Category Archives: New York State

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Dancing Your Way to a Healthy Body

There are a lot of people who exercise to make themselves fit and healthy.  They go to gyms, do treadmills, jog, bike, swim, and many more.  The problem with these exercises is that they become very monotonous, especially when you do them several times a week.  The truth is there are other exercises where you can do cardio without actually being bored doing it – dancing.  Well, it may sound funny at first but dancing can actually be a strenuous activity which is perfect for those who are looking for a challenging and very exciting form of exercise.  The best part of it all is that you not only learn new moves, but that you do not keep on repeating the same steps over and over wherein the overall exercise is pure and simple repetition of itself.

Do not let dancing fool you because even if you think you are fit from all that jogging and running, try doing some fast and rigorous dance routine and you will be sweating bullets in under an hour.  Or you can try some simple graceful moves that can test the overall flexibility of your joints and ligaments.

If you try to look at people who do dancing for a living, you will notice just how lean their physiques are yet strong and capable enough to lift their dance partners.  In short, dancing can actually help you build a strong and healthy body.  Here are just some of the few benefits of dancing:

Cardio – dancing is all about constant movement and this can help you give your cardio some workout.  Once you become more skilled and develop better stamina for dancing, your endurance also increases which means you can practice doing certain dance moves for hours on end.  In essence, this not only gives you a cardio workout, but it also develops your stamina and endurance.

Strength – aside from cardio, dancing also has some elements which helps make you stronger.  For example, when you do dips and certain weight bearing towards your legs, hips and thighs, you inevitably build your base muscles that help strengthen your balance.  Additionally, the rhythmic movements with different sway patterns help in developing your center of gravity.

Weight Loss – dancing is not as easy as it looks and it can wear down your muscles easily and can make you sweat heavily, especially when you are not used to moving your whole body or nearly all your muscles together.  Through dance movements, you burn a lot of calories which can certainly make anyone lose weight.  This is the very reason why dancers are usually slim.

Flexibility – part of dancing is bending, twisting, and moving your body at angles you do not usually do.  Such movements actually help you in developing your flexibility.  Additionally, doing some stretching prior to dancing is also necessary in order to avoid any injuries caused by sprains or torn ligaments.  Dancing is very tough on muscles, tendons, and ligaments if you do it without practice and stretching.  Additionally, practicing dancing more and more can help you to become more flexible.

Do I Knead a Bread Machine?

Bread.

The staple of life.

Now that I’ve gotten used to making my own fresh vegetable juice, I’m thinking of bread. I recall reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few months ago and coming across a passage by the author’s husband (Steven Hopp) who makes a fresh loaf practically everyday.

He says, “I know you’ve got one around somewhere: maybe in the closet. Or on the kitchen counter, so dusty nobody remembers it’s there. A bread machine.”

A bread machine? Nope, don’t have one in the closet or on the counter or anywhere. I’m lucky if I can find a spatula in our kitchen. During a party this spring, I was talking with the host’s mother. She’s in her late 80s and makes her own bread. I told her I wanted to learn so I could make homemade pizza dough, whole wheat, pumpernickel, etc.

“But I don’t have a bread machine,” I said.

She practically fell out of her chair laughing. I guess if you really know how to make bread the old fashioned way, you knead the dough. By hand. For a long time.

“You have to feel the dough to make sure it’s right,” she said.

Call me crazy, but kneading dough by hand actually sounds fun. I think I’ll try it (although I have no idea what it’s supposed to “feel” like, so I’ll have to wing that part). In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out at garage sales for someone else’s barely-used, dusty bread machine.

Wasa with Feta, Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onion

Ingredients

1 tablespoon red onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
2 leaves fresh basil
¼ cup cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
2 pieces WASA Fiber Rye Crispbread (may substitute other WASA Crispbread flavors)

Directions

Place tomatoes on cracker.
Sprinkle with feta cheese. Top with onion and basil and serve.

Tip: substitute fresh mozzarella or goat cheese for feta cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 54
Total Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 7 mg
Sodium 141 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 3 g
Calcium 6% of daily value

Wasa with Baked Brie, Brown Sugar and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 wheel (8 ounces) brie cheese
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 package WASA Sourdough Rye Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º
Place brie on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Top with brown sugar and walnuts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brie is warm and melted inside.
Remove from oven, place on serving tray surrounded with crispbread and serve immediately.

TIP: Store leftover cheese in refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

Prep time: 35 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 79
Total Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 12 mg
Sodium 125 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 4 g
Calcium 4% of daily value

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