Ask the Trainer:
Q: How does eating healthy and exercising impact my health?
A: With proper exercise and nutrition, you can control, manage or completely avoid 60-70% of illnesses such as: heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, colon cancer, breast cancer, stroke, heart attack, arthritis, etc. Working out improves your confidence and self-esteem. It aids you in getting better sleep and giving you more energy and stamina throughout the day. Exercising slows down the aging process, improves sexual performance and restores libido. Last but not least, a healthy lifestyle builds and maintains healthy bones, muscles and joints while simultaneously increasing your immune system.
Q: How is my social life affecting my health?
A: Being healthy isn’t just a lack of illness, it’s a positive balance between body, mind and soul. In order for your social life to affect your life in a positive way, you need to create a healthy environment to socialize in. Socialize in a physically friendly a environment with walks in the park, meeting in an exercise facility for a class, biking, hiking, volleyball or tennis. Surround yourself with people who believe in healthy lifestyle and encourage your friends to join you. If you need to meet in a restaurant or a bar, choose healthy foods and low calorie drinks to stay on track.
|Health & Wellness|
THE HEALTHY CHEFHouston's top chefs offer advice on low-fat, flavorful cooking
Quattro–Four Seasons Hotel Houston
What do people love most about Italian food? The pasta, of course! With pasta, it’s all about portion control. Look for serving sizes on the package and follow them. Most people prepare more pasta than they really need because it does look like a lot until after it is cooked. Also, use more whole wheat pasta.
For pasta sauce, you can have a creamy sauce and still stay away from cream. Combine a bit of olive oil and low-fat butter or margarine, and it will make a sauce taste creamy. You can also use fat-free cream cheese. It absorbs flavors beautifully. Sauté some chopped garlic and onion, then add a dab of the fat-free cream cheese and you have a very tasty cream cheese sauce.
Always think about what you are going to cook and how to improve on the traditional ways you do it. Salt can be a villain, and it is often used to flavor dishes when other, more healthful substitutes not only work as well, but actually improve the dish. Use herbs, either one you particularly like, or take several and chop them up together, especially rosemary, basil and sage. They bring in flavors that most people are trying to get by adding salt. And, of course, this is Italian, so never be without a nice supply of fresh garlic.
“When having Mexican food, I substitute corn tortillas for flour as often as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant if it has or will make baked tortillas for you instead of fried. If not, I put a handful of chips on my plate and have the waiter take the basket away.
“Fresh lime or lemon juice adds zing to any dish, and Greek yogurt is a great substitution for sour cream on tacos and nachos, and it’s a nice dressing for salads. It also goes great on baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. I use peppers, fresh or dried, as much as possible to provide flavor without adding salt. Fresh herbs are great, too. Fresh jicama adds great crunch to dishes without many calories.”
Make sure you always have olive oil, vinegar, especially balsamic, and fresh herbs on hand. These are the healthy basics for marinades, salad dressing and even a dip for fresh bread. Remember, Italians love to eat well and live long. This is how we do it!
The Virtue of Tolerance
Tolerance. What does it mean? According to Jill Carroll, Ph.D., who appears this month on “Living Smart With Patricia Gras” on HoustonPBS Channel 8, tolerance means you’re free to adhere to your own convictions, while accepting that others may have theirs.
Carroll is a lifetime scholar, author and student of religion and philosophy. She is an adjunct associate professor of religious studies at Rice University, and is also the founder of the Amazing Faiths Project, a national grassroots community initiative that fosters interpersonal relationships between people of all faiths and no faiths through dialogue.
“In my understanding, tolerance is about our capacity for difference, what kind of capacity internally, what kind of capability do we have to just be with people who are different from us in fundamental ways,” says Carroll.
In Carroll’s latest book, “Dialogue of Civilizations, Gulen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse,” she features the Sufi leader who promotes peaceful co-existence of people from different backgrounds.
“Tolerance is about how we deal with difference, whether it’s a different skin color, different background, different language, different ethnicity or different religion,” Carroll says.
Carroll discusses the tolerance companion virtues, which include charity, justice and prudence. She relates prudence, perhaps the most ambiguous of these virtues, to wisdom.
Carroll also raises the question of how we feel when we are around people who are different from us. She says that we as humans have to accept the fact that not all of us are the same. As the world changes and our country and its population evolve, we naturally push ourselves to be more tolerant. Carroll says that we are being pushed to be more tolerant now because our demographics are different than they once were.
“Living Smart with Patricia Gras” airs on Sundays at 3 p.m. and repeats Fridays at 10 p.m. on Houston PBS Channel 8. For more information, visit Houstonpbs.org/livingsmart or patriciagras.net. Patricia Gras also co-hosts “Latina Voices: Smart Talk,” which airs Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on HoustonPBS Channel 8.
—Patricia Gras and Cassady Lance
Photo: Gras (right) with Jill Carroll. [Photo By Anisworth Duvernay]