Chimmichurri chicken bake

Ingredients

  • CHIMMICHURRI PASTE:
  • 2 handful parsley, no stems
  • 2 handful fresh coriander
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lime or lemon juice
  • 1 red chilli (no seeds)
  • 20 g roasted almonds
  • FOR THE CHICKEN:
  • 6 chicken pieces (thighs and legs)
  • 500 g baby potatoes
  • 2 shallots, halved
  • 30 ml canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 100 g vine tomatoes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Combine the chimmichurri ingredients together in a blender to form a paste.

Put the chicken pieces in a separate bowl and add 3/4 of the chimmichurri paste and mix until the chicken pieces are fully coated then place them in a large baking tray.

Cut the baby potatoes in half and coat in oil, salt and pepper then scatter them evenly around the chicken pieces, toss in the garlic pieces.

Place the tray with chicken and potatoes in the oven for around 30 -40 minutes.

Once the chicken has been in the oven for around 30 minutes add the vine tomatoes onto the tray and then put the tray back into the oven until the chicken and potatoes are cooked – about 10 minutes.

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Berry Popsicle

Ingredients

  • Berry coulis:
  • 250 ml mixed frozen berries
  • 80 ml xylitol granules
  • 15 ml water
  • Cheesecake layer:
  • 80 ml water
  • 80 ml xylitol granules
  • 5 ml lemon juice
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 250 ml plain double cream yoghurt
  • 180 g plain cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Nutty layer:
  • 30 ml raw cashews, chopped
  • 30 ml toasted flakes
  • 30 ml desiccated coconut
  • 15 ml xylitol granules
  • 5 ml cocoa powder

Method

For the berry coulis, place the berries, xylitol and water in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Press down on the berries with a spoon to crush them slightly and allow to cool. 

For the cheesecake layer, heat the water, xylitol, lemon juice and vanilla in a saucepan for 2 minutes until melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Combine with the yoghurt and cream cheese and whisk with an electric whisk until smooth. 

For the nutty layer, stir everything together. Add ¼ cup of the cheesecake mixture and stir until combined. 

To assemble, divide the berry coulis between 8 large popsicle moulds. Top it off with the cream cheese mixture, leaving about a 1cm gap at the top of each mould. Use a skewer to lightly swirl the berry coulis and cheesecake mixture together in each mould. Top each one off with a layer of the nutty mixture. Add wooden popsicle sticks and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Check on the wooden popsicle sticks after 1 hour of freezing time to make sure they are still centered and standing up straight. Adjust if needed. 

Tip: Frozen berries give the best colour, but fresh berries can be used.

Fishcakes with barley salad and lemon drizzle

Mackerel and sardines are very good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. They play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
Oats are a good source of soluble fibre- also known as oat beta-glucan. Research suggests that the soluble fibre in oats may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels, specifically LDL cholesterol.

 

Servings 4

Ingredients

Fishcakes:

  • 1 can (400 g) of mackerel (middle cut)
  • ¼ cup oat bran
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 1 free-range egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 10g chopped fresh herbs (chives, dill, parsley)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2Tbs avocado oil

Barley Salad

  • 1 cup cooked pearl barley, cold
  • 40g watercress
  • ½ medium cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 50g almonds, raw and chopped
  • 50g mixed bean sprouts
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 50g sliced red onion
  • 50g basil
  • 10g fennel
  • 100g feta
  • salt and pepper

Lemon Drizzle

  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • 4Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp chopped chives
  • salt and pepper

Method

Fishcakes

  • Drain the mackerel of any liquid, and put it into a large mixing bowl.
  • Using a fork, shred the fish up until it’s fine and there are no large chunks.
  • Add the oat bran, carrot, egg, lemon zest, and chopped herbs, and mix well.
  • Leave the mixture to stand for about 30 minutes in the fridge, so the oat bran soaks up excess liquid in the mixture.
  • Separate the mixture into 8 equal sized balls, and shape them into patties.
  • Season the fishcakes with salt and pepper.
  • Put a large non-stick frying pan onto a medium heat and drizzle the oil into the pan.
  • Once the pan is hot, add the fishcakes and fry on the first side for around 2 minutes, until golden brown. Turn them over and repeat on the other side.

Barley Salad

  • Wash the cucumber, tomatoes and herbs.
  • Using a peeler, shave the cucumber into ribbons.
  • Cut the avocado in half, remove the skin and pip and cut the avocado into chunks.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the barley, cucumber ribbons, almonds, bean sprouts, tomatoes, onion, tear the fennel and basil up and add to the salad.
  • Assemble the salad on a platter. Spread the barley salad mixture on the bottom of the platter.
  • Add the chunks of avocado, and crumble the feta over the top of the salad. Sprinkle the watercress on top of the salad.

