Blog Posts by SparkPeople.com

  • Does Red Meat Really Cause Cancer?

    Does Red Meat Really Cause Cancer?Becky Hand R.D., M.Ed., for SparkPeople

    For the record, let me just state that I am currently sitting in my kitchen, writing this blog, and watching the Simmental cows and calves graze on lush, green pasture land outside my deck window. Yes, many of those calves will end up as retail cuts of beef. Yes, I eat beef. Yes, I am a farm girl, and have been since my birth over 50 years ago. So I was somewhat concerned that red meat (beef, pork and lamb) has been recently cited as a major risk factor in increased death due to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. But before you throw up your hands in frustration and start shaking your finger at the food police, read on.

    What the Study Reported: The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reported that red meat, and particularly processed meat, increases the risk of cancer and heart disease. This prospective observational study (1980-2008) assessed the eating habits of 37,698 men and 83,644 females every four years,

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  • 5 Smart Beverage Swaps

    Change what you're sipping to change your weight!by Melinda Hershey, Health Educator at SparkPeople

    Could you be sipping a meals' worth of calories between meals? Though some beverages may seem innocent enough, liquid calories tend add up fast--and can easily skyrocket your daily intake without you even realizing it. These simple switches will help you trim the fat while enjoying your favorite types of drinks.

    Drink Plain Coffee Instead of a Latte
    Could your morning latte be to blame for your stalled weight-loss efforts? Since many flavored coffee drinks contain 400 calories or more, it could be the culprit.

    Next time, survey your coffee options before you sip, or simply skip all the fancy creams and flavored syrups and go with a plain cup of joe. If desired, you can add your own sweeteners, cream or flavoring--but you'll be able to control the portions and the calories by doing it yourself.

    Drink a Low-Cal Energizing Drink Mix Instead of an Energy Drink

    These days, the grocery store coolers are lined with dozens of varieties of

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  • 8 Awesome Omelets

    Think beyond ham and cheese the next time you make an omelet. by Melinda Hershey, SparkPeople Staff Writer

    Eggs are a great source of protein and make a quick, filling meal any time of day. If you need some fresh ideas for breakfast, lunch or dinner, spice up your eggs with these hearty omelet recipes!
    Easy Asparagus Omelet Enjoy fresh stalks of asparagus wrapped in a fluffy eggs with this easy 194-calorie omelet recipe!

    Greek Omelet This Greek omelet recipe gets its robust flavor from tangy feta, salty olives, and artichoke hearts. Enjoy a full serving for just 264 calories!

    Pepperoni Pizza Omelet This pizza omelet is like eating pizza without the dough! To shave off a few extra calories, use egg whites, turkey pepperoni, low-fat cheese, and skim milk.
    Ham and Swiss Egg-White Omelet You can't go wrong with a classic ham and cheese omelet! This recipe is light and healthy at just 130 calories.

    Click here for four more awesome omelets

    You might also like:

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  • Little Tricks that Make Working Out a Lot Easier

    9 Little Tricks that Make Working Out A Lot Easier
    By Nicole Nichols, Managing Editor and Fitness Expert at
    SparkPeople

    I am not a morning person, but a few times a week, I make myself a morning exerciser. It's the only way I'm guaranteed to fit in my runs. A couple weeks ago, I was too darn tired to wake up early to run, so I decided I'd do it during the workday instead. I packed up my gym bag with my running clothes, then scrambled around the hall closet looking for travel size toiletries and a towel; packed a change of clothes (going over my mental checklist of underwear, socks, deodorant, and a hairbrush), and headed to the office with a mental plan to run and shower during lunchtime.

    I realized that by the time I packed up all my stuff, I could have been well into my run-or even finished a short workout (since 10 or 15 minutes of exercise is always better than none). And even with the best intentions-and a supportive work environment that encourages exercise-I never found the time to sneak away to run (let alone

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  • 10 Tips to Stay on Track when Life Gets Tough

    10 Tips to Stay on Track When Life Gets ToughBy Nancy Howard, for SparkPeople

    We recently moved my 90 year old father-in-law from independent living, to a hospital to rehab and finally to his new home an assisted living facility not too far from where I live. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions and decisions and it can be tough to not feel as though the whole world is caving in around you. But as with every obstacle in life, when we face them head on, we usually come out stronger than we did before we were hit with them.

    It's tough when you are being pulled in a million different directions and what seems like little time to get everything done. When one is working against the clock, this can only exacerbate the stress levels, which is why routine is such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, decisions have to be made and they don't always align with my schedule, but I have come up with some tips to keep me on board until I weather the storm.

    1. Ask for help

    You do not have to go through life alone.

