Cook

The Best Whole Chicken In a Crock Pot >> Doesn’t get any easier than this, so no excuses for not having at least a couple of home-cooked meals this week! AND, this chicken is da bomb! Super falling-off-the-fork-tender and packed with flavor. I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago on www.100daysofrealfood.com, and it’s becoming a weekly staple for me. The only thing I do differently is cook my chicken on “low” for 8 to 9 hours instead of on “high” for 4 to 5. It’s just makes it easier with my work schedule. Oh, and I also learned that putting the chicken into the slow cooker breast-side-down helps the chicken “marinate” itself and stay super moist! I’m really into slow cookers these days because it’s so easy to throw something in the pot before work and then— voilà! You are ready to eat when you get home. It’s almost like having a personal chef.

By the way, check out “100 days” website—I love that we have ever-increasing resources to help us “real foodinize” our lives, to quote the site.

Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad >> Excellent side dish courtesy of Whole Foods recipes to accompany the Best Chicken above. One of my favorite kale salads!

Eat

Alkaline diet claims get sour response from doctors >> Hmm…here’s a topic that I have been meaning to research, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  In my “alternative health” / nutrition circles, I’ve heard quite a bit about the benefits of eating a more “alkaline” diet and the dangers of an overly “acidic” diet.

Although arguments for alkaline sound convincing, I’m skeptical about the science behind them. And this article points out a big reason why I’m skeptical—our bodies are amazingly adept at buffering acid and keeping our blood pH within the narrow range of 7.35 to 7.45, no matter what we eat.

Because I haven’t looked into the data supporting an alkaline diet, I can’t definitively say that there’s no truth behind the theory. But in casual conversations and light reading on this topic, I get the feeling that no one can really back this theory up with good science. Instead of the “alkalinity” factor, I’m guessing that it’s the avoidance of processed foods (sugars, refined grains / flours, trans fats and other non-real food products) and increased consumption of real foods in their natural state that’s behind any proposed health benefits (ie, reduced cancer risk) of the “alkaline diet”.

Do…NOT slouch!

7 Weird Ways Your Posture Messes With You >> OK, so this may sound a little bizarre, but it certainly got my attention. Slouching may contribute to everything from depression to constipation to spider veins to death. If sitting up straighter and walking taller can make us happier and healthier then listen to Mama and stop slouching!

mEducate

Bacterial vs viral infections: how to protect yourself from antibiotic-resistant illness >>  We are knee-deep into cold-catching season—especially if you have little germ incubators (uh, I mean toddlers) in your household.  Before you dash to the doctor demanding a Z-Pak, please read this article!  This past September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared antibiotic resistance as a serious health threat. And a recent article in The Lancet (a highly-respected medical journal) discusses the problem of over-prescribing antibiotics and the dangerously climbing rate of infections due to antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

To protect yourself and to help preserve the effectiveness of available antibiotics—do NOT take antibiotics when you have a virus! Antibiotics ONLY work against bacteria, not viruses. We are only hurting ourselves and contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance when we overuse these agents. According to the article above, doctors prescribe antibiotics 73% of the time when patients present with acute bronchitis, which is most often caused by a virus, not bacteria.

The article also explains that patient demand is part of the problem of over-prescribing.  Patients go to the doctor with the idea that antibiotics will make them feel better. Also, many doctors have made a habit of prescribing antibiotics because of a lack of knowledge about antibiotic resistance. Wondering if you’ve got a common cold (virus) or strep throat (bacteria)? Take note of your symptoms—viral infections typically cause low-grade fever and sore throat.  Bacterial infections on the other hand, present with a high fever – and along with the throat being red or swollen, white patches on the tonsils and back of the throat are a clear indicator of strep throat.  If you’re suffering from a cold (aka a virus), antibiotics won’t help, and will actually set you up for further health issues by decreasing the healthy bacteria in your gut. For women, the dreaded yeast infection is a quite common side effect of taking antibiotics. The best way to conquer a cold is to rest, get plenty of fluids, and eat healthy foods high in vitamin C and zinc, as well as garlic and onions – all known to boost immunity and cold-fighting power.

Dance

Revolution (featuring Imanos, Faustix & Kai) by Diplo >> This has been heavy on my playlist for workouts lately. Has a good mix of super-intensity and some “down-time” to catch your breath. Plus it just makes me want to dance, dance!

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Cook, Eat, Do, mEducate, Dance

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