Lemon Drizzle

  • Whisk together the lemon juice, zest and mustard.
  • Drizzle the olive oil into the lemon mixture whilst whisking.

Mix in the chopped chives, and season with salt & pepper.

Chermoula-crusted fish with butternut and mint

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4x 200g salmon fillets
  • olive oil

Chermoula Sauce:

  • 10g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 2Tbs olive oil
  • 1Tbs lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper

Butternut Couscous:

  • 2Tbs butter
  • 1 small butternut, cubed, parboiled
  • 5g fresh mint
  • 2 cup cooked and seasoned couscous
  • 75g pomegranate rubies
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  • Mix together all sauce ingredients.
  • Place fish on a lined baking tray, top with sauce.
  • Season, bake for 7–10 min. Set aside.
  • Heat a frying pan, add butter and toss in butternut, pan-fry gently until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Season well, allow to cool. Toss with mint, couscous and pomegranate. Drizzle over olive oil and lemon juice.

Serve: With butternut couscous.

Lemon pork fillet schnitzels

Servings 2

Ingredients

Potato salad

  • 400g potatoes
  • 3Tbs mayonnaise
  • 1Tbs crème fraîche
  • 2Tbs baby capers – drained
  • 1 lemon’s zest
  • 2tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tsp flat leaf parsley – finely chopped

For the schnitzels

  • 2 x 180g pork fillets – fat trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1large free-range egg
  • 2Tbs plain flour
  • 75g coarse dried white breadcrumbs
  • ½ lemon zest – finely grated
  • 15g Parmesan – finely grated
  • 300ml cooking oil

Method

For the potato salad:

  • Half-fill a pan with salted water and bring to the boil.
  • Add the potatoes and return to the stove. Cook for 15 – 18 minutes or until just tender. Drain in a colander and rinse under running water until cold.
  • Mix the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, capers, parsley and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  • Cut the potatoes and stir into the mayonnaise dressing with the lemon zest.
  • Season to taste.

For the pork schnitzels:

  • Sandwich the pork between 2 sheets of cling film.
  • Flatten using a rolling pin or meat mallet to create an even thickness of ½ – 1 cm.
  • Remove the cling film and cut the flattened fillet in half lengthways.
  • Season on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Repeat the process with the remaining pork.
  • Beat the egg in a bowl. Sprinkle the flour onto a plate.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, Parmesan and a good pinch of salt in a shallow bowl until well combined.
  • Dredge each piece of pork first into the flour, dip it into the beaten egg, and cover it in the breadcrumb mixture until completely coated.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add 2 of the schnitzels to the pan and fry for 2 – 3 minutes on each side until the coating is crisp and golden brown.
  • Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen towel. Repeat the process with the remaining pork schnitzels.
  • Season with a squeeze of lemon.

A Healthier Life

Mental health

Healthy living involves more than physical health, it also includes emotional or mental health. The following are some ways people can support their mental health and well-being.

Tips:

  • Get enough sleep daily; the CDC recommends the following by age group (naps inclusive); 12-18 hours from birth to 2 months, 14-15 hours from 3-11 months of age, 12-18 hours for 1-3 years of age, 11-13 hours for 3-5 years of age, 10-11 hours for 5-10 years of age, eight and a half to nine and a half hours for 10-17 years of age and those 18 and above need seven to nine hours of sleep. Elderly people need about seven to nine hours but do not sleep as deeply and may awaken at night or wake early, so naps (like kids need) allow them to accumulate the total of seven to nine hours of sleep.
  • Take a walk and reflect on what you see and hear at least several times per week.
  • Try something new and often (eat a new food, try a different route to work, go to a new museum display).
  • Do some mind exercises (read, do a puzzle occasionally during the week).
  • Try to focus on a process intensely and complete a segment of it over one to several hours, then take a break and do something relaxing (walk, exercise, short nap).
  • Plan to spend some time talking with other people about different subjects.
  • Try to make some leisure time to do some things that interest you every week (hobby, sport).
  • Learn ways to say “no” when something occurs that you do not want to do or be involved with.
  • Have fun (go on a trip with someone you love, go shopping, go fishing; do not let vacation time slip away).
  • Let yourself be pleased with your achievements, both big and small (develop contentment).
  • Have a network of friends; those with strong social support systems lead healthier lives.
  • Seek help and advice early if you feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts, or consider harming yourself or others.
  • People taking medicine for mental-health problems should not stop taking these medications, no matter how “well” they feel, until they have discussed their situation with their prescribing doctor(s).

