Good morning! Yesterday was a bit hectic and crazy. Spencer had to leave preschool early because he had a super high fever. After a trip to the doctor and a few tests, we have a confirmed case of RSV. Not too big of a deal and normally I would have skipped the trip to the doctor (we’re much more for the natural route on most things) but with the mad spread of flu this year, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.
With all that excitement and the change in how our day came together, I decided to take a rest day workout wise yesterday instead of today. This is probably for the better anyway since my foot is still kind of bothering me from my run. With that in mind, I’m going to skip the gym tonight and do Bob’s workout at home and I’m actually really looking forward to it The DVDs are great!
Veggie Feta Lasagna (with Chicken, optional)
I promised this recipe via Facebook over the weekend and now that it’s Thursday (!!!!) it is about dang time I got it out to ya!
- 1 Box of Lasagna Noodles (you will use about half)
- 1 Jar Classico Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
- 3-5 Leaves of Kale
- Handful Fresh Spinach
- 4 Ounces Feta Cheese Crumbles
- 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced)
- 2 Chicken Breasts (optional)
- 16 Ounces Water (only if using chicken)
- 1/2 Cup to 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Slice chicken into strips, add to a large skillet and season with salt and pepper. Add the water and cover, simmering on medium heat until fully cooked – stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, (for vegetarian option start here) process the kale and spinach to a fine mince.
- In a large bowl, combine the spinach, kale, diced tomatoes and pasta sauce.
- Once the chicken is cooked, process in your food processor until very fine. Add to your sauce mixture.
- In a baking pan (roughly 9×7), make a layer of lasagna noodles. You may have to break the noodles to fit them in your pan and this is totally acceptable
- Alternate layers of noodles, a layer of crumbled feta and a layer of the sauce mixture – in that order – three times.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 90 minutes.
- Remove from oven and top with Monterey Jack – bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is gooey delicious.
I enlisted my very best helper for this project. I find that when Mack helps me prepare dinner, he is much more excited about eating his dinner.
Combine – tomatoes, kale, spinach, pasta sauce and chicken
Layer noodle, feta, sauce, noodle, feta, sauce, noodle, feta, sauce….
Make sure noodles are fully covered
All done! Nick also made some cheapy garlic bread using sliced bread, pressed garlic and some additional Monterey Jack cheese – it was excellent.
If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen this discussion thread last week:
I was requested to write about childhood obesity rates in America but as I was researching for my article I came across so much information that was new-to-me and in fact, shocking. Given that the phrases like “obesity epidemic,” “childhood obesity,” and “early on-set diabetes” have become such a constant presence in the media, I was really surprised by the amount of information we aren’t seeing in the mainstream media.
- Being obese indicates a BMI (body mass index) greater than thirty. BMI is an equation of weight in relation to height.
- Childhood obesity, however, indicates having a weight above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.
- Nearly 1 in 3 children in the US is struggling with their weight and has a medical condition as a result of their excess weight.
- Obesity is held accountable for rough 18 percent of all medical costs in the US, annually.
- Obese people are 75% more likely to be unemployed than their healthy-weight counterparts; employed, they earn 13% less on average than those of healthy weight working the same job.
- Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death around the world.
- Obesity shortens life span by up to ten years and significantly reduces quality of life over that time.
- Obesity is also associated with added medical concerns such as heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, and cancer.
The number one cause of obesity is a lack of exercise in conjunction with excessive eating. While there are obesity cases caused by genetic disorders, medications and other medical disorders – these cases are rare, less than 10%.
- Treatment – there are prescription drugs available to adults (with high side effects including kidney failure) but none of these are FDA approved for use in children. The main treatment, of course, is diet and exercise though bariatric surgery has also proven to be a successful (albeit dangerous) treatment method.
- Prevention – healthy eating, active lifestyles and a basic knowledge of nutrition and what the body needs are a strongest tools in combating the now epidemic rate of obesity in our nation’s youth. In fact, now that the government has implemented programs like Let’s Move, President’s Challenge and the new school food standards we are finally starting to see a decrease in new cases, though not a decrease in existing cases. In that regard, awareness and knowledge of the issues are key.
- Legislation – higher food standards, subsidies and availability of healthy and affordable food are all a necessary part of the conversation when it comes to solving the obesity crisis.
The Take Aways
Obesity is a concern for all of us.
It’s a concern because even if our kids are healthy, they are likely to have friends struggling with their weight.
It’s a concern because we are all paying for the increased healthcare costs.
It’s a concern because our children, for the first time in American history, are facing a life expectancy shorter than that of their ancestors.
It’s a concern because of how we got here:
The popularity and increasing reliance on fast food
The government subsidization of products like corn, wheat, soy and rice which have led to even cheaper processed foods, in comparison to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Soda and sugared beverages now account for more then 25% of our children’s daily caloric intake – that’s tons of extra calories with ZERO additional nutrients.
And, it is concern for us as individuals as well; what I choose to eat, what I choose to feed my family, the exercise and activity levels of ourselves and our families – only we can control these decisions for our own selves, our own families.
As Cole pointed out in our Facebook discussion, obesity is a lot like smoking: “as educated as children and adults are on this [smoking], for many it comes down to addiction.” In fact, his point is quantified in the statistics – those already diagnosed as obese are not at all impacted by the government programs to educate the public and incentivize healthy, active lifestyles (meaning no lifestyle or diet changes as a result of these programs for those already obese). As Cole put it, this lifestyle of inactivity and overeating is “an addiction.”
We have to be responsible to be the change makers in our own lives: setting an example of healthy eating and active lifestyles for our children, voting for better food options with our wallets, committing to making healthy weight a priority and not an after thought once a problem develops.
You can do this too.
We all have to. Not as a new year’s resolutions, not as a growing fad, but as a committed life style. A committed priority to fixing this.
- Read the US Farm Bill so you can understand how subsidies effect food prices (and in turn, the availability and affordability of healthy options)
- Read Edible Wasatch’s fantastic (and short!) explanation of how food laws work (page 12) and ways you can make a difference in food legislation
- Check out Let’s Move to find out how you can Lead, Organize and Take Action in your community group or church.
- Read the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which went into effect last year and implements healthier, more nutritious school meal standards.
My personal favorite part of the Let’s Move literature was this:
On the Biggest Loser, Week 2, the doctor was reviewing some of the medical conditions contestants were facing due to their weight – insulin intolerance, diabetes, fatty blood, sleep apnea, etc – at one point he used this analogy:
“If you had cancer, you’d give up two hours a day to get chemo or whatever other treatment you need, right?” Of course, the answer was yes and that point is that we need to start treating unhealthy weight as seriously as an other medical concern. We need to take the time, and make the sacrifices, to get the “treatment” we need – that treatment is healthy food and an active lifestyle.
*Sources include the Let’s Move website, the US Farm Bill, WHO Health Statistics, and the OECD Obesity Update 2012.