Being more active is one of the top New Year’s Resolutions.
Photo credit: UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.
Well, it’s that time of year again. January 1st has finally rolled around and I still have not completed last year’s New Year’s Resolution. If you’re like me, your resolution is to lose weight in 2022. Maybe you have chosen to quit smoking, exercise more, or try to be more positive. Maybe these resolutions sound familiar to you because they were last year’s resolutions, too!
You don’t have a New Year’s Resolution yet? Below is a list of some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions that could help you spark an idea!
Exercising with others can help you stay on track to reach your wellness goals.
Photo credit: UF/IFAS Photo: Josh Wickham.
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- Save more money
- Quit the use of tobacco
- Quit the use of alcohol
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Travel more
- Read more
So, how do you ensure that you are going to stick to your resolution? Below are a few New Year’s Resolution tips to help us create long-lasting change:
- Dream big! The bigger, the better. Do you want to learn to run a marathon? Do you want to fit back into those jeans you wore in high school? Being ambitious will help inspire others around you to cheer you on toward those goals.
- Break that big dream down into smaller pieces. Running 26 miles seems daunting, but when you start with just walking 1 mile, you will soon gain the confidence to push for more. Choosing to reach for healthier snacks, such as carrots or celery instead of potato chips, is a small change that can affect your diet. You do not have to deprive yourself of foods you enjoy to lose weight. You just have to focus on portion control. Small steps will move you forward to your ultimate goal.
- Commit yourself to your goals! Write them down, post your goals on social media, or verbally promise to others that you are going to do it. Hold yourself accountable to what you are trying to do. Sometimes, making a public announcement will encourage others to join you on your journey. They can push you to be the best version of yourself, while also holding you accountable.
- Give yourself a pat on the back! “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, neither will you accomplish your end goal in one day. Typically, our new year’s resolutions take time, sometimes a very long time. Encourage yourself to keep going by acknowledging what you do accomplish!
- Learn from your past. I am not perfect, you are not perfect, no one is perfect! We all stumble at times, but it is how we recover that will set us up for success or failure. If you “fall off the healthy-eating train” one evening, don’t beat yourself up or give up. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can resolve to recover from your mistakes to get back on track.
- Support! I have mentioned inspiring others already, but you need support, too. Accept help from those who care about you to help you achieve your goals. Consider joining a support group, such as a workout class at the gym or a group of co-workers to quit smoking. These individuals share your struggles and want to see you succeed, which makes the challenge less intimidating!
- The 3 R’s: Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce. The 3 R’s can help you make a long-term change. Reflect on your current situation, i.e. eating habits. Replace those unhealthy habits with healthier ones. Reinforce these changes in your daily life.
Use the Nutrition Facts label to make healthy food choices.
Photo credit: UF/IFAS.
According to the American Psychological Association, “By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your every day life.” The dreaded New Year’s Resolution does not have to seem unattainable. If you plan to make a New Year’s Resolution this year, limit the number of resolutions you choose so that you can focus on them. By creating new habits and making small changes, you can do anything you put your mind to!
Trees help to clean the air and provide a relaxing setting to reduce stress.
Photo credit: Anitra Mayhann
Do you know how vital trees really are? Trees conserve soil and water and clean the air. Research has shown that there are both mental and physical health benefits from forests. Trees provide us with oxygen through photosynthesis. Not to mention, think of the beauty they add to an area. Florida has celebrated Arbor Day for many years, since 1886 to be exact. It is the third Friday in January, whereas the National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April.
We can improve our health just by spending time outside in nature. Forests and trees can boost our immune system, reduce stress, increase our ability to sleep as well as boost energy levels while improving mood and helping us to focus. Studies in health care show a link between nature and health. Plants put off airborne chemicals called phytoncides to repel insects. The antifungal and antibacterial qualities that are put off in this process help us as we breathe them in by increasing our white blood cell count.
It is important that we remove ourselves occasionally from our office or home to explore green spaces to take a mental break. That might mean a walk in the forest, gardening, exercising, or resting and meditating to unplug from our fast-paced busy life. Many doctors encourage and incorporate this type of therapy for wellness for their patients and for children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
There are many ways to celebrate trees. They are a great gift for birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries. You might also consider planting a tree in honor of a family member who has passed on or to remember a beloved pet. This year, give a gift that gives back as well as be encouraged to celebrate Florida’s Arbor Day on January 21st, 2022.
