10 December 2013
Decoding Healthy Cooking Part 1
Decoding Healthy Cooking, Part 1: Lean Meats
By Nicole Clark, RD
            There is no shortage of healthy cooking tips on the internet. However, it is easy to become stumped on the healthy cooking ideas if you don’t understand the technique to begin with! This series will provide you with a better understanding on the top five suggestions for healthy cooking: using lean meats, poaching, sautéing, steaming, and reducing fat.
Lean Meats
1.      As a rule of thumb for beef or pork, look for the words “round” or “loin” in the description of the cut of meat. For a handy list you can refer to the following website for lean cuts of beef,
i.       Lean means less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4.5 grams saturated fat, and less than 95 mg cholesterol per 3 oz. serving.
2.     When it comes to lean poultry, simply remove the skin or look for the word lean if the meat has been ground.
3.     Lean meats are lower in fat. Fat provides moisture and flavor. If you don’t want to turn your protein into a something that looks and tastes like a hockey puck you’ll need to consider your method of preparation. Moist cooking techniques will prevent meat from drying out. 
a.     Braising = use for “round” cuts of beef which come from the back, a well used and therefore tougher muscle. This method is considered a form of “low and slow” cooking, meat is cooked at a low temperature over a long time. This technique tenderizes large cuts of tougher meat by cooking it partially submerged in liquid. The benefits = can be started in the morning (think crock pot) for a meal that is ready when you get home and usually used for cheaper cuts of meat so it saves you money!
b.     Stewing = also a form of moist preparation and similar to braising, but in stewing, the meat is cut into equal sized chunks and cooked fully submerged in liquid. Beef should be lightly browned at a hot temperature before braising or stewing to enhance flavor.
c.      Parchment wrapped = best used for fish, poultry, shellfish, or vegetables. Meat is wrapped like a present in parchment paper with the addition of herbs and spices to enhance flavor. Wax paper will burn in the oven so be sure to use actual parchment paper or aluminum foil.
4.     Cook with acid. Keep in mind that lean cuts of meat are lean because it was a muscle that was frequently used by the animal. Tenderize those strong muscles with the addition of acidic ingredients since they are able to denature proteins in the meat.   Essentially, this is what marinating does. 
a.     This process is best used in thin cuts of meat. The acid will not be able to penetrate thicker cuts and will therefore not tenderize and flavor all the meat. 
b.     Prepare 1/2 cup marinade for each pound of meat.
c.      Marinate beef and pork for up to 24 hours, chicken for 2 to 24 hours, and fish for 15 to 60 minutes. DO NOT reuse marinade after cooking meat as this can lead to cross contamination and food borne illness.
d.     Examples of acidic ingredients = tomatoes, pineapple, lemons, limes, oranges, or vinegar.
5.   Use the meat mallet! Mechanical tenderization is another great way to prepare lean meats. Mechanical tenderization uses a meat hammer to physically break down the proteins in meat via shear force. Be sure to wrap your meat in plastic wrap before hammering a cut of meat to prevent cross contamination across the kitchen. Use this technique for poultry, beef and pork. Delicate meat like fish will be destroyed by this method. 
a.   If you choose to grill or bake meat that is lean it is almost essential that you marinate or mechanically tenderize your meat prior to cooking. Grilling and baking are considered “dry” cooking techniques. With less fat in the meat to provide flavor and moisture, lean meats can become dry and tough if not tenderized through marinade or mechanical tenderization.
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17 December 2012
Healthy FET Kids Sponsorship Thank You
Healthy FET Kids Thanks ConocoPhillips, bhpbilliton, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico for Their Generous Grant Awards
This funding will allow additional teachers and school administrators from board-selected Aztec, Bloomfield, and Farmington elementary schools to participate in the Full Engagement Training Program during 2013. The mission of the Healthy FET Kids program is to educate and empower children and their families with the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors to live a healthy lifestyle. “The Healthy FET Kids’ Board and staff is extremely grateful to these generous sponsors for the opportunity to continue providing this meaningful training to our local schools,” says Sandra Grunwaldt, FET Manager.
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09 July 2012
Re-inventing ..Child's Lunch Box
Re-inventing the Wheel- or At Least Your Childs Lunch Box.
By Nicole Clark, R.D.

