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My grandmother smoked until she was 90. * Some people are lucky, and she might have lived healthier and happier to 110.
I enjoy smoking. Why should I quit? * Your addiction has tricked your brain into believing you enjoy it.
You’ve gotta die of something. * Yeah – but why kill yourself?
This is a bad time to quit. I’m too stressed right now. * Pick a time in the near future when you won’t be so stressed. And stick to it. Or (who are you kidding?) admit that you’re never going to be free of stress, and just do it now.
I’m afraid I’ll gain weight if I quit. * Yeah, we addressed that already here and here.
I exercise every day and I’m in better shape than most non-smokers. * Your lungs aren’t in better shape.
Smoking is part of my persona and gives me character. * Nice try, Bette Davis! Wouldn’t it be cooler to have a healthy persona?
Smoking is like a good friend. * Good friends don’t age you, control you, and then kill you. Time to dump this “friend.”
I’m already getting lung pollution from smog and second-hand smoke. * That’s like saying, “I’ve already had a beer; I might as well have a six-pack!”
I only smoke occasionally. * Then why bother? Why risk so much for so little?
Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is pure comfort food, and it’s a great way to use up what you have.
This dish takes a little longer to cook, but if you think ahead, you can prepare the barley the night before (while you’re eating and cleaning up from dinner?), and then reheat it over very low heat with a little more broth or water, stirring it, while you prepare the vegetables.
You can make this dish with other veggies, if you don’t have these on hand. We love recipes with this kind of flexibility. Substitute any canned beans – Great Northern, cannelini, aduki, red, pinto – or lentils – or use frozen peas or shelled edamame. Use what you have. For the veggies, add green beans, celery, broccoli or cauliflower (cut small!), mushrooms, or a few stems of kale or chard (remove stems, chop leaves).
2 cups pearled barley
5 cups water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon of non-dairy margarine
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shallots
1 cup red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup red pepper, diced fine
2 scallions, thinly sliced, green part only
1-1/2 large carrots, shredded
1-15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
In a large saucepan over high heat bring 5 cups water, 1 cup vegetable broth, non-dairy margarine and pearled barley to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a low simmer; cook covered about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until soft.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, sauté olive oil, shallots, and onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper, scallions, carrots, black beans, and balsamic vinegar. Stir and continue cooking an additional 5 minutes, allowing flavors to come together and carrots begin to soften. Add parsley and basil and mix well. In a large bowl combine barley and vegetable mixture; toss well and serve.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Real oatmeal contains no ingredients; rather, it is an ingredient. As such, it’s a promising lifesaver: oats are easy to grow in almost any non-extreme climate and, minimally processed, they’re profoundly nourishing, inexpensive and ridiculously easy to cook.
EXACTLY. Oatmeal is easy, cheap, and nutritious. It’s hard to make it wrong – you almost have to do it on purpose. And apparently, that was exactly what McDonald’s set out to do.
…in typical McDonald’s fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. (Not only that, they’ve made it more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.) “Cream” (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added; brown sugar is ostensibly optional, but it’s also added routinely unless a customer specifically requests otherwise. There are also diced apples, dried cranberries and raisins, the least processed of the ingredients (even the oatmeal contains seven ingredients, including “natural flavor”).
Seriously? How can oatmeal contain seven ingredients – before you add the “cream,” sweetener, and dried fruit? Oatmeal is… oats. And water. And maybe (because it’s totally optional) a pinch of salt. What “natural flavor” needs to be added to oatmeal? Doesn’t it taste like oats already? (We couldn’t even hold back the laugh when we typed that.)
Others will argue that the McDonald’s version is more “convenient.” This is nonsense; in the time it takes to go into a McDonald’s, stand in line, order, wait, pay and leave, you could make oatmeal for four while taking your vitamins, brushing your teeth and half-unloading the dishwasher. (If you’re too busy to eat it before you leave the house, you could throw it in a container and microwave it at work….
If you don’t want to bother with the stove at all, you could put some rolled oats (instant not necessary) in a glass or bowl, along with a teeny pinch of salt, sugar or maple syrup or honey, maybe some dried fruit. Add milk and let stand for a minute (or 10). Eat. Eat while you’re walking around getting dressed. And then talk to me about convenience.
