Pomegranate Tabouli Salad

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAPomegranates are typically in season October through February, although they are now available year-round.

Not only delicious, pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods you can eat! They are high in vitamin C and potassium, a great source of fiber, and low in calories.
Like blueberries, cranberries and green tea, pomegranates are thought to be healthy because they are loaded with antioxidants, which protect cells from damage by compounds called free radicals.

Pomegranate juice is high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidants. The three types – tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid – are present in many fruits, but fresh pomegranate juice contains particularly high amounts of all three.
Pomegranates in the store have been picked when ripe, so they are ready to enjoy as soon as you buy them! A good, ripe pomegranate should feel heavy. Surface abrasions do not affect the quality of the fruit.

Whole pomegranates keep well at room temperature and away from sunlight for several days and up to 2 months when refrigerated in plastic bags. In October when the fresh crop arrives buy several and store them.

Pomegranate Tabouli Salad
1.5 cups bulgur
3T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup (about one bunch) Italian parsley, washed, spun and chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, washed, spun and chopped –optional
3 scallions, thinly sliced and chopped
1 cup pomegranate seeds*
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Cook the bulgur according to package directions and place in the refrigerator to cool.
To make the dressing combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a bowl and whisk.
When bulgur is cool, add chopped parsley, mint leaves, scallions and pomegranate seeds and dressing. Stir gently to mix ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.
Top with toasted pumpkin seeds when serving.

*How to remove the seeds from the pomegranate. To seed a pomegranate, cut the skin vertically in quarters, then pull it apart. Hold it in a bowl of water and gently pull the white structures apart, dropping the seeds in the bowl. Skim the white bits out. Drain and pat dry to use.

To view a video of this process visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wHQg7mC8iA

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Maria’s Green Chile Pork Recipe

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Green Chile Pork with added black beans for a delicious stew.

Green Chile Pork with added black beans for a delicious stew.

I love this versatile dish. Serve it over cooked brown rice or any other whole grain, use it as a filling for tacos or burritos, or add a can of drained black beans to make a stew.

1 Tablespoon canola or olive oil
2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1 inch cubes.  I use Costco’s Kirkland Pork Sirloin Tip Roast
1 onion, chopped
16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
7 ounce can diced green chilies
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Place oil in large pot, turn on heat to medium high. Add pork cubes and chopped onion. Sauté, stirring every couple of minutes until pork is browned on all sides. Add in stewed tomatoes, green chiles, cumin, oregano and garlic. Stir, cover and simmer on low-medium until pork is tender, about 1.5 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer it spicier, you can add in your favorite hot sauce.

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Is there a direct relationship between exercise and longevity?

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Bronka Sundstrom is shown here with me in 2005. She is the oldest woman ever to have climbed Mt. Rainier, in only 1 day, at age 77.

Bronka Sundstrom is shown here with me in 2005. She is the oldest woman ever to have climbed Mt. Rainier, in only 1 day, at age 77.

There is a direct relationship between exercise and longevity. Someone who is moderately active lives at least two years longer than a sedentary person. A simple formula states that for each hour of exercise, you will prolong your life by two hours. After stopping cigarette smoking, exercise is the single most important lifestyle decision for improving health and longevity. Exercise strengthens the heart, lowers risk for colon and breast cancer, strengthens bones, lowers risk for diabetes and stroke, lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, combats depression, and maintains muscle mass as we age (strength training is best for this).

The Cooper Clinic in Dallas studied 25,000 men over a 20-year period and found that the least fit men had a 70% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The less fit men were also 50% more likely to die from all causes. Similar results were found in a smaller cohort of women.

The Cooper Clinic also found that the least fit 20% were 3.7 times more likely to develop diabetes over a six-year period, compared with the most fit 40%. Exercise enhances the muscle’s ability to respond to insulin and remove sugar form the circulation. Exercise also lowers body fat, which is implicated in the development of diabetes. Being sedentary increases the risk for colon cancer by at least 20% (some studies show a doubling or tripling of risk). Evidence also suggests risk for breast and prostate cancer is reduced.

Procedures like colonoscopies can be great screening tools and treatments for bowel cancer. But patients may be able to take measures at home to reduce their risk for this disease.According to the National Cancer Institute, people who exercise regularly have a 40% to 50% lower risk of colon cancer, compared with those who don’t exercise regularly.

A study by the National Cancer Institute found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity had life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years.

As we age, muscle and bone strength is essential for maintaining an independent lifestyle, and avoiding the kind of physical deterioration that often ends in a nursing home. Physical activity appears to stimulate the production of new white blood cells and remove older ones, thus boosting our immune defenses and helping to stave off infection and even cancer.

Of course, a person’s lifestyle factors can affect their longevity.  Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and being underweight or overweight predict mortality among the elderly. A study published in the BMJ set out to identify modifiable factors associated with longevity among adults aged 75 and older.The associations between leisure activity, not smoking, and increased survival still existed in those aged 75 years or more, with women’s lives extended by five years and men’s by six years. These associations, although reduced, were still present among people aged 85 or more and in those with chronic conditions. Their results suggest that encouraging healthy lifestyle behaviors even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity.

Moore SC, et al. Leisure Time Physical Activity of Moderate to Vigorous Intensity and Mortality: A Large Pooled Cohort Analysis. PLoS Medicine. November 6, 2012. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001335.

BMJ 2012;345:e5568

BMC Medicine, Oct. 10, 2014

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