Wellchat Episode XIX: Intuitive Eating

Episode 19: Cristin Stokes chats with Montana Dietetic Intern Steph Tarnacki about Intuitive Eating: an alternative to constant dieting, and a healthy practice for all of us.

 

Here are some additional resources to learn more about the practice of Intuitive Eating:

The Montana Moves & Meals Wellchat is available on Itunes podcasts! Subscribe and take us with you for a walk, run, or drive!

The Incredible Edible Eggplant

MUS Wellness again has the honor of hosting a dietetic intern for two weeks from the Montana Dietetic Internship program. This year’s intern is Steph Tarnacki. Steph earned her Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado, and aspires to work as a dietitian in the public school system to improve the National School Lunch Program, provide nutrition education, and establish more Farm to School Programs. We had a reader request for eggplant recipes following our recent post about zucchini, so on day one with us, I asked Steph to write about her favorite ways to prepare eggplant, and she happily obliged. Please welcome Steph Tarnacki as our guest blog writer:

Late August in Montana – the sun shines bright against a foreshadowing chill in the air, the critters bustle and scavenge for food in preparation of the long winter to come, and the gardens burst with deep purple eggplants!   

Eggplants, a member of the nightshade family, are known for their slightly bitter taste, and spongy texture. Their roots trace back to Asia, where you can find over 13 varieties! Rich in the antioxidant nasunin, eggplants help protect against harmful free radicals and, most importantly, protect the fats in brain cell membranes. Talk about some delicious brain food! Nasunin also reduces inflammation, helps our body remove toxic waste, and may help stave off cancer, heart disease and arthritis.1, 2

Eggplants are low in calories, high in fiber and also pack a punch in the vitamin department – rich in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin K.

So, how can you incorporate more eggplants into your life? Here are a few of my favorite recipes!

BAKED EGGPLANT PARMESAN

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggplant sliced 1/4″ thick (you’ll need 12 slices)
  • Salt
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 (8 ounce) box Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sprinkle some salt on both sides of each slice of eggplant. Layer the slices in a  colander and place the colander in your sink. Place a heavy dish or pan over the top to press them down. Allow to sweat for 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse well with cold water to remove salt and blot dry with paper towels
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet generously with cooking spray. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs, pressing crumbs down with fingers if needed to cover evenly. Place in a single layer on oiled baking sheet and lightly spray tops of breaded eggplant with cooking spray.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes then carefully flip each slice and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  4. In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread just enough marinara to cover bottom of dish. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Cover each slice with a spoon full of marinara, a slice or two of mozzarella, and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat with one more layer. Pour any leftover marinara and around edges of eggplant slices and top with any cheese that is left. Sprinkle basil on top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Recipe by: Valerie’s Kitchen

BABA GANOUSH

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil (for grill and  drizzling)
  • 2 pounds Italian eggplants (4 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ½ garlic clove, finely grated   
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sumac, za’atar, crushed red pepper flakes, or Aleppo pepper; grilled flatbreads or pita bread (for serving)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grate. Grill eggplant, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and flesh is fork-tender, 25–35 minutes. (Alternatively, you can tuck vegetables into coals left over from grilling something else. Wait until charcoal is completely covered with ash and no black spots remain. Shake grill to knock excess ash off coal, then rake them around and pile them up around vegetables.) Let cool slightly.
  • Halve eggplant, scoop flesh into a colander set over a bowl, and let drain at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour; discard liquid.
  • Pulse eggplant along with lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle baba ghanoush with oil and top as desired. Serve with flatbreads or pita bread.

Recipe by NYT Cooking

baba-ganoush-1271630_1280
Baba Ganoush

RATATOUILLE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to another plate and set aside.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the pain. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
  • Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe by: Jenn Segal

And a few other recipe links that look tasty:

Caponata

Penne with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Mozzarella

Hoisin Glazed Eggplant

Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Chickpea Wraps

Hopefully these recipes can help you add some eggplant to your life! Please share more of your favorite eggplant recipes!