For many parents, the back to school season also means a return of the mad morning rush.  Not only are you running on all cylinders to get yourself up and ready for work (or play if you are lucky!), but you are also scrambling to get your little ones back into the early morning routine.  The sweet child you put to bed has somehow morphed into a sloth over night.  No matter how many wake-up calls you announce as you run past their bedroom door, the sloth remains immune to your encouragement.  In the midst of your struggles to awake your sleeping beauty, you remember that getting your child(ren) ready is only half the battle.  The other half awaits you in the kitchen.  Looming in hundreds of households around the city are empty lunch boxes.  The dreaded box that challenges your creative fire five days a week!  Half of you feels comfort in knowing that the good ole’ PB&J will always be there to save you in your time of need.  The other half, the super parent, feels disappointed for not having a roasted chicken that you made this morning ready to serve on homemade bread, also freshly made.  A sandwich that you were going to serve with lettuce and tomato, picked from your garden as the sun was rising.  Not to mention a homemade chocolate chip cookie, still warm from the oven.  As the children come screaming into the kitchen, still wearing their pajamas, you awake from your super parent pipe dream in front of a still, empty lunch box.  
Now is clearly not the time to re-invent the wheel.  You have T minus 40 minutes to get the kids to the bus stop, dressed, and with lunch in hand.  Maybe today is a PB&J kind of day.  However, if your looking for some inspiration without the need to cut into your already too few hours of sleep, I have a few suggestions for you.  As you can see, I am not going to re-invent the wheel either.  I will however, refer you to a site that I found to have some creative, as well as healthy, twists on some classic kid friendly sandwiches.  You really can’t go wrong with a sandwich for lunch.  They are easy to make, and most importantly, kids love em!  Follow the link below for 25 “new” lunch ideas.

Maybe you have a child that, shall we say, has a very selective palate.  You’ll be amazed how the same food presented in a different form can inspire a good appetite.  Invest in some large cookie cutters and turn that boring old sandwich into a star, or dinosaur, or whatever.  What child can’t get lost in the world of imagination and find themselves devouring an entire fleet of prehistoric cheese and vegetable sandwiches?  By the way I am referring to the choice of cookie cutter not the fuzzy, forgotten cheese at the back of the deli drawer!  
As for the super parent complex, there is a reason that most grocers roast whole chickens, in house, on a daily basis.  The super parent also knows how to best use their time, and quickly remove the bag the chicken was sold in before anyone else sees it!  
Finally, I remember the best lunches that my mom packed for me as a kid were the ones that came with a little note that said, “I love you”.  Now that, is a super parent!     

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27 February 2012
I Think I'm Healthy
Have you ever watched a drug commercial on television and thought you presented the symptoms they describe?
Hmmm, yes, I feel tired….yes, I have a hard time getting to sleep at night sometimes…yes, I make frequent trips to the restroom…yes, wait…oh no!
Then you realize you’re being a little dramatic, switch the channel, and make a mental note to schedule an appointment with your doctor if something isn’t right. But should you wait until you’re sick to visit your doctor? What if a health problem isn’t so outwardly apparent?
I consider myself healthy. I’m a runner. I prefer water over any other drink. I floss my teeth every day. I eat low-fat meals and include plenty of vegetables into my diet. I don’t smoke. I sleep well at night.
When I attended a Full Engagement Training last year, there was a stretch of time when we went over our blood screen results. Our facilitators assessed our numbers (low, just right, or high) and made notes in the margins to help us decipher the information. They explained that some people might already know what their results will say, but for others, it could be eye-opening.
As I scanned through my results, I saw a number drawn in a red circle. What? How could that number be so high? Did the laboratory make a mistake? Dare I list off my health habits again?
No, I’m not going to list off my health habits, but you probably noticed how quick I was to deny the bad news. I was ready to jump back into my old ways without opening myself to a healthy lifestyle change. When we’re given cold, hard facts about our health—and the advice to improve, right there in margins—why not accept it? Okay. Yes. I can do this. We all can do this.
If you can’t remember the last time you saw your healthcare provider (or if you don’t have one), I encourage you to visit www.sanjuanregional.com/physicians to find a phone number and schedule an appointment. I thought I was healthy, but now I know.

Monica Ly

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02 September 2011
Are You a Good Listener?

