March is National Nutrition Month

Fat 2 Fit: Change your eating perspective, and your proportions.

Instead of meat and potatoes with a side of veggies, try meals the other way around: Make veggies and grains more prominent and animal protein less so.

Earlier in our country’s history, when many Americans engaged in farm work or other demanding physical labor, they sat down to meals with plates filled with heaping portions of meat and potatoes. A cooked vegetable, maybe greens or corn, was also served.

Today, this entrenched eating pattern is making us fat and may be increasing our risk of cancer. To live more healthfully, we need to increase our intake of vegetables and grains and reduce our consumption of animal fats. With a little imagination, we can eat better-tasting food even as we eat more healthfully.

Here are three ideas from the American Institute for Cancer Research for shifting to healthier portions. These ideas and wonderful recipes can be found in the organization’s new cookbook, “The New American Plate Cookbook” (University of California Press, 2005).

Get creative with your vegetable dishes and consume them first. Use exotic-spice blends, such as Asian curries, to enhance flavors.

Prepare two contrasting vegetables dishes for every meal. For example, steamed green broccoli and white cauliflower provide visual contrast and nutritional benefits. Or try steamed green kale and white beans drizzled with a bit of olive oil.

Replace the meat-and-potatoes meal plan with one-pot meals where meat is an incidental ingredient. Here’s one idea: Saute brown rice in a bit of olive oil with spices and onions. Then add water or broth and cook in a large pot. About 10 minutes before the grains are done, add chopped vegetables of your choice. If you wish to include protein, add a cup or so of chopped cooked chicken or, for color contrast, two to three small pieces of salmon. After a short time, this new way of cooking can be the norm for you, your family, and your guests. They will never miss the heavier meat-and-potato fare. They will, however, appreciate your thoughtfulness in preparing nutritious, delicious — but not fattening — meals.

Before long, you’ll be sharing your new recipes with family and friends, encouraging them to adopt healthier cooking habits as well. Here’s to good eating and to even better health!

Health series

Healthy living with chronic diseases. Healthier living Colorado is a chronic disease self-management program developed at Stanford University. This program is designed to help with the challenges that face anyone living with an ongoing health condition such as a heart condition, lung condition, diabetes or arthritis.

Chronic conditions include many aliments and diseases that cannot be cured or never completely go away. Participants in classes have ranged in age from 40 to 89 and grappled with issues such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, heart problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and back pain. Other examples of chronic illnesses include Lupus, Crohn’s disease, long-term depression, obesity and phobias.

This course series will teach you skills that can help you cope with fatigue, frustration, pain and stress. A key component of the class is setting goals and following through with those goals with an action plan. This series is also encouraged for family, friends or caregivers. The series can help open lines of communication for understanding what is wrong with the person living with the disease and also understanding that the person who is trying to make it OK for you is having difficulties too.

Everyday presents new challenges for people with chronic illnesses and their caregivers. Sometimes you don’t think the person trying to make things OK for you is having difficulties too. This series can also help caregivers have the opportunity to share with others in their position about ways to cope with their own chronic health issues, which likely are present if not as severe as their partners. Some days are better than others, but having the tools to proactively manage ones health is a good start to living better.

This six-week series will run March 13-April 17 on Fridays from 12:45.-3:15 p.m. The registration fee is $20, which is refundable upon completion of the course. You may register at The Silver Foxes Den or call 264-2167 for more information. The class limit is 12 so hurry and sign up today. Last day to sign up is March 11.

Tai Chi for Arthritis. Tai Chi from the Arthritis Foundation is a high-value program designed to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis. The classes can be done sitting in a chair if that is best for the individual. The classes will improve flexibility, increase muscle strength, and cardio respiratory fitness and stamina. As pain decreases, relaxation improves, resulting in uplifted mood.

Studies show the effects of Tai Chi also improve balance and help prevent falls. Each class will begin with very gentle warm up and cool down Sun style Tai Chi exercises. The class will be led by Kay Wilson, Tai Chi instructor certified by Dr. Paul Lam Program which is supported by the Arthritis Foundation. The eight-week series begins Friday, March 6, and goes through April 24; from 9:30.-10:30 a.m. each session. Class size is limited, so sign up early. Pre-registration required. Last day to sign up is March 4.

Weekly activities at The Den

Friday, March 6 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Internet mapping system (IMS) demonstration.

Monday, March 9 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10 — Chair massage, 10- 11:45 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; follow-up with Richard Reed on Positive thinking, 12:30, Meditation for Healing, 1 p.m.; last day to sign up for gardening.

Wednesday, March 11 — Dance for Health, 10 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.; 4 Corners Sleep Center Disorders presentation, 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 12 — Administrative day.

Friday, March 13 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Tai Chi for Arthritis, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Healthier Living series begins, 12:45-3:15 p.m.; ASI board meeting, 1 p.m.

Monthly calendar

Alzheimer’s Support Group. Elaine Stumpo, regional director for SW Alzheimer’s Association, hosts this monthly gathering for individuals who are supporting loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s. Learn how to be supportive of someone with memory loss. The meeting takes place in the Silver Foxes Den the last Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m.

ASI board meeting. Archuleta Seniors, Inc. meets the second Friday of every month at 1 p.m. This board also serves as the Local Council on Aging and supports many of the activities at The Den. In addition to their support of The Den, they are also a non-profit organization providing support to seniors who may need additional financial support in areas such as medical needs. Please see their membership packet available at The Den for further information.

Meals on Wheels

Archuleta County Senior Services is now offering frozen meals for once-a-week delivery to reach those who are more rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, March 6 — Swiss steak with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, creamy coleslaw, grapes, dinner roll.

Monday, March 9 — Crunchy baked fish, whipped potatoes, mixed veggies, pineapple mandarin compote, whole wheat bread.

Tuesday, March 10 — Smothered chicken, stuffing, broccoli and cauliflower, applesauce-waldorf salad, roll.

Wednesday, March 11 — Sloppy joe with bun, scalloped potatoes, peas and carrots, peaches.

Thursday, March 12 — Administrative day.

Friday, March 13 — Barbecue beef brisket, ranch style beans, carri fruit salad, seasonal fruit, bread.