Steph

Sources:

  1. https://draxe.com/eggplant-nutrition/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300483X0000202X

Wellchat Episode XVIII: The Happy Place

Episode 18: Neal and Cristin share their favorite “Happy Place” submissions in the current MUS Wellness “Share Your Happy Place” challenge, plus the latest MUS Wellness news as we head into the fall semester.

The Montana Moves & Meals Wellchat is available on Itunes podcasts! Subscribe and take us with you for a walk, run, or drive!

 

New Semester=New Fitness Opportunities

The summer flew by quickly, as it always does in Montana, and many of us are settling in, anticipating the arrival of students, and trying to get organized and ready to launch into the new fall semester.

For those of us who work in education, have kids returning to school, or both, fall has a New Year’s-like feel, as we get back into set routines, whether they are familiar or fresh.

And much like New Year’s, if you’re feeling like you need a little freshness in your exercise routine, this time of year often offers a great opportunity to try out new things. One of the best ways to branch out and get fit, especially if you need a little coaching, is to try out a new group fitness class or two.

I wanted to highlight some of the opportunities happening next week on a few of our largest MUS campuses.

  • The Hosaeus Fitness Center at MSU Bozeman gets their fall GX schedule underway Monday, August 27th. MSU Faculty/Staff can attend GX classes at no extra charge, as they are a part of your Fitness Center membership.
    • Check out the Hosaeus Fitness Center Fall schedule here.
  • UM Campus Recreation is also is hosting a Free week August 27-31, which includes all group fitness classes, body composition measures, and fitness consultations with a personal trainer. What a great opportunity!
  • The Montana Tech Wellness Champions wrote a Wellness Grant to bring Wellness classes to Tech, and those classes will be restarting on Monday, August 27th.
    • Yoga is offered on Mondays, and Pilates on Wednesdays and Fridays. Both classes are in the HRER Dance Studio from 12-1pm.
  • Great Falls College recently made some improvements to their Wellness Room, so if you’re a GFC-MSU employee, be sure to check that out!

If you belong to a private gym or fitness club, chances are they are running some special classes this time of year as well–so be on the lookout!

Be sure to take advantage of new opportunities for health and wellness as we begin this new semester together!

Be Well,

Neal

free-fitness-week

free fitness MSU

2018-08-24_09h36_07

Oh Zucchini!

It’s mid-August — the days of hot temperatures, smoky skies, the approach of fall semester, and…loads of zucchini. Sadly, the zucchini plants in my garden didn’t fare so well this year, but I’m lucky to have generous in-laws who recently brought over a bag of zucchini and summer squash for my family, and then I was back in the familiar position of trying to figure out what to do with it all!

I remembered that years ago we asked MUS plan members to share a favorite recipe with us. We must have presented this challenge in late summer, because we received a ton of zucchini recipes! So, if you’re like me these days and trying to use up lots of zucchini, here are a few ways, thanks to your coworkers, to enjoy your summer bounty:

Chicken Zucchini Boats  

Recipe by Cindy Boies

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 4 roma tomoatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, deseed.
  3. Fill a baking dish with about ¾ inch of water. Bake in water bath until tender but not mushy. Approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Pour out water.
  4. Turn zucchini flesh side up in baking pan. Carve out additional trough in zucchini.
  5. Layer the following in the zucchini boat, amounts will depend on the size of the zucchini: Cooked chicken (chopped into small to medium size pieces),tomatoes (deseeded and diced), and avocado (diced)
  6. Drizzle desired amount of green enchilada sauce over zucchini filling.
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over filling.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is brown, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Zucchini Parmesan with Tomato Sauce

Recipe submitted by Annette Galioto

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 zucchini, peeled, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute zucchini until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Season zucchini with oregano and basil.
  3. Add tomato sauce; cook and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over zucchini mixture.

Zucchini Quiche

Recipe submitted by Anita Brown

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 cup bisquick
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all together in bowl.  Pour in large buttered pie dish & bake at 350 for 30-45 min until it starts to brown.

