Author Archive | Becky Flansburg

No Need to Cry-Let’s Celebrate the Onion

Guest Post By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

onion recipe

The onion is a hardy vegetable that can be planted right now. It does well in cool climates and can be planted five to six weeks before the final spring frost date, which is early June here in the Northland. You can plant seeds or small starter bulbs.

Onions are the third largest fresh vegetable industry in the United States, according to the National Onion Association. Per person consumption is about 20 pounds per year, which translates to more than 450 semi-truck loads of onions used each day.

There are two main kinds of onions, fresh and dry. Fresh onions include green onions, also known as scallions, and sweet onions, such as Vidalia, that are availablein spring. Dry onions, also known as storage onions, can be yellow, white or red. Dry onions usually have a stronger, more pungent flavor.

The onion’s strong flavor and odor come from sulfuric compounds. These compounds cause our eyes to tear. To keep tearing to a minimum, refrigerate an onion for 30 minutes before cutting and leave the root end on as long as possible, which reduces the release of the sulfuric compounds.

Onions provide a little vitamin C, folate, calcium and potassium. Onions are high in flavonoids, the antioxidants that can neutralize harmful free radicals and suppress inflammation in our bodies. One flavonoid is quercetin, which has been linked to protection from lung cancer and asthma.

For some people, onions can increase the symptoms of gastric esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome. Onions, especially when eaten raw, can bring on symptoms of GERD or heartburn because the valve between the esophagus and stomach does not to close well, allowing the acid from the stomach to come up into the esophagus. Some people can tolerate cooked onions or onion powder better than raw onions.

For those with irritable bowel syndrome, onions are a source of fructans that need to be broken apart by an enzyme in the small intestine. If they don’t have enough of this enzyme, the fructans continue into the large intestine where they ferment and result in gas, bloating and/or diarrhea. Avoiding all types of onion is best. Try adding onion flavor by sautéing large pieces of onion in oil, removing them and then only using the flavored oil.  This doesn’t work with soup because fructans are soluble in water and remain in the soup.

Here are two recipes featuring onions.

Marinated onions are a great addition to sandwiches and salads. Try different onions, such Vadalia onions for something sweeter or red onions to add some color.

Marinated Onions

1 medium onion

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup rice vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Peel and thinly slice onion. Separate into rings. Combine remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well blended. Add onions. Shake to coat onions. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Nutrition facts

Serving:  About 6

Calories:  40

Total fat: 2 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Trans fat: 0 grams

Cholesterol:  0 milligrams

Sodium: 1 milligram

Potassium: 35 milligrams

Carbohydrate:  6 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

French onion soup is usually very high in saturated fat and sodium but this one is more heart-healthy.

The traditional soup uses toasted French bread but whole-grain bread makes it more nutritious.

 

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups thinly sliced sweet Vidalia onions

4 cups thinly sliced red onions

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ cup dry white wine

1½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

6 cups unsalted beef stock (140 milligrams sodium or less per cup)

½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

3 slices whole-grain bread, toasted and cubed

¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese

Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, pepper and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, broth and thyme, bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Preheat broiler. Place 8 ovenproof bowls on a pan. Add 1 cup of soup to each bowl. Add ½ slice of toast cut into cubes and then top with 2 tablespoons of Swiss cheese. Broil for 3 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

Nutrition facts

Servings: 6

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 195

Total fat: 7 grams

Saturated fat: 3 grams

Trans fat: 0 grams

Cholesterol: 13 milligrams

Sodium: 250 milligrams

Potassium: 150 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 21 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Protein: 10 grams

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

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No Energy Vampires Allowed

This is repost of a phenomenal article from motivator Jon Gordon. If you have a chance, sign up for his newsletter at www.jongordon.com. Good stuff! Jon also has an awesome “No Energy Vampires Allowed free downloadable poster here http://www.jongordon.com/documents/Poster-NoEnergyVampires.pdf

BEWARE OF ENERGY VAMPIRES

If you’re like most people, it has happened to you. You were talking to someone and before you knew it, they drained the life right out of you. You looked for fang marks on your neck but they were nowhere to be found. Then you realized Energy Vampires don’t have fangs. They have other means to suck your energy. Here are a few:

Negative comments -“Did I tell you how much I hate my life and work? Did I tell you what so and so did to me? Did I tell you why nothing goes right?”

Dream snatching – “You can’t do that. You’ll never succeed at that. Are you living in fantasy land? You should do this instead.”

Shrinking devices – “What is wrong with you? Can you do anything right? Why did we hire you anyway?”

Team Destruction – “We’ll never make it. It’s Joe’s fault. Everyone is clueless.”

In other situations the words may be less harsh but the result ends up being the same. Once an Energy Vampire starts sucking the air out of your tires it’s difficult to move. Don’t let this happen. Realize that life is like an Energy Bus and the people you surround yourself with on your ride through life have a huge impact on how far you will go.

energy bus

Create a positive and successful ride by following these simple rules for the road that will take you to the places you want to go:

Realize that some people are going to get on your bus and some people won’t. That’s OK. The people that get on were supposed to get on. The people that don’t were probably meant to get on another bus or perhaps they would have ruined your ride. Don’t take it personal. Just keep on driving with your vision focused on the road ahead. If you waste your energy thinking about the people who didn’t get on your bus that means you’ll have less fuel to pick up the people who want to get on.

