How much fibre do you really need?

All bran cereal | Sheknows.ca

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FIBRE KEEPS THAT TUMMY TRIM

First things first: Fibre is your friend. Make sure fibre RSVPs to every meal, because it’s the life of the party and it keeps things going — literally. Fibre is largely responsible for those bathroom visits.

The facts on fibre

Fibre works as a bulking agent, training our intestinal muscles to push waste out of the body, which helps to prevent constipation, says Dominika Zarzeczny, B.Sc., N.D. “The amount of stool we expel per day is largely dependent on the amount of fibre we consume, so more fibre means more regularity.”

Soluble or insoluble, both types of fibre have their perks. Soluble fibre slows down digestion and keeps you feeling full, which is great when keeping an eye on your weight. It’s also helpful in controlling diabetes and cholesterol. Fibre can be found in oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, beans, blueberries, carrots and the list goes on.

Leave the bloat behind

Did you know?

Fibre is also an important fuel source for the healthy bacteria living in our intestines, making for healthier bowelInsoluble fibres act like a natural laxative. They are present in the skins of vegetables and fruits and in the bran portion of whole grains. “Insoluble fibre passes through the gastrointestinal tract largely unchanged, helping to promote a regular and healthy digestive system,” says Zarzeczny.

Whole wheat, wheat bran, seeds, nuts, dark leafy vegetables, raisins and grapes are just some sources of insoluble fibre.

Fibre it up

Women aged 19 to 50 require approximately 25 grams of fibre a day. Incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet is a simple way to meet that quota quickly. For instance, Zarzeczny says, an apple consumed with the skin or a cup of broccoli both contain about 5 grams of fibre. A cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams, and a cup of whole-wheat spaghetti contains just over 6 grams of fibre. Add that up, and you’re already looking at 27 grams of fibre (and you’ve reached your recommended daily intake).

A cup of split peas and black beans each provides about 15 grams of fibre per cup. Green peas make an excellent side dish, and a cup contains about 9 grams of fibre. Grab a handful of almonds — or 23, to be exact — which provides 3.5 grams of fibre and makes for a perfect snack.

FACT:

Bran is rich in fibre and essential fatty acids, and it contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Flaxseed fan club

Looking to increase your digestive wellness? Zarzeczny recommends flaxseeds, the “Cadillac of fibre.” Not only are they an excellent source of soluble fibre, but they also contain essential fatty acids and lignans (chemical compound found in plants), she says, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseeds has been shown to help prevent heart disease. Lignans also have powerful antioxidant properties shown to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Make bran your breakfast

Kick-start your metabolism with the most important meal of the day by tossing fibre into the mix:

  • Eat the skins and seeds of vegetables and fruits.
  • Use whole-grain bread when making toast.
  • Add Kellogg’s All-Bran buds to your yogurt.
  • Add a small handful of almonds or other nuts to your cereal.
  • Grab a Kellogg’s All-Bran bar when you’re on the go in between classes or meetings, and it will carry you through to lunch.

TELL US:

How do you get your daily fibre fix? Tell us in the comments section below.

More on fibre

Homemade, super-healthy fruit and seed bars
8 Tasty ways to get more fibre
3 Ancient grains you should be eating

Article sponsored by Kellogg’s All-Bran
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Moussaka: Mediterranean shepherd’s pie

TRADITIONAL FLAVOUR IN ONE TASTY DISH

If you’re tired of the same old recipes for dinner, you’ll love this spin on the classic shepherd’s pie. A mouthwatering combination of eggplant, ground beef and béchamel makes this dish a meal the whole family will enjoy. Pop this platter into the oven for a quick Mediterranean meal any night of the week. The best part is you’ll likely have leftovers for the next day!