Thank you, Mark Bittman. There’s nothing inconvenient about making your own oatmeal. If you like to cook over a stove, you can even make a big pot on a day you have the extra 10 minutes, and keep it in the fridge all week. Scoop out a serving, add some liquid (we like soy milk for this, but water or any plant milk, or even apple juice works), and warm it quickly on the stove. You know, while you half-unload that dishwasher (we’re glad he said that, because that’s exactly how we use our time).
Most Americans don’t wash their hands often enough – or long enough – to prevent disease. There’s no excuse for not doing it right.
Use warm water. Use soap. Wash for a minimum of 20 seconds. That’s moving your hands against each other, the backs of your hands and the fronts, and even between your fingers. Wash like a surgeon.
What’s more, we tend to lie about how often we wash, suggesting that we know what we should be doing but don’t always do it. Studies have shown that people will say they wash after using the restroom, but video evidence shows that at least one-third of people using public restrooms skip the handwashing. Eeeeewwwwww.
Wash after you sneeze or cough (into your elbow, please, not into your hand). And of course, wash before you get anywhere near food, either to eat it or to prepare it.
We pick up the bugs that cause colds, flu, and other infectious diseases by contact with someone who is already infected or by touching surfaces that harbor germs. Good handwashing is the best defense against all those germs.
When we want a down-home meal that pleases all the big eaters, this is one we turn to. It’s a good choice for a weekend or whenever you have more time to hang around the kitchen. The prep work is minimal, and there’s plenty of time while the chicken is roasting to make a salad and some side dishes (like those Brussels sprouts we posted on Monday).
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ Winter Roast Chicken Blue * Serves 4-6
1 large (4 pound) whole free-range chicken
3 Stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash chicken and pat dry. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the mixture, tie the legs together and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little more Italian seasoning and reduce heat to 350F. Place chicken in a baking dish, breast down. Put a meat thermometer in the thigh, making sure it doesn’t touch any bone. Roast for 20-30 minutes per pound, basting every 10-15 minutes. Chicken is done when the thermometer registers 175F-180F, and juices run clear. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before carving.
If you live where late February and early March are the gray months, when winter gets tiring and spirits start to sag, then use these ideas to create your own inner warmth and sunshine.
Keep exercising. The endorphins created by exercise will keep your spirits lifted.
While you’re at it, try to get some kind of outdoor exercise. Yes, you’ll have to dress for it, and it might not be enough, but try it. Fresh air is uplifting.
When you’re inside, enjoy the benefits of winter – hot soup, a crackling fire, snuggling, flannel pj’s.
Don’t hibernate. Invite friends over or go out and socialize. Winter is perfect for board games with friends.
Dress for the weather. The people who create fashion spreads in magazines don’t know how to dress for “real” winter. Now that outerwear is on sale, pick up a new (really warm) coat in a bright color, and look for warm, waterproof boots with a nice tread. While you’re at it, bright warm scarves, hats, mittens, and gloves are fun, too.
Get some vitamin D. If you’re not near the equator, it’s hard to get enough sun in the winter to make your own vitamin D, so be sure to supplement. And of course, get outside on sunny days.
Eat for a good mood. Skip the sugary, fatty “comfort” foods (there’s no comfort in looking at the scale tomorrow!) and replace them with foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, vegetables, and B vitamins.
Stay hydrated. Winter air is drying, so keep drinking that water. Your skin will love you for it.
Moisturize. It’s a corollary to staying hydrated. Use a citrus-scented lotion for the aromatherapy benefit of a bright, awakening scent.
Quitting significantly decreases risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. No other reasons are necessary, but here are the rest anyway.
You’ll look and feel better with whiter teeth, fresher breath, and stronger lungs.
Freedom from addiction – no more being controlled by cravings.
Quitting decreases the risk of premature facial wrinkles. (We can tell you’re a smoker by the lines around your mouth.)
Quitting saves money – easily $2000 a year for a pack-a-day smoker.
You will no longer look and smell like a “loser.” Smoking is not cool.
Eventually you’ll have more energy. Try it and see!
You’ll no longer contribute to second-hand smoke illnesses and deaths. A non-smoker married to a smoker has 30% greater risk for smoke-related illness (and death) than if they were married to a non-smoker.
You’ll no longer have to hide it from some people (your boss, your kids, that cute guy you want to date, your clients…).
Smoking claims about 400,000 lives in the US every year. You don’t want to be one of them.
and a bonus…
Your house, car, and clothes won’t smell anymore. (Yes. They do.)