Your Health, Your Choice | July

Sneaking more vegetables into meals

We all know we need to be eating more veggies. If you’re the primary cook in your family, you may want to get a bit sneakier. Below are cool ways to add vegetables into meals without anyone knowing. You get to be creative and it doesn’t take much work.

Get shredded! Grab a box grater or food processor to shred zucchini, beets, carrots or parsnips to add to recipes. Add a vegetable serving to your favorite whole grain muffins or breads by mixing shredded zucchini into your batter before baking. You can also sauté shredded carrots or squash for five minutes before adding them to pasta sauce.

Get mushy! Replace half the ground meat in recipes with cooked chopped mushrooms. Finely chop and saute mushrooms in a little olive oil until soft—about three minutes or so. Once the mushrooms are cool, gently mix them with your lean ground chicken, turkey or beef. Cook thoroughly and follow the recipe as is.

Get cheesy! Cooked and pureed orange vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots can be blended, unnoticed, into cheesy dishes we all love like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, or baked enchiladas. You end up using less cheese, which cuts some of the saturated fat and sodium.

Be smooth! Put that blender to work! When you’re making your favorite fruit smoothie, add in a frozen banana and some spinach, carrots, squash or just about any vegetable (cooked is easier to blend). The frozen banana adds a strong banana flavor that helps hide the flavor of the veggies. Want a more colorful smoothie? Try adding beet, avocado or sweet potato to change the tint. You’ll be surprised at how brightand healthyyour breakfast will be!

Summertime Spaghetti

8 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
1 large zucchini, julienned
3 large carrots, julienned
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, cook spaghetti for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the zucchini, carrots, and garlic until tender. Stir in the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and dill. Cook and stir until thickened. Mix with the cooked spaghetti to serve.

Eating disorders are serious illnesses

Eating disorders cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body weight, and  shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. People with anorexia nervosa typically weigh themselves repeatedly, severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders.

Symptoms include:

  • Extremely restricted eating
  • Extreme thinness (emaciation)
  • A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image, a selfesteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight

People with bulimia nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa usually maintain what is considered a healthy or relatively normal weight.

Symptoms include:

  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
  • Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid
  • Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • Severe dehydration from purging of fluids
  • Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals) which can lead to stroke or heart attack

People with binge-eating disorder lose control over their eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.

Symptoms include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time
  • Eating even when you’re full or not hungry
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Eating until you’re uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

Adequate nutrition, reducing excessive exercise, and stopping purging behaviors are the foundations of treatment. Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs and may include individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy, medical care and monitoring, nutritional counseling or medications.

Smoking + Spot doesn’t equal good sleep

Leave pets on the floor. Sleeping with pets can interfere with sleep. Snuggle before bedtime and then let them get comfortable elsewhere.

Restrict nicotine. Having a smoke before bed, although it feels relaxing, actually puts a stimulant into your bloodstream. The effects of nicotine are similar to those of caffeine. Nicotine can keep you up and awaken you at night. It should be avoided, particularly near bedtime and if you wake up in the middle of the night.

Slowing bone loss with exercise

As with memory loss, people start losing muscle mass and bone strength with age. Bone loss occurs at an average rate of one percent a year after age 40. This has caused over 53 million Americans to either have osteoporosis or be at risk for it.

Numerous studies have shown that weight-bearing exercise can help to slow bone loss, and several studies show it can even build bone. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occurs during strength and power training provide the stress. The result is stronger, denser bones.

Strength training and aerobic exercise can help you manage and sometimes prevent such conditions as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. It can also protect vitality, make everyday tasks more manageable, and help you maintain a healthy weight. A well-rounded strength training program that works out all the major muscle groups can benefit practically all of your bones. Of particular interest: it targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which, along with the ribs, are the sites most likely to fracture. Also, by enhancing strength and stability, resistance workouts reduce the likelihood of falls, which can lead to fractures and other unwanted health issues.