Moussaka: Mediterranean Shepherd's Pie | Sheknows.ca

Moussaka

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggplants
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash the eggplants, and slice them into 1- to 2-inch slices.
  3. Place the eggplant slices onto a greased baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, flipping them over after 10 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the oven, place them on cooling rack, and lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
  5. In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the ground meat along with the cinnamon, basil, salt and pepper. Once the meat is browned, add the tomato sauce and wine. Reduce heat, and allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. In a saucepan, add the butter and flour. Using a whisk, cook the mixture for 5 minutes on medium heat before adding the milk and cheese. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat while continuing to whisk as the sauce thickens.
  7. In a greased casserole dish, place half the eggplants to create a layer (think lasagna). Spread the meat sauce over the eggplants to form another even layer. Add another layer of eggplant, and top it off by pouring the béchamel sauce, covering it completely.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.

More Greek recipes

Kopanisti: Feta and red pepper dip
Chicken soup: Avgolemono
Loukoumades: Honey donuts

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http://www.sheknows.ca/food/articles/961227/moussaka-recipe

Recipe revamp: Pastitsio… or Greek lasagna

SAVOURY GOODNESS IN EVERY SERVING

Tired of the same old recipes for dinner? Switch things up with this Greek version of lasagna. Forgo the tomatoes for this one — béchamel sauce goes a long way in this meaty casserole.

Pastitsio: Greek lasagna | Sheknows.ca

Traditionally the Greek version blends a bit of tomato sauce into the ground meat mixture. But for this recipe, we’re going the Cypriot route and omitting the tomato.

Pastitsio

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Greek macaroni pasta (or penne if you don’t have a Greek market nearby)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 litre warmed homogenized milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup Greek Mizithra (or Romano) cheese, grated
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot, pour the chicken stock, and add enough water to boil the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, but keep the water-chicken stock mixture, and set it aside.
  3. Mix together the pasta, 2/3 cup of olive oil and half a cup of grated cheese. Spread in a smooth layer into a casserole dish.
  4. In a pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent (about 2 minutes), then add the parsley, ground meat and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Brown the meat thoroughly, then turn off the heat. Spread a layer of the meat mixture on top of the pasta.
  6. In a separate pot on medium to high heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk for a couple of minutes. Next, stir in the milk and egg. Pour in 2 cups of the chicken stock, and whisk the sauce until it begins to boil. Lower the heat, add half a cup of cheese, and continue to whisk until the béchamel is thick and creamy. If needed, add more flour to thicken it.
  7. When the sauce is thick enough that it sticks to your whisk, remove it from heat, and pour it over the meat in the casserole dish in a smooth layer. Garnish with cinnamon, and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

More pasta recipes

Recipe revamp: Pasta salad
Meatless Monday: Super-greens pesto pasta
Creamy orzo with peas and asparagus

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http://www.sheknows.ca/food/articles/961241/pastitsio-greek-lasagna-recipe

New Year’s resolutions made easy

KEEP YOUR WORD IN 2014

Resolutions don’t typically work, because making drastic changes are a set-up for failure. Small changes over time are the way to go, so we’ve reworked those so-called resolutions to make sure they last all the year through.

New year resolution to-do notes | Sheknows.ca

Can’t lose weight?

Get off the treadmill! Fitness expert Jim Karas says that if weight loss is your long-term goal, then there is only one way to achieve it, and that is with strength training. Incorporate a workout regimen likecalisthenics into your routine, and introduce weights into the program for more of a challenge. If you weren’t a gym member in 2013, you won’t need to be in 2014 — your body and a few dumbbells are all you need.

Eat like the Greeks
Apple | Sheknows.ca

They invented the alphabet and democracy, and they also created a healthy way to eat. A Mediterranean diet consists of mostly plant-based foods, fish and poultry, uses olive oil rather than butter and favours herbs and spices over salt for flavouring. The Mayo Clinic reports that an analysis of over 1.5 million healthy adults maintained that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease and cancer-related deaths in addition to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. You’ll look and feel like a goddess in no time!

TIP

Track your progress by monitoring what you’re ingesting with a food journal, and tape it to the fridge.

Be cheap

Saving seems nearly impossible with all the expenses that add up, but skip out on that latte at least once a week, and put that money in a jar. Save your receipts, see where your money is going, and assess where you can make cuts. But best of all, plan out your spending with a budget. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.” You’ll have a clear idea of where every dollar needs to go and realize there might be a little left over for your rainy-day fund.