Being a good listener falls under the emotional competency of interpersonal effectiveness and is essential for anyone who wants to be able to fully engagewith another person, at home or at work.  But can anyone be a good listener? Is it something you are born with or is it a skill you can develop? 

Listening and hearing are not the same, though. You may hear many things going on around you, but you are not necessarily paying attention to them. Listening requires your attention, your focus and your energy. In her new book "Coping with Rejection", Julia Hislop discusses the importance of a being a good listener in developing good relationships. People appreciate someone with good listening skills and everyone loves to be really heard and understood, according to Hislop. So what does to mean to be a good listener? Is it just a matter of being quiet and staring blankly at the person until they are done talking? Not quite, according to Hislop. Hislop states it requires the ability to listen without interrupting, not even to give advice or share a similar story. It means to encourage the other person to speak fully without judging or preaching.

Have you ever been interrupted mid-story? How did it make you feel?

Being a good listener does not require you to provide counseling or be an expert in solving problems. It is to provide an outlet for another person and as a good listener you should indicate with small remarks and nods of the head that you are actually listening to what they are saying. This will clearly demonstrate you are paying attention and taking in what is being said, and not just staring at them. Finally, by making a small summary of what they have said at the end you will have confirmed your understanding and that you were truly listening.

Being a good listener is a skill and like any skill, it requires practice and effort, but it does get easier as the skill becomes part your interpersonal habit and routine. And being a good listener can have quite an influence according to Matthews: "Isn't it a special experience to have another take the trouble to see life through your eyes?". "People out there are starving for someone to listen totally. If you would choose to affect people positively, try listening with 100 per cent of your attention. You will become a special person for them."

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02 August 2010
Engagement is the Keystone of Employee Productivity
Human Performance Institute's Exclusive New White Paper

"The most critical element of professional success in the world of business is the full engagement of its people. The Human Performance Institute recently conducted a national cross-industry study on employee engagement which unearthed the true realities companys face when their workforce is fully engaged or toxically disengaged.

This research shows how these varying engagement levels impact the bottom line of any organization and outlines solutions to improving or enhancing where your employees stand today.

Read the Engagement White Paper now by clicking HERE or go to www.corporateathlete.com"

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13 October 2009
The Power Of Journaling

Our SJRMC FET facilitators attended the Elite Athlete program by the Human Performance Institute in Colorado Springs a year ago. During this program, Dr. Jim Loehr, Co-Founder of the Human Performance Institute, encouraged all of us to begin journaling soon as we returned home and even gave us a journal (no excuses now).

