Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.
The Jewish religion recognized seven heavens of which the highest, the seventh, was the abode of God.
A place of divine light and ecstasy. (Just in case you wondered…)
I have a thing for seven. Seven children (I’d planned eight, but as Jim, the baby, said, “Ya finally got it right, Mom!), having run seven miles in a marathon means under twenty left, seventeen miles run means ‘midget digits’ (single digits; only nine miles left), and you have a mere seven miles to go when you hit mile marker nineteen. We play weird games when we run distance.
Seven has always been lucky for me, it’s an odd number and that connotes energy, and I’ll take energy any way I can get it. Plus if I say a word seven times I own it. Just works for me. Now I find that there is a group of foods known and the ‘Super Seven Foods’. Gotta share.
1. Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s a rich source of Vitamin C, beta carotene, and minerals (including iron). It also contains a bunch of other good stuff (hard to spell) that support healthy functioning of your liver and may reduce your risk of certain cancers. (When I order my steak, I always substitute broccoli for the potato, you get used to it.)
2. Yogurt may very well be the best source of calcium. It is also a good source of protein, riboflavin and Vitamin B 12. An 8 oz. carton of nonfat fruit-flavored yogurt provides 350 mg calcium in just 160 calories. Add fresh fruit----kiwi, strawberries and a few slices of banana, and you have a slam-dunk snack full of antioxidants, calcium and vitamins. Sprinkle on a little homemade granola and you have fiber and flavor too! (I’ll include my favorite granola recipe; make it once you’ll never go back to packaged. Yes, I can cook in a pinch.)
3. Soy has been consumed for centuries, primarily in Asia where people seem to live long and vital lives. Studies validate a variety of potential benefits, including a reduction in the risk of heart disease, assistance in lowering cholesterol, protection of bone mass, help with menopausal symptoms and a significant reduced risk of certain cancers—including breast, prostate and colon. A shake made of soy protein-based powder mixed in soy milk with some frozen berries or a half a banana blended in; you’ll be full of energy and satisfied until lunch on a healthy breakfast of less than 250 calories! Tofu, roasted soybeans (soy nuts) and veggie burgers are other ways to get your daily serving or two of health enhancing soy.
4. Spinach is packed with two different carotenoids--zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which help to protect your eyes from macular degeneration; the leading cause of central blindness in the United States, affecting up to 8 million Americans. Green peas and avocado are also good sources of lutein. Spinach also contains protein, folic acid and is a reasonable source of iron---although you have to eat quite a bit. The Popeye myth was perpetrated by a misplaced decimal in an old Home Economics text…it has iron, but not in the amounts touted for years. (Is nothing sacred? Probably won’t get curly hair from eating burnt toast either.)
5. Green Tea, another lesson we’ve learned from our neighbors to the East. Increasing evidence points to regular consumption of green tea reducing the risk of many cancers, including stomach, esophagus, breast and prostate cancer. Green tea contains compounds called catechins, potent antioxidants that also contribute to decreasing inflammation and may, through this effect, reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Additionally, green tea, in combination with other sources of caffeine, increases thermo-genesis and thus, contributes to weight loss.
6. Fish, especially wild salmon, provide essential omega-3 fatty aids that have an amazing array of health benefits. We know conclusively that the consumption of fatty fish (or fish oil capsules) reduces your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack by up to 50%. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation in your body, and are essential for brain development in young children as well as in the developing fetus. They also contribute to healthy mood! Studies have shown that people with bipolar disorder may have better control with less medication when supplementing with fish oil. Our bodies can’t manufacture omega-3s, so if you drag your feet at fish, it’s a good idea to take 1000-5000 mg of high quality fish oil; look for a supplement that contains essential oils to help minimize the fish taste. (Mom gave us a spoon full of code-liver oil every night with orange juice… I still don’t drink orange juice).
7. Blueberries contain plenty of fiber, Vitamin C and something called anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that can protect your heart by inhibiting clot formation. Anthocyanins contribute to protecting your memory as well. (Hope I’m not too late…) And blueberries are low in calories---eat a bowl of berries with just a dollop of fruit yogurt… you won’t even be tempted by the Swann Man’s ice cream.
So there you have it. Seven is lucky, seven is heaven, seven is power, and seven is energy. We have seven days in a week, seven continents, are asked to forgive seven times seven, and seven-come-eleven is worth ‘shooting’ for. Seven-layer salad is good, there are Seven Wonders of the World, we ponder the Seven Hills of Rome, and, biblically; feast and famine are at seven year intervals. Here in Spearfish we have Seven Down Arena, 7 Grill, and Cutty Seven. See? Seven is, like, so in! See how many you can think of; I have to go to bed now, it’s seven o’clock.
Make this recipe just once, taste it just once, and store-bought granola will be wiped off your shopping list forever!
(Makes 9 cups; serving size: ½ cup)
½ cup Honey
6 cups Old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1 tbs. Cinnamon
¼ cup Ground flax seed
¾ cup slivered almonds (or any other nut, such as pecans, cashews, almonds, or walnuts)
¼ cup soy nuts
1 cup dried blueberries and currants (or any other combination of dried fruit, except dates.)
1. Spray large baking pan (9 x 10 x 2 ½) with cooking spray. Add honey.
2. Place pan in cold oven. Turn on oven to 350.
3. In large bowl, combine next 5 ingredients (oats through soy nuts). Mix well.
4. When honey has melted, remove pan from oven. Add oat mixture to baking pan. Spread and turn to coat well with honey.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until oats are well toasted, turning every 5 to 6 minutes.
6. Remove from oven. Cool thoroughly.
7. Add dried fruit.
8. Sore in airtight container.
Each Serving Contains:
200 calories, 31 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams protein, 5 grams far, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams fiber
G.I. = LOW
I really cheat on this; I use a full cup of honey, sometimes I add a half cup of maple syrup too, and I use ¾ cup of almonds, walnuts, and pecans! I also make it in a big glass bowl in the micro-wave; cook for 15 minutes and stir every three. Then I dump it out on waxed paper to cool. Way good! Whatever, Jerry and I never buy granola any more. It’s great with yogurt, fresh fruit, and some shredded coconut. Probably explodes the carb and calorie count though…
Fitness by the Numbers
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Alphabet of Fitness
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z