Guest Blog: How to Plan a Proper Christmas with Healthy Meals


1Plan your Christmas party and menu three or four weeks in advance to cut stress, create delicious healthy meals, and make the holidays enjoyable and relaxing. You can spread the chores over the weeks leading to Christmas and tick off your to-do lists day by day and one by one. One thing you want to get out of the way is the menu plan for the special day. In addition to Christmas dinner, you may also need to prepare special healthy recipes for Christmas day and the following days leading up to the New Year. Determine how many people you will be serving for which meals and find out if anyone has special dietary needs and particular dislikes.

To keep a tight budget, plan to have leftovers that can be used for the next day or the following days as a basis for a new meal. You can turn most dishes into healthy food like sandwiches, salads, soups, or casseroles, for example. You can also plan dishes that you can prepare days in advance and freeze without losing quality and flavor. This way, the less you will need to do on the big day itself.

Decide on a theme for the party, whether it is a type of cuisine, whether you are leaning towards traditional or contemporary, and what kind of colors, motif, and ambiance you are aiming towards. Plan the table settings and decorations ahead and list down all that you need for the occasion including silverware, glassware, china, tablecloth, napkins, serving plates, salad bowls, candelabra, candles, flower vase, flowers, centerpieces, and so on.

Write a timeline and to-do list of all the tasks you need to do such as shopping, organizing, gift- wrapping, and cooking. Divide the tasks into those that can be done in advance and those that need to be done on the day itself. Spread the shopping over the few weeks to stay on budget and beat the rush.

Choose healthy food like salmon, glazed ham on the bone, prawns, fish, turkey, fillet of beef, lamb, berries, apricots, prunes, currants, nuts, figs, melons, pears, mangoes, avocados, asparagus, green beans, chestnuts, mushrooms, fresh herbs, tomatoes, and potatoes.

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My name is Katy Cavallero from Toronto, ON Canada and a part time photographer. Being a good photographer is definitely not easy. I also joined the staff of a business magazine which was based in London and became a corporate photographer. During free time, I create blogs and post contents related to foods. It is my pleasure to share valuable information, knowledge and tips to this blog community.

Lentil & Kale Soup Recipe


This recipe is a twist to the Lebanese lentil soup recipe that mom always used to make on a cold winter day or during the month of Ramadan.

What I love about this recipe is its rich texture and ingredients that are bound to fill you up and nourish your cells…

Lentil & Kale Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

Clean & chopped Kale leaves
1 cup Lentils (baby brown)
3-4 Garlic Cloves
1 chopped Onion
1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Pinch of Salt
6 cups Water
1-2 tbsp. Flour

Directions:

1- Clean and chop the Kale leave. Wash the cup of Lentils. Chop the garlic and onion.

2- Saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil (or any other oil of choice). Add the kale and lentils and saute some more.

3- Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour and some salt and stir all ingredients together. Flour is used to thicken the soup. You can use any other thickener of choice or just discard altogether.

4- Add 6 cups of water and let them boil. When they start to boil reduce the heat to medium-low and let them simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are done.

5- Add the lemon juice and stir.

Enjoy 🙂

Rasha Nasser Khalil 

Guest Blog: Don’t Break Your Healthy Eating on Vacation!


Guest blogger: Cole Millen

I have been contacted by Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie. Here is a post he wanted to share with us. Thank you Cole for considering my blog.

Don’t Break Your Healthy Eating on Vacation!

Just because you are taking a break and going on vacation does not mean you should take a break from eating healthy. While it can be easy to reach for fast food or high fat snacks, a little planning and savvy thinking can help you to make the right choices when you are on the go!

Nutrition

At the airport:

Airports are full of unhealthy foods but if you look around you can find places with fresh fruit, water, and salads. In fact, use your downtime to walk around your terminal and get a little exercise. Use the stairs instead of the escalators! Get your blood pumping before you are stuck in an airplane for a few hours.

Most importantly, make sure to bring along some healthy snacks of your own that will curb your appetite and keep you from grabbing one of those high in sugar and fat items. These snacks can be dried fruits, vegetables, or even nuts!

