Basil, Cilantro, Oregano and Dill

By Mary Gregoire

Basil, cilantro, oregano and dill. Somehow putting the names of those herbs together does not have the same recognition as Simon and Garfunkel’s “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,” but all are wonderful culinary herbs that can be used to enhance our cooking. They provide a way to flavor foods without the addition of salt.

As the spring bulbs and flowering trees are blooming, I also watch my herbs spring to life in my herb garden and think about what new herb I will plant in it this year.

Herbs can be planted in the ground or grown in pots of varying sizes. They need good drainage and regular watering. Some such as chives, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano and parsley are perennials and return each year. Others, such as basil, dill and savory, termed annuals, need to be planted each year. You can start herbs from seeds or buy them as already-started plants in pots from your local greenhouse.

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Weight Management: Make Your Body Work For You

By Kristin Gustashaw

Many people are forever in search of the magic pill to help them to lose weight. There are now even formulas that claim to reduce the amount of food you eat by simply sprinkling a substance on it. But if you were eating an unhealthy diet before trying something like this, you will still be eating unhealthy foods.

Losing weight is only one factor in the complex web that makes a body fit. In fact, losing the wrong type of weight can actually be harmful to your health. Quick weight loss diets often result in pounds shed but have more muscle lost than fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so when you lose muscle, you lower your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories), strength and stability. Extra body fat is linked to a lot of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis (poor bone health), diabetes, arthritis and some forms of cancer. Continue reading

Try Low-Fat Substitutions for Healthier Fare

When making scrambled eggs or omelets, try using a combination of whole eggs and egg whites.

By Celina Scala

Cooking and baking are two of my favorite pastimes. I like that it’s creative, often less expensive then eating out, and sometimes healthier. Not every homemade recipe is nutritious, but with a few simple changes I’ve been successful in making some recipes lower in fat and calories.

One tip is to substitute high-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, regular cheese, or cream cheese with fat-free or low-fat dairy products in recipes. This reduces fat while still providing protein, vitamin D and calcium. Instead of using sour cream, try non-fat plain Greek yogurt. This type of yogurt is thick and creamy and has a tangy flavor, not to mention it’s higher in protein than most regular yogurts.

You can also replace whole eggs with ¼ cup of egg substitute or 2 egg whites for each egg. When making scrambled eggs or omelets, use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites. You will still get the fat-soluble vitamins from the egg yolk but less cholesterol. Continue reading