Zucchini Burgers

Recipe submitted by Jill Seigmund

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey or lean beef
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, or other burger seasoning

Directions:

  1. Mix the ground meat with the shredded zucchini.  
  2. Shape into five hamburger patties and season with salt and pepper or Mrs. Dash.  
  3. Grill and serve as you would a regular hamburger.

Other ideas:

  • Make zucchini noodles, or “zoodles”, with a spiralizer
  • Shred with a cheese grater, and freeze in 1 or 2 cup labeled portions to use in baked goods (this is especially good to do with very large zucchinis)
  • Serve sliced & raw with a veggie dip or hummus
  • Use as pizza or salad toppings
  • Make zucchini “butter”

Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite way to enjoy zucchini!

Happy Eating!

Cristin

 

 

Spicy Planks (Video)

This one is for all of you participating in our current “Get to the Core” challenge as part of the MUS Wellness Incentive Program. If you’ve been cranking out those planks and increasing your core strength over the past few weeks, our latest Montana Moves video gives you some ideas about how to kick it up to the next level of fitness and fun. Happy Friday! Enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/284390661

 

MUS Wellness Champions Needed!

Can you relate to any of the following statements?

“I care about the health & happiness of my coworkers.”

“I have an idea for a wellness activity that we should offer on our campus.”

“I loved participating in the Take Control program, and I wish more of my colleagues knew about it!”

If one or more of the above statements sounds like something you would say, we need you! We are currently recruiting Wellness Champions on all of our MUS campuses for the 2018/2019 year.

New Wellness Champion application

Returning Wellness Champion application

Wellness Champions are enthusiastic supporters of health & well-being in the workplace, regardless of where they are personally on the path towards optimal well-being. In other words, to be a Wellness Champion for MUS, you don’t need to be the perfect picture of health; you just need to be someone who cares about your colleagues and wants them to lead the highest quality of life possible!

Formal “duties” of a Wellness Champion include:

  • Keeping up to date with current Wellness program offerings.
  • Reminding your coworkers of the opportunities offered through Wellness, and promoting participation. As much as your MUS Wellness Team tries to get the message out about the programs we have available, inevitably, emails are overlooked, blog posts go unread, posters go unseen. Word of mouth remains one of our most powerful tools of communication! We cannot tell you how many times someone asks about the Take Control lifestyle management program because a coworker mentioned something about it.
  • Assisting in the implementation and coordination of wellness initiatives as able. Examples may include reserving a space for a Wellness-related activity, volunteering at an information table, or suggesting topics of interest. Wellness initiatives vary from campus to campus, and again, your level of involvement will depend on what your schedule allows. Some campuses have a group of Wellness Champions who meet on a regular basis and plan activities.
  • Representing coworkers by collecting ideas and feedback about the program. Although we consider all feedback that we receive from MUS plan members, we specifically solicit opinions from our Wellness Champions on occasion.
  • Being respectful of others’ privacy and compliant with confidentiality standards.

Before you dismiss the idea of becoming a Wellness Champion because you feel swamped already with job responsibilities, keep in mind that serving effectively as a WellChamp can mean as little as reminding your coworkers that a WellCheck is coming up, and encouraging a new employee in your office to participate in the MUS Wellness Incentive Program. Or, it can mean leading a campus walking group, or organizing a monthly social event, or writing a brief grant proposal to gain funding for a campus-specific program. The beauty of serving as a Wellness Champion is that you can define what being a Wellness Champion looks like to you, and we are here to support your efforts!

As a Wellness Champion, you will receive:

  • Bi-monthly email newsletters from MUS Wellness
  • Special swag item for MUS WellChamps only!
  • Recognition as a Wellness Champion
  • Opportunity to offer feedback about the Wellness Program

A person’s work environment can have a tremendous impact on overall health & well-being. Becoming a MUS Wellness Champion gives you the opportunity to make a real difference in your workplace, and have a positive impact on your coworkers. Sign up to be a 2018/2019 MUS WellChamp today!

