Eat Smart! Weird vegetables, part 2

Last year we shared a few fruits and vegetables that might, shall we say, make you walk to the other side of the produce aisles at the grocery store. At first sight (or fright) they were downright ugly. But what we found were wonderfully fun and flavorful additions to our culinary repertoire.

So, once again we offer up for your consideration three tantalizing veggie offerings.


This knobby and downright gnarly-looking root may become your new best friend. Also known as celery root, it is low in carbs (about 9 grams in a cup, compared to 26 grams in a cup of potatoes).Plus it packs a powerful nutritional punch of vitamins K and C and B6. It’s a good source of fiber, too! Suggested uses include replacing it for potatoes – from mashed potatoes on your dinner plate to soups to casseroles.


Paper covered tomatoes? Well, sort of. They are a distant relative to the tomato and are a main ingredient in Mexican salsa and moles. They make the green sauce (salsa verde) green. You can use tomatillos any way you use tomatoes – in an omelet, or a sauce or on a sandwich. Just remember to remove the husks! The slightly tart taste is sure to please.

Anemic carrots? Their pale exterior may make you think they are white carrots, but parsnips can be a sweet addition to any meal. Plus, eating a cup of these could get you 25 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Boil up a batch and mash them with some potatoes for dinner tonight.

Read Weird fruits and vegetable – part 1

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Walking boosts brain power

You know that walking is good for your heart, but did you know that walking also slows the decline of memory loss related to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

People with Alzheimer’s who walked 5 miles a week, about 10,000 steps, showed a slower decline in brain volume. Also, healthy adults who walked six miles a week maintained brain volume and significantly reduced cognitive decline.
The findings, from a 20-year study conducted by Dr. Cyrus Raji Ph.D. and his team from the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh, showed that “across the board greater amounts of physical activity were associated with greater brain volume.”

“Walking can improve your brain’s resistance to the disease and reduce memory loss over time,” said Raji.

So when you’re out walking this week, know that 2,000 steps of your daily walk are keeping you smart!

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Walking keeps joints healthy

Arthritis is the most common disability in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do to keep your joints flexible and strengthen muscles. So keep walking.

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Stay hydrated when you walk

Remember to drink water when you walk to say hydratedDuring the hot months of summer, it is extremely important to be aware of your water intake. During exercise you lose fluid through your respiration and sweat. The trick is to drink water before you get thirsty which is a sign of mild dehydration. Other signs include muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea and tiredness. Drinking water usually remedies the symptoms.

You may need more than the recommended 8-10 glasses a day to keep your system going, especially when walking. Drink a glass of water about an hour before you walk and carry a bottle of water with you. Take a drink every 15 minutes whether you are thirsty or no, and have a glass of water when you have finished.

If you walk longer than one hour, consider drinking a sports drink that will replace sodium, chloride and potassium. And avoid alcoholic drinks which promote dehydration.

One way to check if you are drinking enough water is to weigh yourself before and after walking. If you have lost weight, it is probably due to lost fluids. Another way to track your hydration is to monitor the color of your urine. If it is light colored, you are hydrated. If it is dark in color, you should drink more.

So before you walk out that door, or climb onto the treadmill, make sure you grab a bottle of water. It is the purest, cheapest and simplest way to keep you comfortable and hydrated.

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With walking- every little bit counts

Finding time to exercise regularly can be a challenge in today’s busy and hectic world. But that’s the beauty of walking. You can do it practically anywhere at anytime.

Once you start walking your energy level will go up, your stress will go down and you will find that you are looking for “walking opportunities” everywhere.

There are so many ways to increase your steps that the list is endless – things that you can do at work and at home to increase your steps. The best thing is that no major skills are required; just put on your walking shoes, grab your pedometer and GO!

  • Take the long way to the restroom, water cooler or break room.
  • Park your car at the back of the parking lot.
  • Take a walking break at work.
  • Take a lap around the grocery store or mall before shopping.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Make walking fun. Be an active participant in your company’s challenge and rally the troops. A few 10 or 15-minute walks (1,000-1,500 steps) throughout the day can really add up.

And make sure you use your pedometer and upload your steps at least once a week – there is nothing better than hitting your step goals and watching the days on your activity calendar turn green.

Make a commitment today to take advantage of walking opportunities. Remember to grab a buddy – you will both appreciate it.

For more tips check out the “Increase Your Steps” post.

Photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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