Many holidays celebrate something we remember, but Arbor Day is a way to celebrate hope for the future by planting a tree to support a healthy community. I encourage you to check with your local government offices, Forrester, or Extension office to see if there are any special celebrations planned that you could join or plan your own activity to honor trees as a resource and how they impact your environment.
For more information, visit Arbor Day Foundation or Florida Urban and Community Forestry.
The Art of Effective Communication
SMART Couples Florida Celebration
Statewide Virtual Event
February 19, 2022
6:00 – 9:15 p.m. EST
Photo source: Victor Harris
It’s time to talk about love! Join us online for a night of real talk about building stronger relationships from marriage and family professionals across the nation. Learn how to improve your communication and keep the romance alive. Tickets available now!
Learn more here: https://smartcouples.ifas.ufl.edu/flcelebration/
The holiday season is finally upon us. It’s a time for enjoying family, friends, and food!
You can make healthy habits this holiday season. It’s not only a single meal but rather an entire season of parties, events, gatherings festivities, and unhealthy choices that add up to that holiday weight gain we resolve to lose when January rolls around. As the holiday season begins its rapid approach, take time and consider those eating habits that set your new year off on the wrong foot. Why not make a resolution now to eat healthier this holiday season?
Just a few simple strategies can help make the difference and keep those unwanted pounds away. Here are some suggestions:
- Don’t skip meals. Eating healthy on a regular basis will keep you from overindulging at holiday gatherings.
- Use smaller plates for meals and gatherings and be mindful of portions
- Choose more vegetables and smaller helpings of entrees and desserts
- Drink more water and minimize alcoholic drinks and eggnog
- Make healthier recipe ingredient substitutions when cooking and baking
Take a mindful approach to keeping your personal health goals in-check. We can all still experience the joy of the holiday season, without making food the focus. Make a resolution to be mindful and eat healthier this holiday season, and your waistline will thank you!
Learn more about making healthy habits this holiday season!
— Tips for Making Healthy Choices
— Simple Substitutions
— Diabetes During the Holidays
— How to Add Fruits and Veggies
— Cranberry Nutrition
— Cranberry Sauce Recipe
— Holiday Food Safety Tips
Click here to read the newsletter.
Take care of your bones today for better quality of life tomorrow!
According to the National Institutes of Health, about one in every two Americans over the age of 50 may already have or be at risk of developing osteoporosis. (1) Osteoporosis is a disease where, over time, bone quality and strength decline, making bones more likely to fracture and break. Fractures can develop not only as a result of a slip or fall but also from everyday sneezing or coughing. If your doctor diagnoses you with osteoporosis, the best course of action for slowing its progression may be prescription medication. However, nutrition and exercise can help provide a good foundation to prevent or delay disease development. (1)
Know Your Risks
While all risks are not completely understood, there is a genetic factor linked to osteoporosis – mainly, if poor bone mineral density runs in the family. In addition to genetic factors, poor nutrition, smoking, excessive alcohol, and a lack of exercise can all increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. It is important to talk to your doctor to discuss your level of risk and prevention measures. (1)
Build More Bone
Although they may not seem like it, bones are a living tissue and go through times of building and breakdown during the life cycle. Bones grow the most during childhood, but they also change and become stronger as an adult by doing exercises like weightlifting or running. (1) Similar to a savings account or retirement fund, the more you build when you are young, the more you can afford to spend as you age. Current recommendations to support strong bones include muscle strengthening exercises at least two times per week. These exercises require your muscles to do more work than doing just day-to-day activities. Additionally, strength training exercises should be done to the point where it would be difficult to perform one or two more repetitions. Examples include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and doing body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and planks. Additionally, climbing stairs, and carrying heavy loads (such as groceries and heavy gardening) also count when done frequently.(2)
Support Your Bones