 

Avoid tobacco use

 

Tobacco use is the most important preventable illness and cause of death in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Tobacco use was estimated to be the cause of 443,000 deaths in 2010 in the U.S.

 

Tip:

  • Stop smoking tobacco; start to stop today (it takes about 15 years of non-smoking behaviour to achieve a “normal” risk level for heart disease for those that smoke).
  • Stop using chewing tobacco to avoid oral cancers.

 

Adverse consequences of tobacco use:

  • Tobacco use causes or contributes to a large number of cancers in the U.S. In men, 90% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to smoking; 80% in women. Tobacco use causes cancers of the lung, mouth, lip, tongue, esophagus,kidney, and bladder. It also further increases the risk of bladder cancer in subjects occupationally exposed to certain organic chemicals found in the textile, leather, rubber, dye, paint, and other organic chemical industries, and further increases the risk of lung cancer among subjects exposed to asbestos.
  • Tobacco use causes atherosclerotic arterial disease (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and lack of blood flow to the lower extremities. Tobacco use causes an estimated 20%-30% of coronary heart disease in the U.S. It also further increases the risk of heart attacks among subjects with elevated cholesterol, uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Tobacco use causes an estimated 20% of chronic lung diseases in the U.S., such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and causes pneumonia in those with chronic lung disease. The CDC, in 2011, estimated that 90% of deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) were due to smoking.
  • Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to deliver babies with low birth weight.
  • Second-hand smoke can cause middle-ear infections (otitis media), coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, and pneumonia in babies, and aggravate asthma in children. Second-hand smoke (sometimes referred to as passive smoking) can also cause lung cancer.

Comments and recommendations (tips):

  • Quitting smoking is difficult to accomplish; tobacco contains nicotine, which is addictive. Some smokers can quit “cold turkey,” but for most, quitting smoking requires a serious life-long commitment and an average of six quitting attempts before success.
  • Quitting smoking efforts may include behavior modification, counseling, use of nicotine chewing gum (Nicorette Gum), nicotine skin patches (Transderm Nicotine), or oral medications such as bupropion (Zyban).

 

Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

Adverse consequences of excessive alcohol consumption:

 

  • Chronic, excess alcohol consumption is the major cause of liver cirrhosis in the U.S.
  • Liver cirrhosis can cause internal haemorrhage, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, easy bleeding and bruising, muscle wasting, mental confusion, infections, and in advanced cases, coma, and kidney failure.
  • Liver cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.
  • Alcohol accounts for 40%-50% of deaths from automobile accidents in the U.S.
  • Alcohol use is a significant cause of injury and death from home accidents, drowning, and burns.

Comments and recommendations (tips):

There are many treatments for alcoholism. But the crucial first step to recovery is for the individual to admit there is a problem and make a commitment to address the alcoholism issue. The 12-step-style self-help programs, pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous, can be one effective treatment. Psychologists and related professionals have developed programs to help individual’s better handle emotional stresses and avoid behaviours that can lead to excess drinking. Support and understanding from family members are often critical for sustained recovery. Medication can be useful for the prevention of relapses and for withdrawal symptoms following acute or prolonged intoxication.

 

Avoid high-risk sexual behaviours

High-risk sexual behaviour can lead to the acquisition of sexually transmitted illnesses such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, or HIV infection. High-risk sexual behaviour is also known to spread human papillomavirus infection, which can lead to cervical cancer in women and other ano-genital cancers in both men and women.

High-risk sexual behaviours include the following:

  • Multiple sex partners
  • Sex partners with a history of the following:
    • Intravenous drug use
    • Venereal disease (sexually transmitted diseases or STDs)

Adverse consequences of high-risk sexual behaviour:

  • Transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, genital herpes)
  • Transmission of hepatitis B (50% of hepatitis B infections are due to sexual transmission) and, in rare instances, hepatitis C
  • Transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause genital warts and ano-genital carcinomas, most commonly cancer of the uterine cervix
  • Unplanned pregnancy

 

Recommendations (tips):

  • Avoid unprotected sex (sex without barriers such as a condom) outside an established, committed, monogamous relationship.
  • If you plan to have sex and are unsure of your partner’s health status, use a condom.

Avoid other high-risk behaviors

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while sleep-deprived
  • Reckless driving and speeding, “road rage”
  • Driving while using cell phones, texting, or performing other tasks
  • Motorcycle (and bicycle) riding without helmets
  • Possession of firearms and guns without proper training and storage
  • Smoking in bed

Adverse consequences of high-risk behaviours:

  • Motor vehicle accidents account for 40%-50% of accidental deaths.
  • Motorcycle accidents are a major cause of serious head injuries.
  • Firearms and guns account for a significant proportion of deaths among adolescents due to male suicide and homicide.
  • Smoking in bed can lead to burn injury and death.