 I have attempted journaling in the past but was not successful in developing a good ritual to keep my journal going. My first thought (inner critic voice) to Dr. Loehr's encouragement was “Yea, right! I tried and failed so why try again”.  The power of journaling comes from connecting our subconscious thoughts and feelings with the concrete process of writing; this brings these thoughts and feelings forward to our conscious mind. Understanding our old story from journaling and putting our energy towards a new story allow us to focus on the behaivors we want to achieve. As an example, you find it difficult to commit to a relationship that you think is important to you. Write down your thoughts, feelings and why it is important to you. Discover what is keeping you from the committment. What about these thoughts , feelings and stories are holding you back? Write down what you want and create a new story if you want the relationship to succeed.
Besides becoming aware of our stories, journaling is a great tool for problem solving; write down the problem and all the possible solutions. Writing brings clarity and allows creative thoughts to be visual. Journaling also allow us to see progress over time. Seeing change reminds you where you have been and where you are still growing. So pick up that journal and start writing. Journaling once a day, once a week, or even once a month is a powerful tool in energy management. Put your energy towards your new story and where you want to grow!
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15 September 2009
The Power of Imagery
Using your imagination for success
Mental Imagery
Before every shot I go to the movies inside my head. Here’s what I see. First, I see the ball where I want it to finish on a specific small area of fairway or green. Next I see the ball going there—its path, trajectory, and behavior on the landing. Finally, I see myself making the kind of swing that will turn the first two images into reality. These “home movies” are a key to my concentration and to my positive approach to every shot.
Jack Nicklaus, Professional golfer.
Good imagery skills can be used any time to help you make a contingency for situations that may occur during your work day, at home, or during any goal that you want to accomplish. Many of us rehearse scenarios for work so that we act professionally, accurately, and successfully. But how many of us use imagery to accomplish personal goals. Are you training for an event? Attending a party and worried about avoid eating foods not good for you? Just wanting to get an exercise plan started? Are you anxious about taking an exam?
Use these tips to learn and turn imagery into your advantage:
  1. Be calm and relaxed: Imagery is most often effective when the mind is calm and the body is relaxed. Stop and get yourself to focus. Use deep breathing to help you be calm. Let the distracting thoughts and images float past as you reflect on the image.
  2. Use all your senses: Besides visualizing yourself and your surroundings, it is equally important to feel, hear, be aware of your body position, and even what the smell and taste will be during your experience. Paying attention to details will help make your imagery more vivid and real.
  3. Control your images: Make sure you see yourself and feel yourself accomplish your goal and performing as you want to perform. If you want to successfully exercise, image what you will look like when you exercise and how you will feel and look afterwards. If you want to avoid foods, focus on practicing smell and visual imagery to help you make the right choices. Keep your images positive especially if the event is stressful.
  4. Keep it simple at first: Practice in a safe, quiet environment at first. Use non-threatening and non-stressful situations until you are more confident in your imagery skills. When you feel more confident, pick a situation that you really want to accomplishing but isn’t too difficult. As you become more familiar with imaging, start each day by imaging your self accomplishing what is most important to you. Spend a few minutes every morning or every evening with imagery.
  5. Use your sense of “feel”: Make your images more vivid by imaging your body movement. Once you create a body experience to match what you are imaging, the image will strengthen. This is especially important if your goal depends on body movement.
Use imagery just like a professional athlete and you will be successful. 
Next blog : The Power of Journaling. Journaling is actually a good way of connecting thoughts to imagery. Give it a try!!
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10 April 2009
Successful Dieting

I started my work day last Wednesday with a smile on my face. I was listening to National Public Radio and a woman speaking about her lack of success with dieting. She bought and tried every new diet book including the South Beach diet, Adkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, etc. and was somewhat successful initially but gain all her weight back plus more by the end of one year.

She is a creative writer and noticed the students in her classroom that were writing and journaling didn’t seem to gain as much weight throughout the school year as those that did not journal and write.

So where is this story going. Her new book is based on the three successful dieting tips. Guess what she discovered?

JOURNALING - allows you to discover how emotions and food are connected especially as you journal over several months. Journaling allows you to see how you reacted to a previous situation. If you are sad, stressed, disappointed, happy, excited and how these events affect  you physically. You  you may find what triggers you to do "emotional" eating. Journaling is a great way to stay connected to your purpose too.

FOOD LOGGING - it heightens awareness of what you eat. How many even remember what they ate for dinner two days ago? Those extra fat grams and calories creep back into our diet once we are not longer trying to lose weight

DAILY EXERCISE - this life long habit, not one just to lose weight. The benefits of exercise are well documented and the fashionable topic of discussion in many magazines. Why? Because it is true!

None of this should be a surprise to those that have attended the Full Engagement Training but are you practicing them? You don't need to buy any more expensive or trendy diet books. Just review what you learned in the FET program and follow the three successful tips above.

 PS -  I didn't realize until now how much time has gone by since my last blog. As many of you know from the FET program, rituals based on good habits occasionally have a set back. So no more setbacks for me. I am committed to writing a new blog once a month and you have permission to remind me if you see me slipping!

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09 June 2008
On Going Practice Sessions


Struggling with your action plan or needing to kick start it again? Join us for the monthly On Going Practice sessions. One hour monthly sessions for those that need some accountability to stick with their action plan; learn more about nutrition; find out how to exercise aerobically; discuss how stories impact your ability to stick with that weight loss plan, exercise plan, or a plan that helps you meet your mission. Monthly sessions are 12:00 – 1:00pm. Bring your lunch and stay as long as your schedule allows. All sessions in the 4th Floor Conference Rm (Medical Floor).

Next session is August 12 12:00 - 1:00pm or 9:00 - 10:00 pm. Registering in Healthstream is advised so we know to plan on you attending. A SJRMC Dietitian and Leslie Thompson,, RN, will be the FET facilitators for this session.

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 Offered to Staff at No Cost

FET - Full Engagement Training - Leslie Thompson - Phone 505.609.2170 - Email Me