Health in the Fast-Lane

All About Me

My name is Roxanne, and I have a passion for natural health and wellness.  My job at Swanson Health Products also allows me to research and review supplements, cosmetics, health foods, and various other items that can help us to lead healthier lives.  I graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition and a minor in Chemistry.  I am also a Certified Group Fitness Instructor.

While my husband and I were both going to college, we had our two children.  This is when life really started to challenge us: high stress, little sleep, and minimal free time.  The college days are long gone, but our fast paced lifestyle with our kids and jobs is here to stay.  Exercising, grocery shopping, or making a healthy supper is sometimes the last thing on my mind after a long day at work.  In today’s world, grabbing take-out on the way home and watching an itinerary of TV shows in the evening is all too tempting. 

We all work hard and deserve to be rewarded, right?   Treat yourself with a long bike ride, make a new healthy recipe, or take the time to educate yourself about the benefits of supplements and health foods.  The choices we make today determine the longevity and quality of our lives.  We all want to age gracefully, and now is the time to make positive choices that can become permanent healthy habits for you and your family.  Through this blog, I’ll be sharing some of my ideas and personal experiences to help you lead a healthy lifestyle. 

Homemade Ham & Bean Soup

Saturday, February 25, 2012 by Roxanne E.

As promised in my post yesterday, here is another hearty soup recipe that is sure to be a hit with the whole family.  My favorite part about this recipe is that the pureed beans give the soup a thick, tasy texture that is good for you!

Ham & Bean Soup
1 1/2 cups chopped celeryOrganic Great Northern Beans
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 chopped medium onion
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups (32 oz.) fat free chicken broth
2 cups cubed ham
2 - 15 oz. cans great northern beans, undrained
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large stock pot.
2. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add ham and garlic to stock put mixture.
4. Add 3 cups chicken broth, bring to a boil.  Boil on low for 10 minutes.
5. In a food processor or blender, combine 1 1/2 cans of beans (including the juice) and tomato sauce.  Blend mixture until smooth and add to stock pot.
6. Add remaininng 1/2 can of beans to the stock pot. 
7. Stir to blend, and bring to a gentle boil over low/medium heat.
8. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.

Serving size: 1 cup.  Makes about 13 servings.

Nutritional information per cup: 150 calories, 4 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 13 grams protein, 5 grams fiber.


Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Friday, February 24, 2012 by Roxanne E.

As the temperature dip well below zero, I look forward to making two of my favorite soup recipes.  These recipes are fairly easy, and they are so much better for you than heavy cream based soups or canned soups full of preservatives.  There's nothing better than a warm, hearty bowl of soup on a cold winter day.   

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 diced medium onion
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons flour
2 - 14 oz. cans fat free chicken broth
2 1/2 cups chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 pkg (8.8 oz) ready-to-serve long grain and wild rice
1/2 cup fat free half & half
Pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. 
2. Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute until tender. 
3. Stir in flour until blended. 
4. Gradually add chicken broth to vegetables. 
5. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick.
6. Stir in chicken, rice, half & half, and pepper. 
7. Cook on low until heated thoroughly. 

Note: If you want a thicker soup, just add about 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch (dissolved in water) to the soup.

Serving size: 1 cup.  Makes approximately 8 servings.

Nutritional information per cup: 200 calories, 6 grams fat, 18 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber.

Stay tuned for my other soup recipe tomorrow...

DASH Diet Ranked as Best Overall Diet for 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Roxanne E.

The DASH Diet Action PlanIt’s a new year, and many consumers are dieting with new resolve. Of 25 diets evaluated by U.S. News & World Report, the DASH Diet received top honors as the best overall diet.

According to the report: “DASH was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet. But it certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts, who gave it high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health. Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets.”

The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) focuses on low salt (or low sodium) and high intakes of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy, and whole grains. It is a high-fiber, low- to moderate-fat diet plan, rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

The second annual Best Diets rankings also included a ranking of Easiest Diets to Follow. Dieters who choose a diet at or near the top of that list are more likely to succeed in staying on their diet for the long haul. Any diet can promise weight loss, but it’s those that dieters can stick with all year—and year after year—that prove successful.

Of the 25 diets evaluated, the five Easiest Diets to Follow are:

  1. Weight Watchers
  2. Jenny Craig
  3. Mediterranean Diet
  4. Slim-Fast and Volumetrics (tied at #4)

Best Diets 2012 features six other rankings: Best Diets Overall, Best Commercial Diet Plans, Best Weight-Loss Diets, Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Best Diabetes Diets and Best Heart-Healthy Diets. All six rankings were first published in 2011, when U.S. News evaluated a total of 20 diets.

