5 More Health Tips

This week I think I’ll get back to my “5 Health Tips” series I started many months ago.

These are simple steps that won’t take too much time, or cost much money, but can significantly improve your health.

  • Download f.lux on all your computers. This is a program that adjusts the light on your computer according to time of day. As the sun sets, the screen will emit less white and blue light, transitioning to yellows and oranges. This will allow your body to maintain its natural production of serotonin and melatonin, contributing to healthy sleep
  • If you are seated most of the day, try to take 30 second breaks every 15 minutes to walk, stretch, or simply adjust your sitting style. Sometimes I sit on a desk chair, other times on a stability ball…sometimes I kneel, other times I stand. Prolonged sitting can cause postural issues, tight or weak muscles, and even metabolic problems.
  • Practice deep breathing while driving. This means inhaling slowly and fully, expanding all the way to the bottom of your stomach, before letting the air out in a controlled manner. I have started doing this and have experienced a few benefits: it’s very relaxing; it’s good practice for filling the diaphragm; and it makes me a more patient and calm driver.
  • Make your own condiments, sauces, and toppings at home. Most store bought condiments will contain low-quality ingredients (corn syrup, gluten, soy, etc). These foods can prevent you from losing weight, damage your health, and even affect your emotions and energy levels. Believe it or not, ketchup, salad dressing, pesto, and most sauces take less than 5 minutes to make!
  • Limit your “carb” intake to one meal a day. Unless you are a high-level athlete, exercising vigorously everyday, you aren’t burning enough carbs to justify frequent re-feedings. Excess carbs turn to sugar in the blood, causing fat-gain, inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dozens of other health issues. The best time to consume carbs, such as potatoes or fruits, would be within 30 minutes of your workout. The second best time would be with dinner, during your last meal before bed.

The first 3 recommendations are lifestyle tips that you should be able fit into you’re your daily activities. The last 2 are nutritional suggestions that can greatly affect your health and performance.

All this tips have the potential to save you a considerable amount of money when you consider the medical costs resulting from poor health.

So give them a try and let me know how they work for you!

Steamed Mussels

steamed mussels

Let’s try a new topic for today’s post – a quick and simple recipe for one of the most nutritious and tasty meals you can eat – steamed mussels!

Two of the biggest barriers to healthy eating are cost and time. With this meal, neither of those should be an issue.

Mussels are one of the few creatures that can be “farm-raised” without any major detriment to their life and resulting nutritional quality. Farm-raised fish are fed diets of soy and corn or forced to grow in overpopulated areas. However, mussels attach to a surface and filter their food from the water so there is little need for producers to manipulate their development.  For this reason, you will be able to find affordable frozen bags of mussels in the pre-packaged seafood section of your market. One market near me always has 3 lbs for $5.99.

*              *              *              *              *

Now, to the kitchen:

Pour mussels directly into large empty pot

Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes

Once mussels have opened, uncover and remove from heat

While they cool, melt a few tablespoons of grass-fed butter in frying pan

Add crushed garlic, chopped shallots, Italian seasonings, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper

Separate soft edible parts of mussels from shell and toss in butter and seasonings for a minute

Turn off heat and place spinach or other green leafy vegetables on top of mussels and cover

Let sit for 5 minutes as greens cook down

Optional: Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar before serving

*              *              *              *              *

Counting prep time, this should take less than 30 minutes. I made these over the weekend and portioned them out as my lunches for Tuesday and Thursday. They have been amazing!

Now, to the lab:

Haha, I crack myself up. But in all seriousness, I did want to share the unbelievable nutrient quality of mussels. Just 3 ounces of mussels, maybe half a serving, contains the following:

700mg Omega 3 and 20g protein

15 – 30 % of Vitamin C; Thiamin; Riboflavin; Folate; Niacin; Zinc; Iron; and Phosphorus needs for the day

100% Selenium; 300% Manganese; and 340% Vitamin B12

Selenium, Manganese, and Vitamin B deficiencies are extremely common in the United States. Also, considering their high-quality protein and omega-3 content, they are the perfect food to round out a pesco-vegetarian diet.

For these nutritional reasons, as well as the rich buttery taste, I prepare a couple dishes of mussels every month or two.

I hope this post, albeit shorter, proves to be even more practical. Like everything else: experiment! If it tastes good to you, that’s all that matters!

Enjoy!