culinary experience for me. Having grown up in potato country, we enjoyed a healthy and varied but quite plain diet; so, when I arrived fresh-faced and innocent at the country club, with its sushi extravaganzas and raw bars and Asian nights, I was understandably blown away.

I had always had an interest in cooking and in food in general, and it felt like I had landed in Panacea. Many of the chefs were very kind and excited to teach an interested girl about food, and we had many conversations about pairing ingredients and techniques when I was picking up food or delivering orders. It was a great time. One of the chefs even ordered me my first chef knife, which I still own today.

Out of all of the exciting food discoveries I made at my first real food job, the one I remember best was my first exposure to the pairing of protein and fruit. That concept was just so foreign to me as a 17 year-old; after all, where I came from, fruit was for breakfast, and a lot of time it was called “cocktail” and was mixed with whipped topping. But the chefs at the country club were serving it with meat and fish and duck, and it was all so delicious and interesting.

The dish that stands out most in my mind from the country club was the Grilled Swordfish with Fire and Ice Salsa, and that’s where the inspiration for my new recipe comes from. I’m choosing instead to use tuna, since in about two weeks the tuna will be running here in Maine, and I enjoy this dish best with the texture of medium-rare to medium tuna rather than a fully-cooked swordfish.

The smooth texture of the tuna is so delicious when paired with a tart, sweet, and crunchy salsa made from pineapple and watermelon. The best part of this dish is that the Fire and Ice Salsa starts out cool and juicy in your mouth, owing to the fruit and lime, and then suddenly becomes warm from the jalapeno and cilantro. It’s a lot of fun.

This recipe will work well with any firm-textured and neutral-tasting steak fish such as swordfish or halibut. In terms of doneness, the old technique of cooking fish until it flakes really produces a product that’s overdone; since fish continues to cook after it’s removed from the heat, by the time the carry-over cooking is finished, your fish will be…

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Using the Internet to Find Healthy New Recipes

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One of my biggest hurdles in eating healthy is I feel that I run out of recipes I can make on a regular basis. I feel as though I eat the same few healthy things over and over and my taste buds get tired so I find myself returning to not-so-healthy options.

Lately I have been leaning on a few great websites to help me cure my taste bud exhaustion by giving me good, easy recipes, with ingredients I already have that are also good for me. Some let you choose by ingredients, some give you creative way to prepare your regular shopping items in not such a ‘regular’ way and others are just plain fun to try out.

Real Simple has a great menu suggestion tool that lets you choose by ingredient, convenience, course or keyword. All the recipes we have used have been…

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