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  • Have a Heart-to-Heart About Family Health

    Have a Heart-to-Heart about Family HealthBy Christine Johnson, for SparkPeople

    It's extremely important to your health, and that of your baby, to research your family's medical history. And there's no better way to start than by asking your mother. Aside from having parenting experience, her knowledge of women's health can help you prepare for your journey into motherhood even before you conceive. Talking about health--and family illnesses--can be tough sometimes.

    Some mothers and daughters are not particularly close, and this could be a way to bond, improve your relationship or achieve a better understanding of the other person. Each mom/daughter relationship is different, so use this list as an inspiration for a conversation between you and your mother.

    Here are ways you can break the ice.

    Women's Health and Family Health History Starting from your first visit to the gynecologist, your mother was likely there to help fill out forms and ease your anxiety over that first annual exam. Many health issues are

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  • If Your Child was Overweight, Would You Want to Know?

    If Your Child Was Overweight, Would You Want to Know?By Jen Mueller for SparkPeople

    If there's one thing I've learned about parenting, it's how hard it is to feel judged by others. When you have kids, your whole life changes and most (if not all) of the decisions you make in life take another little person (or people) into consideration. I spend most of my day caring for my kids, trying to make sure their needs are met and they are growing up to be good individuals. So the last thing I want to hear is that I'm doing something wrong that's going to negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. It's hard to take criticism about your parenting skills, but that's what a lot of people feel when their child's weight comes into question.


    My son was a big baby, and I got tired of hearing how "chunky" he was. I knew he was a perfectly healthy breastfed baby, so I tried to ignore the comments, especially since his pediatrician was not the least bit concerned. Eventually he grew out of that phase and now he's a healthy, average

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  • 7 Ways to Make Applying Sunscreen Easier and More Fun for Kids

    7 Ways to Make Applying Sunscreen Easier and More Fun for KidsBy Hillary Copsey, for SparkPeople

    Living in Southern Florida, I've become something of a sunscreen aficionado.

    There are bottles in my purses, tubes in our cars, more in our medicine cabinets and in the garage cabinet where the outdoor toys are stored. I put on an SPF-laden moisturizer every morning as soon as I get out of the shower and my two sons are lotioned up before they head to daycare most days. It's just part of our routine.

    Getting the kids to hold still long enough to get fully covered in sun protection hasn't always been easy. Most toddlers seem to feel like you're putting molten lava on their skin when you smear on the sunscreen. To get my boys - ages 2 and 4 - used to it, I let them "help" by lotioning up a spot I'd already done or smearing a bit on my face while I rubbed sunscreen into theirs. I waited until they were trapped in their carseats to smear sunscreen on their faces, the body part that seemed to elicit the most rage. I pretended I was a

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  • The Secret to Fork-Tender Pulled Meats


    The Secret to Succulent Pulled MeatsBy Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

    Who can pass up a moist and tender barbecue sandwich, pulled chicken simmered in a slow cooker until it's falling apart, or, my favorite, Kentucky Burgoo, with several tender cuts in one bowl.

    These recipes, while quite different in ingredients, are all ideal for the slow cooker, and they yield the same fork-tender, falling-apart meat. What's the secret?

    What do all three of these recipes have in common? What's the common thread?

    Let's shift from the art of cooking to the science for a moment. That common thread is collagen, the connective tissue in meat.

    We all know that meat is basically bundles of muscle cells, with fibers embedded within that allow the animal to move. Connective tissue connects cells and tissues within the meat, like support hose or an athletic bandage. As you move, the fabric stretches and moves with you, supporting your movement. As the animals grow the

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  • Chef Meg's Orange-Miso Grilled Salmon

    Chef Meg's Orange-Miso Grilled SalmonBy Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

    Sweet and tangy oranges pair perfectly with rich, salty miso. A little goes a long way, and this salmon dish is decadent yet healthy! Pair it with grilled veggies and a slice of grilled whole-wheat bread rubbed with garlic.

    Minutes to Prepare: 20

    Minutes to Cook: 15

    Number of Servings: 4

    Nutritional Info

    • Servings Per Recipe: 4
    • Calories: 236.0
    • Total Fat: 9.3 g
    • Cholesterol: 80.5 mg
    • Sodium: 97.8 mg
    • Total Carbs: 7.9 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
    • Protein: 29.3 g

    Tips

    I prefer wild salmon over farmed or Atlantic varieties. Not only does it have more Omega-3 fatty acids, but it's also more flavorful.

    Keep the skin on when you grill. The skin will add moisture and serve as a safe barrier from the intense heat of the grill. It's super easy to pull off after the fish is cooked. When cooking skin-on fish, always place the flesh side down first.


    Ingredients

    1

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