During your ride, you will have many people get on and many get off. Don’t take it personal. The people who get off may have to get on another bus. Or perhaps they will make room for someone special who is supposed to get on. As you drive just keep picking up people along the way who want to get on your bus. Eventually you’ll have a filled -standing room only- bus with great energy.

Have fun and enjoy the ride! You only have one ride through life so you might as well enjoy it. The goal in life is to live young, have fun and arrive at your final destination as late as possible with a smile on your face.

When we fuel our life, work and team with positive energy we will surely enjoy the ride of our lives….and keep the Energy Vampires off the bus or even better, convert them to positive passengers along the way.

How do YOU deal with Energy Vampires??

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Tell Fat to Fork Off- Using A Pedometer To Get Your Walking In

Tell Fat to Fork Off

My health coach and nurse practitioner, Deb Stein from Essentia Health in Brainerd, advised that I walk 10,000 steps a day.

That is WAY harder than you think! Especially if your day is spent on your butt in front of a computer. BUT, it is do-able. The first thing I do every day is mall walk at the Westgate Mall. I know that, if I utilize every nook and cranny of that place, I can get in about 5,000 steps in around an hour (it’s about 980-ish steps per one full trip around the mall concourse).

Setting aside some time to go for a 45 minute walk isn’t always easy much less finding another hour to get in those 5,000 additional steps.

We all live busy lives and between family and work, fitting in a workout isn’t always possible. What if I told you that you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts? What if you could get the same health benefits by working in a little more activity here and there throughout your day? And what if there was a fun little gadget that helped you keep track of it and motivated you to move more?

There is and it’s called a pedometer. You can pick up an inexpensive model at your local super store or order it from Amazon. Or you can go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit for example. But before you head out to spend any money, check your smart phone. Many models have a pedometer built in. All you need to do is download a free app and you’re good to go.

Thepedometer will track how many steps you take on any given day. It will also track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked. In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day. And the good news is that it doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45 minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day. Maybe you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps. Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play. And just like that you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.

Give it a try. Put on a pedometer, or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day. From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal. For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.

Keeping track of your steps is very motivating. Looking at your pedometer and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal may be just the motivation you need to head out for that after dinner stroll.

NOTE: I use the iPhone app Pacer to track and log my steps. There’s a bunch of apps that can be used but honestly, I think a FitBitis something I need to look into.


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On the Days You Don’t Feel Like Trying-What Do You Do?

Adulting

There are days I just want to throw in the towel.

To not write.

To not do Social Media.

To not be perky and happy.

Then there are days when I wonder what the heck I was/am thinking/doing. Am I doing the right things? Am I heading in the right direction? Wouldn’t it be easier to just.not.give.a.crap?

Typically these blue moment, or periods of self-doubt, happen at night. When I’m tired, overwhelmed and pissed off. At no one in particular either.

By the next morning, I’m back to bursting with confidence, energy and sureness of purpose. I’m 100% certain that I’m doing the right thing.

It’s not easy.

No one ever said success would be. But what I can offer you is some tips and thoughts for those times when your spirits are low and the Stinkin Thinkin is threatening to bring you to your knees.

1. Go to bed! Wouldn’t that be the obvious choice? It’s nighttime and my body/brain says DONE! But, I think the key is to, as Dr Dillon Remmick mentioned during Happy Healthy YOU, go to bed in the right frame of mind. Don’t lay your head on the pillow running the “Worry List” through your brain. Call it a night by first thinking of four things you are grateful for. That’s it. Hit the rack with the Gratitude Attitude. Thanks Dr Dillon.

2. This is a great quote from motivator Sandy K. Sometimes in the muck of stuck, I forget that I’ve gained some ground. Instead of thawackin myself in the head about what I didn’t do, I need to review what I have accomplished and celebrate my successes. No matter how small. I have a “Victory List” on the wall of my home office. This 11×17 sheet of paper lists all the things I done/seen, experienced/accomplished. Things that give me the warm fuzzies about ME.

3. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The path I’ve chosen is a journey, not a destination. I’m a female. I want it all, and I want it in five minutes or less. Reality is, I’m also a farmer. Planting seeds and waiting for them to sprout and grow. And that takes time.

4. Take back control, a.k.a tell people to quit “shoulding” on me. Sometimes I feel stuck because I feel trapped. Surrounded by “shoulds” and “have tos.” Trust me, I am fully aware it would be easier to reach my goals on the well-traveled path. But everything I want to accomplish is more like hacking through the jungle. It’s exhausting. But I also wouldn’t do it any other way.

Here’s another spot-on quote from Sandy K; In this case, it helps me to remember that I have choices. I can quit if I want to. Or I can change what I’m doing or how I’m doing it or where I’m doing it or when or with whom. This is MY life. MY reality. And I create it, dammit.

5. Time moves forward. It helps me to remember the quote my Gramma always used about unpleasant things; “This too shall pass.” And it always does. I know one thing for certain: whatever crabbies or self doubts I’m feeling today? They won’t last.

6. Get a good support crew. As my bestie Shannon always says “run with the motors and leave the anchors behind!” Make your support system people who build you UP, not tear you down. It’s very hard to strive for your dreams when people around you are telling you how it can’t be done. Pick your Circle of Influence, and guard them like life depends on it.

It’s a Journey. Take a small step forward. Then repeat.

What do YOU do when worry and self-doubt is threatening to derail you?

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