At the hotel:

One of the most important parts of your vacation is finding the right hotel. After all, you are living there for the time being. It is important to make sure that your hotel offers the appropriate amenities and services that can accommodate to your healthy lifestyle. I have had trouble with this in the past but found that doing a little research beforehand can go a long way. On my most recent trip out west I found a great site that listed reviews for hotels in Las Vegas regarding not only their amenities and services, but also on the restaurants in the surrounding areas. This made it easier than ever to plan out my trip and to eat right while in and out of the hotel. Healthy_Eating (1)

Stop by a grocery store before you get to the hotel to grab some healthy foods. Almonds, fruit, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs are great for giving you an energy boost before you venture out for the day. Pack a few portioned out snacks and bottles of water in your bag when you head out so you aren’t left hungry and reaching for fried foods or sugary snacks. Also, ask your hotel to not stock the mini bar or to not give you a room service menu. They are there to accommodate you, so let them! Even better, look for places and hotels with a healthy edge before you go. Plenty of hotels now offer gyms, yoga studios, and healthy menus for their guests! Treat your vacation as a mini-spa getaway!

At the restaurant:

Speak up when choosing a place to eat with your group. Try to find a place that has healthier options and scope out their online menu before you go. When in doubt, choose lean protein with veggies for a side. Avoid carbohydrate-rich (and calorie laden) entrees and ask for your dish without heavy sauces or oils. If you’re totally lost, look for entrees that have lots of vibrant colors. Usually foods that are bland colors (whites, tans, browns) are the ones with the most.

calories and fat. Also, be weary of tempting restaurant salads. They can sometimes pack in as many as 1500 calories!

Above all, try to drink lots of water when you travel. Flying and restaurant foods are very dehydrating and can leave you zapped of energy. Also, try popping a multi-vitamin and fitting in a little exercise when you can. It may be tempting to let go of your diet when you travel, but it will likely leave you feeling sluggish and disappointed with yourself. Eating healthy and taking care of your body should be an all time habit, not just when it’s easy.

— Cole Millen

Cole

Cole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.”

Guest Blog: Fighting Cancer with Better Nutrition


Guest Blogger: Jilian Mckee

I have been contacted by Jilian Mckee, an author in “The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.” Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment. (Read more)

Here is an article Jilian wanted to share with us here at Cognitive Dimension. Please check out her very interesting and informative blog posts (here) and share.

Fighting Cancer with Better Nutrition

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer or another disease whose effects or treatment cause considerable debilitation, you may have to reconsider certain aspects of daily life including exercise or nutrition. Both exercise and nutrition remain important parts of life while undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. For many cancer patients, exercise is something that doctors should monitor and adjust as your condition changes. Nutrition may require supervision as well, but with this, you can retain some independence while still having a significant impact on the way that you feel and recover.

How Food Can Hurt

Many of the foods that people commonly eat have been linked quite definitively to cancer risks. Anything high in saturated fats, such as meat-based dishes, desserts and processed foods, can increase cancer risks. Often, it is not the food itself, but the way in which it is prepared that causes problems. From example, most doctors would admit that sea food is generally healthy. However, when it is breaded or dipped in oil, it is now just another possible cancer risk.

If you have already been diagnosed, continuing to consume these dishes will contribute to ill health and deter the proper functioning of your body. Foods that are low in fiber or high in refined sugars are also bad for you. Low fiber makes it difficult to clear your digestive system while high sugar content can lead to diabetes. That is the sort of complication that you do not need during cancer treatment.

How Food Can Help

The right items in your diet can do more than just provide you with delicious meals during treatment. Food can have a very beneficial effect on your general health. The right meals can assist you during therapy by increasing your body’s ability to withstand the more difficult treatments and help you to rebuild tissues that were damaged by radiation or chemotherapy. Below are some of the most key nutrients.

  • Carbohydrates

These nutrients provide your body with energy. Proteins and fats are also fuel sources, but your body prefers to convert carbohydrates into energy. Sugar is a carbohydrate; however, try to incorporate a high quantity of complex carbohydrates, from wheat bread and whole grain pastas, into your diet instead. These sources of energy will break down slowly in your system and lessen the damaging effects of large amounts of sugar.

  • Proteins

Protein is critical for rebuilding tissues. Your muscles and your organs are all made from a variety of proteins. Your body can synthesize most of these proteins, but there are nine amino acids in which it can only acquire through diet. Many people assume that meat is the primary source for protein. Meat often has a high fat content and can be very unhealthy. Protein should be obtained through plants such as beans, fruits, and vegetables or from nuts.