The five new diets added for 2012 are the Abs Diet, Biggest Loser Diet, Dukan Diet, Flat Belly Diet and Macrobiotic Diet.

Big winners across the rankings included:

DASH Diet: ranked #1 in Best Diets Overall, Best Diets for Healthy Eating and Best Diabetes Diets (tie)

Weight Watchers: ranked #1 in Best Weight-Loss Diets, Best Commercial Diet Plans and Easiest Diets to Follow

Biggest Loser Diet: ranked #1 in Best Diabetes Diets (tie)

Ornish Diet: ranked #1 in Best Heart-Healthy Diets

“The Best Diets rankings are designed to guide each dieter to the diet or diets best suited to his or her goal, whether that’s weight loss, management of diabetes, healthy eating or something else,” said U.S. News’s Lindsay Lyon, who directed the project.

About the Rankings:

To create the rankings, U.S. News profiled each diet using information culled from scientific journals, government reports and other resources. Profiles describe how a given diet works, how it breaks down nutritionally, how safe it is and more. A volunteer panel of 22 nationally recognized experts in diet and nutrition reviewed each profile, conducted independent fact-finding, and rated the diets on seven criteria, such as their ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss. U.S. News converted panelists’ ratings to scores and constructed the rankings. For the Easiest Diets to Follow list, panelists assessed likely taste appeal, ease of initial adjustment, ability to keep dieters from feeling hungry and special eating restrictions.


Celebrate National Nutrition Month by Helping Your Kids Eat Right with Color

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by Roxanne E.
When it comes to food and nutrition, even the most knowledgeable parents can use help making sure their children are eating healthy meals. Each March, the American Dietetic Association celebrates National Nutrition Month®, and this year's theme, "Eat Right with Color," encourages parents to take time to make sure their children are getting all of the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. The good news is that shopping, cooking and eating healthfully have just gotten easier with assistance from, a new website from ADA and its Foundation.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently reported that children, teens and adults have diets deficient in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium and potassium, and the Kids Eat Right campaign calls for increased attention to the alarming nutrient deficiencies in children's diets.

"Weight is not the only measure of good nutrition and health. Any child — whether they are of normal weight, overweight or obese — can be undernourished," says registered dietitian Dr. Katie Brown, national education director for the American Dietetic Association Foundation.

"Quality nutrition requires a total diet approach that goes beyond calorie counting alone, to focus on including those nutrients critical for a child's healthy growth and development," Brown says. "This year's National Nutrition Month theme is a great reminder for parents to focus on that total diet approach by including a variety of foods and colors in every meal, every day."

Brown offers the following guidance for helping your kids "Eat Right with Color":
  • Give kids whole-grain cereals for breakfast, kid-friendly "white" whole-wheat bread for sandwiches, crunchy whole-grain crackers for snacks and whole-grain pastas for dinner.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables at every meal. At breakfast, enjoy fresh or frozen berries on cereal, slices of melon or a glass of 100 percent orange juice; at lunch, serve baby carrots or sliced apples; for dinner, put brightly colored vegetables at the center of every plate.
  • Most young people in America are not getting enough calcium or potassium. Fortunately, it's easy to consume the three daily dairy servings children and teens need. Try an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk with breakfast, lunch and dinner; yogurt parfaits for breakfast or an after-school snack; or string cheese for an on-the-go energy snack.
  • Getting enough protein at every meal and snack helps kids feel satisfied after eating. Start their day with egg or bean burritos. For snacks, provide peanut butter or sliced deli meat.
Designed around a SHOP, COOK and EAT theme, the Kids Eat Right website provides parents with practical tips, articles, videos and recipes from registered dietitians to help families shop smart, cook healthy and eat right.

Interactive kids games for National Nutrition Month will be available, including:

    * Sudoku: Tackle these popular puzzles using food rather than numbers.
    * Word Search: Find the words that represent the bold and vibrant colors associated with eating right!
    * Rate Your Plate Quiz: Find out how you rate when it comes to making daily meal choices.

Whether speaking with a registered dietitian about essential nutrients and healthier cooking, or visiting for tips and recipes, Kids Eat Right provides families with knowledge as well as ideas and tools to transform their eating behaviors.

Source: American Dietetic Association