In addition to exercise, nutrition plays a large role in promoting healthy bones. The two most important nutrients for bone health are calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is what gives bones their strength but is also involved in many other processes in the body. If you do not regularly consume enough calcium, your body takes it from your bones. (3) If this happens for long enough, your bones will become weakened and begin to develop osteoporosis. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium. Not having enough vitamin D can impact your bones, even if you get enough calcium from your diet. (4)
||Vitamin D (IU/day)
|Infants 0-6 months
|Infants 6-12 months
|1-3 years old
|4-8 years old
|9-13 years old
|14-18 years old
|19-30 years old
|31-50 years old
|> 70 years old
|14-18 years old, pregnant/lactating
|19-50 years old, pregnant/lactating
Recommended Calcium and Vitamin D Intakes (5) Definitions: mg = milligrams; IU = International Units
Bone Strengthening Foods
There are a variety of food sources that provide calcium and vitamin D. Calcium can be found in dairy products, green vegetables, and calcium-fortified foods. Examples of calcium-containing dairy products include cheese, yogurt, and reduced-fat milk. Other calcium-fortified foods include breads, orange juice, cereals, and tofu. When it comes to vitamin D in your diet, be sure to include fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. There are smaller amounts of vitamin D found in cheese, mushrooms, and beef liver. Similar to calcium, there are many vitamin D-fortified foods available. Some examples are cereals, orange juice, milk, and milk products. Check out the two tables below for calcium and vitamin D food sources. (5)
Calcium Content of Selected Foods
||Milligram (mg) per serving
|Sardines, canned in oil
|Cheddar cheese, shredded
||1 ½ oz
|Yogurt, reduced fat, no solids
|2% milk (reduced fat)
||8 fl oz
||8 fl oz
|Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat
||2 cups, unpacked
|Mozzarella, part skim
||1 ½ oz
|Tofu firm, with calcium
|Orange juice, calcium fortified
||6 fl oz
|Tofu soft, with calcium
|Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve
|Ready-to-eat cereal, calcium fortified
|Turnip greens, boiled
|Vanilla ice cream
|Soy beverage, calcium fortified
||8 fl oz
||1, 6” diameter
|Sour cream, reduced fat, cultured
Adapted from Office of the Surgeon General (US). Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. (7)
Vitamin D Content of Selected Foods
||Micrograms (mcg) per serving
||International Units (IU) per serving
|Cod liver oil
|Rainbow trout, cooked
|Salmon (sockeye), cooked
|White mushrooms, raw, exposed to UV light
|2% milk, vitamin D fortified
|Soy, almond, & oat milk, vitamin D fortified
|Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% DV vitamin D
|Sardines (Atlantic), canned in oil, drained
|Beef liver, braised
|Tuna fish (light), canned in water, drained
|Portabella mushrooms, raw, diced
|Chicken breast, roasted
|Ground beef, 90% lean, broiled
|Broccoli, raw, chopped
Adapted from Vitamin D – Fact sheet for health professionals (8)
Stay Safe and Healthy as You Age
Osteoporosis can be a serious and life changing diagnosis. However, adopting healthy habits like limiting smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can decrease your risk. Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D each day and getting regular muscle building exercise at least twice a week can also help protect your bones. Women over the age of 65, or anyone diagnosed as “at risk,” should be regularly screened for osteoporosis by a doctor during their yearly physical health exam. (6,7,8)
Making healthy lifestyle choices from a young age can help prevent or delay osteoporosis, but once you’re diagnosed, the best course of action for slowing its progression may be prescription medication. Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or for interactions with medications.
- “Osteoporosis Overview.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview.
- S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.
- “Osteoporosis.” Edited by Susan Randall, Osteoporosis | Office on Women’s Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 20 May 2019, https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/osteoporosis.
- “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 Mar. 2021, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminD-HealthProfessional/
- S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov
- Palmer S. Bone Health and Diet. Today’s Dietitian. 2013;15(2):44.
- Office of the Surgeon General (US). Bone health and osteoporosis: A report of the surgeon general. Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2004. Table 7-2, Selected Food Sources of Calcium. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45523/table/ch7.t2/
- Vitamin D – Fact sheet for health professionals. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h3. Published August 17, 2021. Accessed November 11, 2021.
