Healthy Chicken and Vegetable Noodle Soup

Being a chick who loves her crockpot, I thought it was time to venture out from my usual chicken+sweet potatoes, or my crockpot summer chili (since it’s turning fall and all probably a good idea). I’ve always been a fan of chicken noodle soup but couldn’t quite find a recipe that sounded good or looked healthy enough. So what to do? I just started pulling ingredients from my cupboard and this is what I got!

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Don’t let the picture fool you, this is actually delicious!

  • 8 oz whole wheat penne pasta dry (I used Barilla)
  • 2 cans 33% reduced sodium Natural Goodness Chicken Broth
  • 1 can Wild Oats Organic pinto beans
  • 12 oz chicken breast (roughly 2-3 breasts)
  • 1 cup canned sweet peas
  • 1 cup canned low sodium green beans
  • 10 sliced baby carrots
  • 1 tsp of each ground cumin, garlic salt, chili powder

Put all ingredients into a slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. If cooking for longer than 8 hours or on high, add noodles about halfway through cook time to avoid over cooking

Yields 5 servings

Serving size: 2 1/4 Cup // 235 calories // 24g protein // 30g carb// 2g fat

The Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle- Even if you’re ACTIVE!

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It has been known for some time now that being sedentary, lazy, inactive, etc. has a negative effect on your health. Sure, it is no secret that everyone needs to exercise and that exercise puts you farther away from health risk, but what about what we do with the rest of our day?

Lately research has shown that although you might meet the exercise daily recommendations, if you are sedentary with the rest of your day, you are still at an elevated risk for many health concerns. Think about it, if you meet the recommendations of an hour workout a day, maybe 5 days a week you are only working our 5 hours a week, that is hardly 3% of your week. If you have a desk job, are known as a couch potato in your non-gym hours, spend a lot of time traveling in a car, or anything where you are sitting of some sort, you are spending 97% of your week being inactive, therefore raising your risk. So what to do?

Let’s start with a sedentary definition: 

sed·en·tar·y

adjective

(of a person) tending to spend much time seated; somewhat inactive.

synonyms: inactive, sitting, deskbound.

What are your risks?

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular death
  • Quicker rate of bone loss- leading to osteoporosis
  • Increased rate of all cause premature death
  • More likely to experience cognitive and mental decline
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure and triglycerides
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Lower ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

How to reverse this effect, be more active, and stay healthy:

  • Be mindful of getting up to go to the bathroom every hour, half hour is better!
    In between bathroom breaks, get up and go get a drink of water
  • After you complete a task, get up and stretch
  • Find some personal space to do a few bodyweight exercise during your work day
  • Stretch upon waking AND before bed
  • Spend more time on your feet- cook, watch TV standing, stand while working
  • Clean your house more- it keeps you on your feet!
  • Instead of crashing on the couch after work- go for a walk!

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996155/
http://www.nchpad.org/403/2216/Sedentary~Lifestyle~is~Dangerous~to~Your~Health

Chia Vs. Flax Seed

You may have heard of these 2 types of seeds before or maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’ve tried adding them to your daily intake due to their “superfood” claim to fame, or maybe you’ve strayed away from them due to an inability to pronounce their names. Regardless of if you are a flax or chia seed fanatic or a health seed newbie, here are some facts that are good to know!

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:

  • Known for its healthy fats, Chia is relatively low in fat compared to other seeds of its kind
  • Speaking of healthy fats, it contains Omega 3’s, which are most commonly found in fish
  • A good, lean source of protein at about 4g per 2 TBSP
  • Packs 20% of your daily fiber intake
  • High in calcium, which supports strong bones
  • Daily intake can reduce your long term risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease
  • Easy to digest
  • Chia can even give you an energy boost due to its antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals

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Health Benefits of Flax Seed:

  • Like Chia seed, Flax is a lean source of protein and is also lower in carb than Chia
  • High in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and folate
  • High in vitamins such as B1 which is good for brain power
  • Also high in fiber and Omega 3’s
  • Flax has Lignans, which are good for both estrogen and antioxidant qualities and can help protect against cancers
  • Can help fight against and reduce risk of cancers including breast, prostate, and colon
  • Highly effective at lowering blood pressure
  • Can slightly lower blood sugar which is helpful in fighting diabetes
  • Flax has been studied to show a 57% reduction in hot flashes in menopausal women

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So what’s the difference?

When it comes to someone interested in general health, there isn’t a huge difference between the 2. If you’re looking for more vitamin and mineral health, go for Flax, if you need more calcium or fiber, go for Chia. Flax seed is usually less expensive than Chia seeds, but Chia seeds are more versatile since they can be combined with water to form a “gooey” texture. Some studies have shown that flax might not be a good choice for pregnant women, but when it comes to that it is up to your independent research to decide.

Regardless of which you choose, I highly recommend adding these little, healthy seeds into your daily diet!

sources: http://dailynaturalremedies.com/10-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/3/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/benefits-of-flaxseed?page=3

http://www.prevention.com/content/which-healthier-chia-seeds-or-flax-seeds