New Wellness Champion application

Returning Wellness Champion application

Wellchat Episode XVII: The Commuter Episode

Episode 17: After catching up since the previous Wellchat, Neal and Cristin share several interviews from MSU Bike to Work Day in June, and discuss how commuters of all types can arrive at work safe and happy. Recorded 7/10/18

The Montana Moves & Meals Wellchat is available on Itunes podcasts! Subscribe and take us with you for a walk, run, or drive!

Creating a Positive Work Environment

The Wellness team’s office is on the 3rd floor of Reid Hall on the MSU Bozeman campus. Our office gets blistering hot in the summer and frigid in the winter, but is otherwise a great space. We have big windows that let in plenty of natural light, and these days, we have a perfect view of the owls that hang out during the day under the eves of neighboring Traphagen Hall.

We are also surrounded by really wonderful office neighbors, most of whom do nutrition and health-related work. I’ve known many of our 3rd-floor office-mates for years and have enjoyed getting to know them, and hearing about the work that they do. And yet, I will admit that all too often, I get into work-mode, close the door to keep out the sound of classes during the school year or construction during the summer, and only wave a brief hello when passing in the hallway.

So it was a pleasant opportunity this week when a few new employees on the 3rd floor of Reid arranged a “Meet and Treat” event. They provided fruit and coffee cake, and we spent some time getting to know one another or catching up. Despite it seeming a million degrees in the conference room, and having to use our plates as fans in an attempt to cool off, everyone stuck around for longer than I expected. I heard several people ask why we don’t do something like this more often, and at the end of the event, plans were tentatively made for another similar get-together (maybe outside in the shade next time!)

Coincidentally, I had spent time just that morning reading through responses to our latest One-Question Survey we recently asked through our Incentive Program, “What is one specific thing you could do to foster a more positive work culture or environment?” and one of the top responses was a variation of this: Interact more with my colleagues. Answers like these:

  • Consistently say good morning to co-workers every day!
  • Get to know new additions to the department
  • Encourage conversation
  • Make a visit to a different co-worker daily and say hi.
  • Ask the “How are you?” question in a way that gets beyond the reflexive “Fine” answer.
  • Ask two follow-up questions about how my colleagues are doing before sharing my own information.
  • Say hi to everyone I meet in the halls instead of keeping my head down.

No one is advocating here that we spend our time at work only socializing. Of course there’s work that needs to be done. We don’t even need to do formal get-togethers like the one that Reid Hall hosted this week, although many of you did say that more social functions, shared lunches, or team meetings would be helpful. But so many of you commented on what a difference it would make in creating a more positive work culture if we took just a moment to talk to coworkers, ask how they’re doing, greet others in our office, or simply smile.

Other top responses were similar, in that nearly all of the suggestions are (relatively) easy to do, require very little time, money, or effort, and yet can make an incredible difference in overall work culture. Here’s what you said:

  • Communicate. This includes actually listening to what others are saying. Listen to understand, instead of listening just to respond. Open communication. Don’t make assumptions.
  • Stop gossiping.
  • Complain less. Look for solutions instead of complaining. Help shut down complaining when it starts.
  • Acknowledge others’ jobs well done. Recognize and draw attention to specific achievements. Let coworkers know their work really DOES matter, more often. Show gratitude.
  • Be kind.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Look for the positive in every situation. When a challenge comes up, be the light that mentions what benefit the adversity will play for our department.

I think we can all agree that it’s much more pleasurable to work in an office where communication is open and encouraged, gossip is nonexistent, a positive attitude is the norm, hard work is recognized, and people are kind to one another. Doesn’t that sound nice? How about we collectively agree to work towards this? Even if your boss or supervisor doesn’t do much to foster a positive work environment, each individual’s attitude and actions makes a difference. A few extra minutes to actively listen, or to encourage a coworker, or to ask how someone is really doing can make work a happier, healthier place for everyone. 