Guest contributors: Andrew Treble and Lexi Fraino are master’s students and Dietetic Interns from Florida State University’s Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology.
Since I can recall, I’ve liked to read cookbooks. Old cookbooks, famous cookbooks, church cookbooks, regional and seasonal cookbooks, and cookbooks hot off the press! I read the forward and the preface (… if there is one). I don’t just look at the pictures, but I read the recipe for yield (number of servings), ingredients and amounts, and the way the ingredients are combined. I read about the equipment required to prepare the recipe and the amount of time it takes to complete the task.
A narrative format is common with many older or handwritten recipes.
Photo credit: Heidi Copeland
Generally, I have found that old cookbook recipes often seem different and that handwritten, handed-down recipes tend to be vague. I also have found that the product does not always turn out like the picture. Yields – the amount a recipe feeds – has certainly changed over time and recipe ingredients have become more and more varied, as has their use. Who knew toasting spices completely changes their flavor profile and that umami is important?
It used to be that people learned to cook by watching someone else. However, that seriously changed as more and more folks became literate. In fact, the first cookbook published in the United States, American Cookery (Hartford Connecticut 1796), has been designated by The Library of Congress as one of the 88 books that shaped America. This first cookbook used uniquely American ingredients of the time and provided American cooks with quite a litany of receipts, the old-world way of documenting what we now call a recipe.
Recently, I listened to a radio interview with Adrien Miller, a cookbook author who has been on a quest to document uniquely African American cooking histories.
I chuckled to hear Adrien Miller describe a handwritten recipe from a friend or a relative as a lesserpe… his terminology for the unexacting nature of a recipe given from someone who really doesn’t need an exact rendition because they know what they are doing and assume you do, too.
Recipes are a great way to hand down our own historical traditions. However, having been charged with giving out a lesserpe…, I find it is critically important to be as exacting as possible when sharing recipes with friends or family.
A good, standard format for a recipe includes:
- Name of product
- Yield of product (how many it serves)
- Ingredients in exact amounts (in order of use is helpful)
- Step-by-step instructions, in detail
- Time and temperature specifics
- Important information about pan size, etc.
Remember, too, that a recipe is a history. History evolves. Aunt Margaret might have written a narrative format (paragraph) recipe but today that form might be seen as hard to follow.
Here is an example from Aunt Margaret:
Apple Pie (2 crust)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with your favorite crust. Combine and sift together 1/2 – 2/3 cup white sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Combine and sift over apples (about 3#, cut up). Stir apples gently until well coated. Place in pie shell and dot with butter. Cover pie, slit or prick crust. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes then reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake until done.
The typically formatted recipe:
Apple Pie (Aunt Margaret)
Serves 8 to 10
2 pie crusts, purchased or homemade
3 pounds Granny Smith apples, approximately 8 large apples
1/2 cup white sugar, more if you like it sweeter
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, firm, sliced thin
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cream
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Wash, peel, core, and slice the apples thinly.
- In a large bowl, toss sliced apples with sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Line 9” pie pan with 1 piecrust
- Mound the apple mixture in the center of the pie crust.
- Dot the apple mixture with sliced butter.
- Cover apples with 2nd pie crust.
- Crimp edges of the pie crust. (Press the top and bottom dough rounds together as you flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.)
- Mix egg yolk and cream, brush all over the pie crust top.
- Stick with fork tines in a dozen places or vent with small knife-made slits.
- Bake 15 minutes in the preheated 425°oven.
- Reduce the temperature to 375°. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft and the crust is golden brown.
- Transfer the apple pie to a rack to cool for at least 1 hour.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips before you bake it.
- At any point during the baking, if the top of the pie begins to brown too much, just tent it with aluminum foil.
- Your dad does not like nutmeg. I add a splash of vanilla, a bit more cinnamon, and omit the nutmeg.
- Don’t forget the vanilla bean ice-cream. It adds a nice touch!
This holiday season, don’t be blamed for sharing less than the whole recipe. Recipes can be a valuable tool for passing on important family food traditions, now and into the distant future. Learn to write a good recipe with details. You might just be the talk of the table for eons.
Library of Congress: American Cookery