Thursday, September 30, 2010

10 at 2

I started a 10 Minute Challenge about a month ago because I thought it was doable: exercise for 10 minutes five times per week. To help me complete the challenge, I implemented a little something I made up: 10 at 2.

What "10 at 2" means is that I do 10 minutes of exercise, any kind, at 2 PM everyday. On the first day of the challenge, the 10 minutes dragged. On the rest of the days, however, the time went by really quickly, and I even exercised for extra minutes on some days, which isn't a bad thing.

emoticonI've completed the 10 Minute Challenge, but I have decided to continue my 10 at 2. I am motivated by how good my arms look compared to a month ago, and I really want to get rid of these bat wings.

If you are trying to fit exercise into your life, I encourage you to try something similar to my 10 at 2. Perhaps a 10 at 10, when your favorite show on TV starts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Milled flax seeds, a must-try

Whole flax seeds
I purchased a 3-pound bag of organic milled flax seeds over the weekend. Each 2-tablespoon serving has the following awesome benefits:
  • 2,800 mg Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 4 g fiber
  • 3 g protein

I notice a big difference in my mood when I ingest Omega-3, a fatty acid scientifically proven to boost the happy brain chemicals.

My mom always made a flax seed drink when I was a kid. She would boil the seeds in water for a while, grind them up in the water with an immersion blender, strain seed chunks out and milk the strained product with some milk and honey or sugar. I always loved the taste, but had no idea it was healthy to drink.

Remembering I liked the taste of flax seeds, I dumped 2 tbsp. or so of the milled stuff I bought into my Crystal Light yesterday. The consistency reminded me of those commercials about chunky fiber supplement mixes, like Metamucil, even though I've never tried them. After a few minutes, the milled seeds got softer and had a chewy, slimy texture, which is normal. Now, I know when the package says to put the seeds in a beverage, they mean a smoothie or something. However, I actually liked the milled flax seeds in my watery beverage after I let them sit for a bit.

The package of milled flax seeds says you can use it as a substitute for eggs, butter and oil.
  • 1 TBSP of oil, butter or shortening=3 TBSP milled flax seeds
  • 1 large egg=1 TBSP milled flax seeds + 3 TBSP water
I definitely recommend you try milled flax seeds if you have not.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Black Rice: The New Superfood

I've read so much great information about black rice recently that I decided to try it. After soaking the black rice in water for 10 hours, I placed 1.75 cups of water for every cup of black rice in a rice cooker and let it do its thing. The result was a rice that is more tender than wild rice, sweeter than brown rice and as filling as bran. Personally, I liked the taste of black rice, and want to try it mixed with white rice.

Here is an article WebMD recently posted about black rice:

Black Rice Is Cheap Way to Get Antioxidants

Study Shows Black Rice Is Good Source of Healthy Antioxidants and Vitamin E

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News
Aug. 26, 2010 -- Inexpensive black rice contains health-promoting anthocyanin antioxidants, similar to those found in blackberries and blueberries, new research from Louisiana State University indicates.
"Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants," Zhimin Xu, PhD, of Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, says in a news release. "If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran?"

Xu and colleagues analyzed samples of black rice bran from rice grown in the Southern U.S.
He says black rice bran would be a unique and inexpensive way to increase people's intake of antioxidants, which promote health.

Black rice is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants, substances that show promise for fighting cancer, heart disease, and other health problems, Xu says.

He adds that food manufacturers could use black rice bran or bran extracts to boost the health value of breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, cookies, and other foods.

Black Rice vs. Brown Rice

The most widely produced rice worldwide is brown. Millers of rice remove the chaff, or outer husks, from each grain to make it brown.

White rice is made when rice is milled more than is done for brown rice; the bran is also removed, Xu says.

The bran of brown rice contains high levels of one of the vitamin E compounds known as "gamma-tocotrienol" as well as "gamma-oryzanol" antioxidants.
Many studies have shown that these antioxidants can reduce blood levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and may fight heart disease.

So black rice bran may be even healthier than brown rice, Xu says.

He and his colleagues also showed that pigments in black rice bran extracts can produce a variety of colors, from pink to black, and may be a healthier alternative to artificial food colorants that manufacturers now add to some foods and beverages.

He writes that several studies have linked some artificial colorants to cancer, behavioral problems in children, and other adverse health effects.

Currently, black rice is used mainly in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi, and pudding, and Xu says that he would like to see it eaten by more Americans.

Black rice bran could be used to boost the health value of foods, such as snacks, cakes, and breakfast cereals, Xu and his colleagues suggest.

This study was presented at a medical conference in Boston. The findings should be considered preliminary because they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

Here is a black rice pudding recipe from Epicurious:

yield: Makes 8 servings

active time: 10 min
total time: 2 hr (includes cooling)

Commonly served for breakfast in parts of Southeast Asia, this dish also makes a great dessert. Chinese black rice, sometimes called forbidden rice, works well, but if you live near a Southeast Asian market you can use this same method with the more traditional Thai black sticky rice.

If you can't find any kind of black rice, substitute brown rice (not quick-cooking) — it will result in a thicker, light-colored pudding but will still be delicious.

  • 1 cup black rice

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well

  • Preparation: 
    Bring rice, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, 45 minutes (rice will be cooked but still wet). Stir in sugar, a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and rice is tender but still slightly chewy, about 30 minutes. 

    Remove from heat and cool to warm or room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes.

    Just before serving, stir pudding and divide among 8 bowls. Stir remaining coconut milk and drizzle over pudding. 

    Cooks' note: Rice pudding keeps, covered and chilled, 5 days.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Natural stress relief

    When you feel stressed-out, anxious or upset, looking at pleasant images can sometimes help relieve the tension. Here are some stress-relief pictures for your enjoyment.

    Mufasa and Simba
    Monkey and pet cat
    Potentially new species of purple octopus
    Skunk kitten
    Smiling dog
    Happy dog

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Practical Fun

    I have some cousins that love to play with bubbles. They would love this bubble wand for sure. I guess the guy who is making the bubbles is called a bubble-smith.