Get social (and save a life)

Not online, but the old-fashioned way — surround yourself with friends and family. Make it a point to spend time with those who matter to you. According to Scientific American, the health benefits of social relationships and increased contact with loved ones include a decreased risk of death in young women with breast cancer. So stop saying you should hang out, and have Siri block off a day and time in the ol’ iPhone.

Become a frequent flyerRoad map | Sheknows.ca

Make like George Clooney in Up in the Air, and start earning travel rewards by travelling. The excuse of no money, while valid, is still just an excuse. Don’t wait for the right time, because there will always be a reason not to do something. So start packing, because your vacation awaits thanks to SheKnows’ thrifty travel tips. But first, head to the bank, open up a savings account specifically for travel, and arrange for a portion of your paycheque to automatically be deposited.

Turn off the TV

Have you been PVR’ing a show just because you’ve been a fan forever, but you’re not really into it? Give up one show, and gain 30 to 60 minutes each week. The more time spent in front of a screen means less physical activity, which increases your chances of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more (and usually not carrots, but the other C-word: chips and other processed snacks). The average Canadian spends 30 hours a week watching TV, which makes cutting back to 29.5 entirely doable.

Try something new

The unknown can be daunting, but once you commit to an idea, you’re halfway there. Been meaning to try yoga but just can’t muster up the courage to attend in all your spandex glory? Then buy a DVD, and sweat it out from the comfort of your home. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Jefferson sounds much like a yogi to us.

Volunteering decreases depression

Spend time helping others, and reduce your risk of depression. Volunteering keeps you social and interacting with others while developing a strong support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you fall upon tough times, say the experts at helpguide.org. Go on down to your local soup kitchen, animal shelter or retirement community, and see how you can lend your skills and be of service. Better yet, grab a friend or the whole family, and band together to do good.

Reading equals more brain power

Maybe you can’t get away right now, but you can go on an imaginary journey. Read your way to an exotic location. Draw a bath, light a few candles, and escape from the every day. Not only does reading do wonders to calm the mind, but researchers claim it helps to preserve those brain cells and memory into old age.

Mandatory date nightRose | Sheknows.ca

Perhaps you once scoffed at the idea of having to make time for each other, but with the kids’ after-school programs and weekend activities, once a week is unrealistic. The first Friday of every month (or any day of the week that’s convenient for you) is now your designated date night. Go with your partner to a new restaurant in the city, and enjoy alone time, talking about adult things with your spouse.

We would like to wish you all the best for the coming year, and hope this list helps you be bold and get noticed in 2014.

More ways to be bold in 2014

Your get-ahead plan at work
New tricks to try in the bedroom

Simple ways to show your love

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http://www.sheknows.ca/home-and-living/articles/961119/sensible-new-years-resolutions

Chicken soup: Avgolemono

A WHOLESOME GREEK SOUP

A twist on the classic chicken soup, this traditional egg-lemon-based soup is a village favourite in the Mediterranean.

Chicken soup avgolemono | Sheknows.ca

Avgolemono

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 2- to 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 cup arborio rice or orzo
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

  1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onions, cooking them until they are clear, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside until later.
  2. In a large pot, place the chicken, and cover it entirely with water. Add the carrots, bay leaf, celery and garlic clove. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Skim the top as needed.
  3. When the chicken is cooked through — approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour — remove everything from the broth. Let the chicken cool before separating the meat from the bones and shredding it.
  4. Add the rice (or orzo) to the broth, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer until al dente. Add the onions into the broth, with more water if need be.
  5. In a small bowl, beat together the lemon juice and eggs. Pour 2 cups of broth slowly into the bowl, whisking continuously to avoid cooking the eggs. Once all the broth has been added, pour the mixture into the pot of broth, and stir well. Sprinkle in salt and pepper while blending all together.

NOTE:

Traditionally this soup is served without the chicken, but feel free to toss it back in. Or turn it into another meal, and make club sandwiches.

More chicken recipes

Roasted chicken recipe
Indian food: Butter chicken recipe
Recipe revamp: Sloppy Joes

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http://www.sheknows.ca/food/articles/961117/chicken-soup-avgolemono-recipe