Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Mick’s up Fries

Mmmmmmm…. French friesYum!

Is that your opinion?
Sweet Potato Fries in the making!

I can’t lie.  I’ve always loved fries.  I even remember a time when I was pregnant (before healthy living), going through the drive-thru of a fast-food restaurant, and being handed a note passed on from the car ahead of me (via the cashier at the window), reading, “Baby is hungry for fries?”  I hadn’t realized a family friend was in that car.  What a fun surprise!

Even though I've lost my craving for French fries and other greasy foods, now that my body isn't addicted, it’s still nice to have a treat reminiscent of the “old days.”  So, once in a great while, I get some sweet potatoes in the house.  I make sure I have a good amount of coconut oil, and an extra half hour or so.

Give it a try!  It’s simple.

Cut up some sweet potatoes in the style and thickness you like.  (Beware of the cooking time difference for thinner vs. thicker cuts.)

On medium heat, have enough coconut oil in a medium-sized sauce pan to fill it approximately half way.  The key is to be sure the pan is large enough in diameter to fit the size (length) of your fries, and to be sure the coconut oil covers the fries to cook them evenly. 

After a few minutes, the oil should be ready for the potato slices.  Add salt to taste.  Allow the fries to cook for several minutes, turning them once.

When the fries are done to your desired consistency, it’s a good idea to place them on a paper towel, when you take them out of the oil, and allow the oil to drain off.

I must admit:  One night, after over-cooking sweet potato fries for the family’s dinner, I went to an event, where a lady asked who had fries.  She could smell them!  The “aroma” was lingering around me.  I guess that proves the coconut oil can cook just like the nasty, unhealthy greases, without the deadly side effects.

Coconut oil does have many health benefits, but there are better ways to ingest it, and since there are healthier and more nutrient-rich food choices than potatoes (sweet potatoes are one of the better potato choices, though), I do not recommend these be a staple at your dinner table.  However, it’s fun once in a while! 

Nowadays, if there are sweet potatoes in the house, the big question I  hear is, “Are we having fries?!”

You might also like to try roasting the sweet potatoes in your oven, especially if you do not want to mess with frying.  Another of our favorite special occasion recipes with sweet potatoes is mashed and/or casserole.  Just have some fun experimenting!  If you have more ideas and/or questions, please post them here in the comment section.  I'd love to hear from you!

"Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive."


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mick’s up With Germs

Have you noticed lots of people out sick at work and school, during this past couple of months?  I have.  In fact, at our office, we've all noticed.  I overheard one of my coworkers ask, “Why is everyone sick right now?”  So, I decided this would be a good topic for a Mick’s up Life.

Let’s think about it for a minute. 

With all the many different celebrations going on over a 2 month period, candy and desserts are everywhere!  Not many of us can say we didn't sneak a candy or two from the Halloween bowl.  At Thanksgiving time, so many wonderful homemade desserts surround us (not to mention the carbs ingested before we even reach dessert), and then during Christmastime, we are bombarded from both sides, with candy in the stockings and punch and pastries on the table.

My neighbor friend and I were just talking about this.  Sugar is the main ingredient of those beloved confections, and as we know, sugar is an inflammatory, dragging down our immune systems.

Next, let’s step outside to take a look at the temperature.  With the chill in the air, some of us get scared inside to snuggle up (with a sugar-laden hot chocolate and/or latte, perhaps?), cozily soaking in the glow of the lights of the season… when we’re not scrambling for time to run the kidderz to their new school-year events, shopping for all those aforementioned celebrations, and running to parties, plays, and just plain busy-ness of the holiday season.  With all that happening, how many of us are keeping up with our exercise routines?  Plus, we are trying to cram so many activities into a day, we might not even be getting the amount of sleep (or at least not good sleep!) that we need.  Again, our immune systems are jeopardized.

Oh, can you step outside with me one more time?  When you feel that chill, what do you notice yourself doing?  Do your shoulders tense up?  Are you rubbing your arms to keep warm?  I am!  (In fact, I was doing that at my desk at work for a while, until the temperature got regulated.)  You know what else?  The season, along with my job, keep me at the computer longer.  Do I have perfect posture at the computer?  No!  Do you?  Maybe for a short period of time, but if you’re there, or in any position, for an extended length of time, you just might find your upper back and neck getting tight, stiff, and uncomfortable.

When we are tense in our upper backs and necks, do you know what might be going on inside?  There is more opportunity for our vertebrae to shift out of place.  Do you know where the nerves serving your sinuses and face and throat are directed from?  That’s right!  Those vertebrae that are being affected by the tight muscles have a very close relationship to those nerves.  Hmmmm… yes, you probably guessed it.  If there is pressure on the nerves in that region, you could be finding yourself having sinus issues, headaches, throat problems, etc.  For that reason alone, a visit to your chiropractor would be a wonderful gift to yourself, not to mention a boost to your immune system.

Yes, those things did happened to me this season, too.  I fought off a nasty cold and fever, but it was a quick, easy fight.  I got myself back on track (and drank lots of extra water!), keeping the immune system enemies at bay, especially sugar.  It’s really amazing how much quicker the healing process is, when sugar is taken out of the equation.

So, let’s try to be sure this is a jolly season
  • Let's reduce stress during these months, no matter how crazy things get, and that includes minimizing physical stress (you know, the posture thing we were just looking at)… and remember to sleep… sleep well.
  • Say “Merry Christmas” to you our chiropractors more often at this time of year.  (In other words, schedule more visits.  This can help with the sleeping, too!) 
  • Make better choices of what snacks we enjoy, foods we prepare, and drinks we consume, in order to eliminate (or at least minimize) sugar (look for alternatives, and be sure to read all ingredients!).
  • Enjoy our coffees (again, look for alternatives for flavorings)  healthier hot chocolate (make your own mix), but in moderation, because as we know, nasty things thrive in an acidic environment, which these yummy concoctions do, unfortunately, promote. 
  • Finally, let’s remember to take time to do some quick interval exercising (only 15 or fewer minutes of your day!), and be sure to fit in stretches.  (The stretches can help with that upper back/neck tension thing we previously touched on.)

As it is said, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

"When it snows, 
she has no fear for her household."