I purposefully left one top response off the list above, but if all else fails, you can do what many of you also suggested and…bring donuts! (Which, ok, I get it, but as Nutrition Specialist for the MUS Wellness Program, may I kindly suggest bringing in healthy treats instead?! People like fresh fruit too!)

Be Well!

Cristin

The Dreaded DOMS

Your Exercise Specialist is human.

Like many of my fellow Montanans, I was beginning to feel like I was living somewhere more like Seattle or Portland, after weeks upon weeks of rain and gloom. To make matters worse, it seemed the cycles of rainy stationary fronts would always arrive right around the beginning of the weekend and then park it.

So finally, on a mid-June weekend, when my phone’s weather app called for clearing skies on a Sunday afternoon, I bolted toward the Bridgers for some alpine hiking. I ended up going to one of my favorite trails, Middle Cottonwood, and on up to the summit of Saddle Peak. I did a bit of mixed hiking and trail running on the way up, and after a delicious PB&J on the summit, decided that I would run down.

It was a fun, lovely run through wildflower meadows and riparian forest, but I knew with a couple of miles to go my legs were going to be smoked. A couple of days afterward, I was barely getting down stairs, and my quads remained angry with me for a couple of days after that as well.

I exercise regularly, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape right now, especially aerobically, but the truth is that my legs were not accustomed to nearly five miles of descending trail.

The result? The dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. Most of us have experienced DOMS at one time or another. It usually occurs after a particularly heavy bout of exercise that we are not accustomed to. That’s the key—even highly trained athletes are not immune if they do something intense and out of the realm of their usual routine. Typically, the delay in delayed-onset-muscle-soreness is 24-48 hours after the exercise bout that causes the damage.

Another detail associated with DOMS, and why my case was particularly rough, is eccentric muscle contractions. Eccentric contractions happen when your muscles lengthen under load—think of putting down a heavy load, or in my case, hitting the brakes a bit each step while running down a mountain. Eccentric muscle contractions are a natural element of muscle function and movement, but an excess amount of them can easily lead to a painful case of DOMS.

Traditional thought blamed microscopic tears in the muscle fibers for the pain and soreness associated with DOMS, but lately, science is not so sure. In fact, the latest research is inconclusive about the mechanism that causes DOMS pain. Worse, there isn’t much solid evidence that any recovery modalities actually speed up the process. In other words, once the muscle soreness has set-in, there’s not much to do except hurry up and wait.

Sorry I don’t have better news, but a little knowledge can help you better cope with DOMS, or perhaps prevent it in the first place. So, to wrap up, here are a few key takeaways:

  • Although science hasn’t agreed on what happens on the cellular level that causes the DOMS response, we do know that DOMS is incurred after intense exercise that an individual isn’t used to, and eccentric muscle contractions tend to lead to DOMS faster. So, if you’re doing something you haven’t done in a while (or ever), take it easy. Or, in my case, if it’s your first alpine hike of the season, perhaps walking down would been wiser.
  • Know that in most instances, the peak of pain occurs around 24-48 hours after the bout of exercise. This too shall pass.
  • Here’s that good news we were looking for—if you repeat similar exercise after your muscles have healed, you should not be as sore the next time, or the next, and so on. Therefore, don’t let a bout of DOMS deter you from consistently exercising, or convince you to give up an new exercise program you have just started!
  • Some studies have suggested a link between Vitamin D and/or sleep deficiencies and occurrence/severity of DOMS. [Cristin, feel free to drop some Vitamin D knowledge and enlighten us.]
  • Although there really haven’t been any scientifically validated studies that link certain recovery methods to relieving DOMS, that shouldn’t necessarily deter you from utilizing some of your favorites. After all, the brain is a powerful thing, and we’re all different and respond differently to certain recovery modalities. That being said, if you’re going through DOMS, or any muscular soreness or stiffness for that matter, things like stretching, massage, foam rolling, compression, elevation, a warm bath, and staying hydrated never hurt.

Be well!

Neal