  • Fats

Some fat in your diet is required, but much less than the average person in a developed country now eats. Keep the calories from fat in your diet beneath 15% if possible. Unsaturated fats are best, which are not closely linked to many health problems.

Fiber is not a nutrient like the others so it does not function as an energy source. However, fiber plays an important role in creating bulk while digesting. This allows your body to dispose of wastes without hurting itself. Insufficient fiber can lead to digestive issues and cause damage to your intestines. Diverticulitis, the formation and infection of pockets in your intestinal tract, is a result of a lack of fiber.

Advice from a registered dietician about your diet will prove beneficial after a diagnosis of cancer. They can help in planning meals in order to feel better while undergoing treatment. Much of the decision-making will be up to you, though, as you plan your daily menus.

Written by Guest Blogger: Jilian Mckee

Check out Jilian’s blog: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/

 

Words Revisited


We often hear some words and before we know it, we start using them and they become an integral part of our vocabulary, simply because we never stopped for a moment to actually think about what we’re saying. Most probably this will offend some people but those that can read with their cognitive dimensions will somehow relate to what I have to say.

We have been so keen on being so politically correct in every word we use, but did we ever stop to consider who’s dictating what’s politically correct and what’s not? Aren’t they the same people that introduced the political incorrectness, the ones correcting what once was incorrect?

For instance, let me start with the word “African American” what are we trying to say here? You’re not 100% American? Or you’re American by citizenship only? What makes a white person “American” without being labeled as “European American” or “something American”. After all, less than 300 hundred years ago, there were no Americans. People were flocking from all over the world, and almost all of the current residents of the United States of America know exactly what country they originated from, yet they’re white and Americans, but for the sake of being politically correct, we use the word “African American” even for those that have never stepped a foot in Africa and most probably will never. So when we say African American, how many of us are aware that Africa is a continent and it has several Arabic speaking countries. So are we labeling them as Arabs, or it is Africa the non-Arab speaking part? This isn’t my fight… I am simply saying: stop trying to be politically correct especially when you’re doing no one a favor.

As for the second word, which I really have a hard time understanding, is “Anti-Semite.” Anti is the opposite of pro, and Semite surely we all know what its meaning, or do we? Unfortunately, I would have to say that the majority of people have no clue what Semite means, and it is being used randomly to the extent that in many cases it stopped making any sense. I won’t try to be politically correct on this subject as much as I will try to be “historically correct”. History plays an important role in shaping our behavior, with that being said, history can be distorted to achieve certain gains, nonetheless those that are seeking the truth can and will find it. The way I see it, you have two choices, the first is “monkey see, monkey do” which is not the most reliable source and the second one is “Monkey hears, monkey intrigued, monkey investigates, and monkey reaches answers” . I think I like the latter one best.

So what does history tell us? In a nutshell, Noah who is known for his ark and the flood, jump started human life, otherwise we wouldn’t exist today. Noah had three sons, Japheth, Shem (A.K.A Sem or Sam), and Ham. The figure of interest is Sem because that’s where it all started. The Semites are practically the descendants of Sem. So who are those people? Are those people of only one specific faith? Or are they genealogically the descendants of that person of whom they happen to carry his name? Logically speaking, it should be the genealogy which means that his descendants could be of any faith or even faithless if that’s what they have chosen. One primary interesting fact is that Arabic and Hebrew are both considered to be two of the Semitic languages, and people from the Middle East are mainly of Semitic origin. So the next time the word anti-Semitic is being used against a middle eastern stop and think what is really being said here “you are anti-you.”

Why is “Fat” so offensive and “Skinny” not? Just like an overweight person finds it difficult to lose weight, a skinny person finds it difficult to put on weight. In some countries being overweight is a sign of wealth, where food is abundant, whereas being skinny is no more than being poor. How could you explain to a person that you envy him or her for having such a skinny figure in those places? Again, stop for a moment and think about what you’re saying. Now if you are living in your own cocoon and your politically correct and incorrect terms apply only to your surrounding then you are in for a big surprise. Borders tend to be static, but the world is dynamic far more than you can imagine.

— Raghid Khalil