Wellness Tip ~ Loving Sunshine Vitamin D

“New research says that vitamin D may play a crucial role in weight loss by controlling appetite and helping fat cells become more metabolically active,” Dr. Oz says. The sunshine vitamin also helps your body better absorb bone-boosting calcium, improves immunity, reduces inflammation, and may even protect against some forms of cancer. . . . The best sources [of vitamin D] are salmon, tuna, and mackerel (especially the flesh),” Dr. Oz says, adding that “fish liver oils, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks also contain small amounts.” And, don’t forget the most convenient source of all: sunlight. “Vitamin D is actually produced in your body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike your skin; the UV rays trigger synthesis of vitamin D, which then gets converted in your liver into its active form.”

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Longevity Tip

Consume More Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The long-chain omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are as close to a fountain of youth the world has to offer. . . . In a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, . . . individuals with the highest levels of EPA and DHA in their blood had the lowest rates of heart disease and the slowest rates of chromosomal aging. To reap the benefits, munch on fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel and sardines. Not a seafood fan? Take a fish oil supplement.

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How About Pizza Delivery?

“What is that smell, Ray!”

“Salmon. Dr. Oz said Salmon is good for my heart.”

“The smell is killing me. Do you think something that smells so bad can be good for you? Do you have a spray? A tub of baking soda? Hairspray? I’m gagging.”

“Do you have to be so dramatic, P? BTW, what does P stand for?”

“I changed it to B because B rhymes with free. That’s me, a free spirit. You can’t tie me down, Ray.”

“You are a character, not a free spirit.”

“You weren’t listening, Ray. I know it’s a challenge for your species, but at least try. B or P, and BTW, they both rhyme with free. Are you through? Toss the salmon, we’re eating out. I want to go a place where the wine is served in a real wine glass, not your typical places where they pour it in a styrofoam cup.”

“What’s wrong with eating on picnic tables? They bring the food on butcher block paper.”

“Do you want me to call Bobby Flay or is it Filet? On the QT, Ray, Dr. Oz does not eat salmon.”

“How do you know what Dr. Oz eats or doesn’t eat? Why am I interested in what Dr. Oz eats? Why do I think you know the answer?”

“Slow down Paco, one question at a time, por favor. I’ve been practicing my Spanish in case you didn’t notice. It wouldn’t hurt you to learn a second language. You’re having enough problems with your first language, may as well dump it. Pronto.”

“I know some Spanish. Here’s one for you, adios.”

“Oh cute, very cute. I don’t get paid for all the work I’m doing to help you with your blog, counsel you, act as your emotional anchor, sounding board, confidant.”

“Please, spare me. As far as going out, I’m watching my budget. How about a pizza delivery.”

“And, I have to drink the wine you use for cooking? The four ninety – five when it’s not on sale? No wonder you stay thin. You can’t stand your own cooking and you’re too cheap to eat at a good place.”

“Do you have a better suggestion?”

“Score one for you, Ray. You actually asked me my opinion.”

“It was a slip of tongue.”

“Thought as much. You’re the writer. Write off the tab. Get a free expensive bottle of wine. Write yourself a nice polished pair of shoes, no boots and jeans kind of place.”

“In case you forgot, we’re in South Texas. San Antonio. It’s cowboy country. I think I’ll wear my boots, jeans, and cowboy hat.”

“I know you try to stay in shape, but you forgot to mention a shirt. Most Texas places say, ‘No shirt no service.”

“And a shirt. Why do I find conversations with you tiring?”

“Because I’m smarter than you.”

“That hurt.”

“Truth always does, Ray. Now where we going? How about Chez Flor?”

“How about, El Taco Grande, the food truck down by the Alamo?”

Life is better when we don’t take everything too seriously; when we can enjoy good conversation with a friend, and to see the humor in the life’s mundane things.

 

Cheap & Healthy Eats

I’m not cheap. I’m frugal. My dad said frugal was just a different word for being cheap. I tried to reason with him when I was older. He had a canned response, “Cheap, cheap, cheap.” I thought he was trying to imitate a canary. I never dared say that. So, here’s the story. I go to Whole Foods. I’ll get dinner there. It’s Whole Foods. They must cook healthily. At least, that’s what they want everyone to think. It looks healthy. I’ve had some of their food bar products and wraps. I wonder where Zagat rates it.