 

Recommendations (tips):

  • When driving, use seat restraints on all passengers, both front and rear seats.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Do not drive if sleep deprived.
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions and focus on the road and traffic while driving (avoid texting, talking on cell phones, eating, applying makeup, or other distractions).
  • Use helmets while riding bicycles and motorcycles. Helmet use reduces deaths from motorcycle accidents by 30% and serious head injuries by 75%.
  • Obtain proper training in the use and storage of guns and ammunition.
  • Use smoke detectors; avoid smoking in bed.

 

Adverse consequences of excess sun exposure:

  • Melanoma and other skin cancers

Recommendation (tips):

  • Avoid sunburns and sun exposure by using adequate skin protection; use brimmed hats, protective clothing, and sunscreen.
  • Sunscreens have undergone changes, and the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) published new requirements that sunscreens needed to meet starting in 2012. Currently, the FDA suggests an effective sunscreen is rated as SPF 30 or higher and has both UVA and UVB protection (protection against ultraviolet waves of types A and B). In most instances, sunscreen needs to be applied every two hours and each time after a person has gone swimming.

 

Additional tips for healthy living

Although there are many other risky behaviours that may impede an otherwise healthy lifestyle (for example, working with toxic or radioactive materials, drug addiction, travel to areas with unusual endemic diseases), these are too numerous to cover in this general article. However, the reader is advised to visit such topic sites on MedicineNet.com, eMedicineHealth.com or WebMD.com because most of the specific articles will provide tips to avoid health-related problems.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCES:

Physical activity and exercise

Physical activity and exercise

Physical activity and exercise is a major contributor to a healthy lifestyle; people are made to use their bodies, and disuse leads to unhealthy living. Unhealthy living may manifest itself in obesity, weakness, lack of endurance, and overall poor health that may foster disease development.

Tips:

  • Regular exercise can prevent and reverse age-related decreases in muscle mass and strength, improve balance, flexibility, and endurance, and decrease the risk of falls in the elderly. Regular exercise can help prevent coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Regular, weight-bearing exercise can also help prevent osteoporosis by building bone strength.
  • Regular exercise can help chronic arthritis sufferers improve their capacity to perform daily activities such as driving, climbing stairs, and opening jars.
  • Regular exercise can help increase self-esteem and self-confidence, decrease stress and anxiety, enhance mood, and improve general mental health.
  • Regular exercise can help control weight gain and in some people cause loss of fat.
  • Thirty minutes of modest exercise (walking is OK) at least three to five days a week is recommended, but the greatest health benefits come from exercising most days of the week.
  • Exercise can be broken up into smaller 10-minute sessions.
  • Start slowly and progress gradually to avoid injury or excessive soreness or fatigue. Over time, build up to 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.
  • People are never too old to start exercising. Even frail, elderly individuals (70-90 years of age) can improve their strength and balance with exercise.
  • Almost any type of exercise (resistance, water aerobics, walking, swimming, weights, yoga, and many others) is helpful for everybody.
  • Children need exercise; play outside of the home is a good beginning.
  • Sports for children may provide excellent opportunities for exercise, but care must be taken not to overdo certain exercises (for example, throwing too many pitches in baseball may harm a joint like the elbow or shoulder).
  • Exertion during strenuous exercise may make a person tired and sore, but if pain occurs, stop the exercise until the pain source is discovered; the person may need to seek medical help and advice about continuation of such exercise.

Most individuals can begin moderate exercise, such as walking, without a medical examination. The following people, however, should consult a doctor before beginning more vigorous exercise:

  • Men over age 40 or women over age 50
  • Individuals with heart or lung disease, asthma, arthritis, or osteoporosis
  • Individuals who experience chest pressure or pain with exertion, or who develop fatigue or shortness of breath easily
  • Individuals with conditions that increase their risks of developing coronary heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, high blood cholesterol, or having family members who had early onset heart attacks and coronary heart disease
  • Individuals who are morbidly obese

Consequences of physical inactivity and lack of exercise:

  • Physical inactivity and lack of exercise are associated with heart disease and some cancers.
  • Physical inactivity and lack of exercise are associated with type II diabetes mellitus (also known as maturity or adult-onset, non-insulin-dependent diabetes).
  • Physical inactivity and lack of exercise contribute to weight gain.