I drive the five miles to WF (short for Whole Foods not other Internet misspeak). I brimming with confidence. I walk in. I check out the grilled salmon. There must be some mistake. Surely, the piece of salmon I holding in my hand doesn’t cost more than the three frozen pieces I have in the freezer. I check another. Then, another. It’s the former researcher in me, I need enough data points to be certain. What a waste of a valuable twenty seconds I’ll neve have again.

I’m not discouraged. I go to the food bar. I walk around like I’m from the city health department. There is nothing that appeals to me. I should say, nothing that appeals to my wallet. I decide to head home and make a healthy, meal that will cost me one-third the price. I’m being frugal. I hear my dad hollering from heaven, “Cheap, cheap, cheap.”

How hard is it to make a salad? On a scale from one to ten. I give it a 3.5. The point five is cutting and scooping out the avocado. I like big salads. I use ready to eat, triple washed baby spinach and baby kale. I grab a handful and place it in a bowl. I rinse off of some cherry tomatoes and spread them around the salad for the photo. I use my slicer device and make nice even slices of the cucumber. I add almonds (I can count to ten). I place the two halves of the avocado on top of the salad. I pour a bit of Balsamic vinegar and EVOO around. Add and few sprinkles of feta and slip this baby into the fridge until I’m ready to eat.

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Keep an eye out and I’ll tell how I made my salmon to go with this great salad. Hey, it’s a teaser, just like they do on the six o’clock news.

Ray’s Recipe for One: The Dark Secrets of the Salmon Slider

A tabloid headline. Dark secrets. Maybe they’ll publish my blog at the grocery checkout next to the other tabloids. Did you hear broccoli is splitting with red kale? Broccoli has now taken up with asparagus. Go figure. My prediction it won’t last. Besides, asparagus is too good for him (switch the gender thing around if you prefer). It doesn’t matter, it’s not a dream match.

Enough of the tabloid news. I don’t want the paparazzi hanging around my front door. The HOA has strict rules against that kind of behavior.  Then again, my HOA has strict rules against everything.

Pop quiz: What’s the key ingredient for a salmon slider?

Did I hear you say salmon? You did your homework last night. Go to the front of the class. I use salmon with an attitude. That’s right, salmon needs an attitude. How do you pick salmon with an attitude?  It’s free spirited salmon. It’s wild salmon. I like wild salmon from Alaska. When I get my wild, Alaskan salmon, I can almost hear it say, “I’m going to give you a healthy heart. That’s my job.”

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If you’re wondering what the yellow stuff is on the plate with the salmon, it’s EVOO. I put my salmon filet in EVOO and make it double, not make that triple healthy. My heart is doing backflips and I feel like hitting the balance beam after I do my floor exercises. Score me a perfect 10, por favor.

I live in San Antonio. Guacamole goes with everything. I even rub it under my arms when I go out. Only kidding, I don’t want the Guac Squad knocking at the door. How hard is it to make Guac (Guac is guacamole’s nickname). It’s not. The hardest thing is picking the right avocado, that’s a crap shoot. Pick firm, but not too firm (lot of help, right? NOT). Mash up the avocado, add a bit of lemon juice. I add crushed red pepper and it’s ready. Be creative.

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Here’s the deal with a salmon slider. First, onions, a poblano, toss in a jalapeno and a bit of rosemary all in my already heated on high pan. The EVOO is sizzling, BAM, the mix starts sizzling right away. I keep an eye on it. Make that two eyes on it. I have Spotify playing in the background. George Strait is trying to make it to Amarillo by morning.

When the veggies are about ninety percent done, I turn the heat down to medium and add the salmon. I put the cover on the pan, check Twitter, post a photo to Instagram, and check my text messages. Time to flip the salmon, cover the done side with the veggies. Five minutes later, it’s ready for plating.

Man oh man, it doesn’t get any better. You’re going to love it. Your heart will too.