Aging Gracefully Blog

Archive for May, 2012

A Crowd-Pleaser for the Holiday Weekend….or Any Time!

Monday, May 28th, 2012

This morning I made a big batch of granola for my client's son, who just graduated from high school.  Over the years, he's become a big fan of this specialty of mine, which I make as a gift from time to time.  It's become so popular that some clients request it every Christmas!

The trick is to use just enough oil and honey to make the dry ingredients glisten – too little and it tastes too dry; too much and it becomes too heavy.  Keep an eye on the granola as it bakes in the oven, turning it from time to time, until it's a toasty brown.  Add the cranberries and raisins as it's cooling, not before.

I usually make two large baking pans, fill up our canister at home and put the rest in plastic containers to give away or freeze.  Here's the recipe for your enjoyment:

Crunchy Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup slivered unblanched almonds
1 c. coconut flakes
6 T. sunflower seeds
6 T. flax seeds
6 T. sesame seeds
3 T. raw wheat germ
¼ t. cinnamon (optional)
3 T. sunflower or safflower seed oil
3 T. honey
1 c. dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Toss all the ingredients, except the cranberries or raisins, in a large bowl.

Spread granola thinly on 1 or 2 baking sheets and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice so that the ingredients brown evenly.  Watch carefully.  If you forget it, it will burn easily.

When the granola is golden and the texture starts to become crunchy, remove and let cool.  Toss in the dried cranberries/raisins as it’s cooling.  Refrigerate or freeze leftover to keep fresh.

Makes about 6 cups of granola

Wake Up Call for Boomers

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

We Baby Boomers are at a delicate age that can be a significant turning point for the rest of our lives.  We're still young enough to have the opportunity to be healthy as we grow old, but we're old enough to be at risk of aging poorly.  Someone once told me, "We spend the first half of our lives trying to kill ourselves and the second half trying to live forever!"

Benign neglect, poor lifestyle choices or an unfortunate act of fate can all cause physical limitations that restrict our quality of life and make us old before our time.  Chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and other kinds of heart disease begin to manifest at our age.  Orthopedic problems like rotator cuff tears, knee injuries and low back pain become more widespread.

In my youth, I never thought very far into the future.  But with time, I've developed a new attitude.  Now I think about what we need to do at age 50 to be great at 70; what to do at 60 to be fully functional at 80; what a 70 year-old can do to be vibrant at 90.

As my friend Christine shared with me recently:
"I spent the day with my mother on Sunday and I saw first hand the effect that walking has had on her mobility.  A year ago my son-in-law had to carry her up the exterior steps of their brownstone.  Sunday she was able to go up on her own, one step at a time and carefully, but fully independent!  Really miraculous.  I had hesitated to bring her to NYC because of those steps and now feel comfortable to bring her any time."

It's never too late to take a pro-active approach to aging!

Joan on the Airwaves: You’re Invited to Listen In!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 11:10 am Eastern
Live on The Kim Pagano Show
KKZZ-AM Talk Radio, Metro Los Angeles, CA
And online here
Kim Pagano (no relation!) brings you "Experts and Reality."

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness month. What exactly is this condition and how do you know if you have it? When you think of osteoporosis, you think of a little old lady who falls down and breaks her hip; but osteoporosis is not just a disease of older women, it can affect women of all ages. Tune in to find out what exercises you can do at every decade of life for healthy bones; and then how to modify the program if you’ve been diagnosed.

NOF’s Generations of Strength Campaign encourages men and women alike to start conversations about bone health and family history as the first step to protecting against osteoporosis.

Success Stories: Louis Decides to “Drop a Decade”

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

I recently gave a presentation, "Drop a Decade, Get Fit, Stay Strong," to an audience of seniors at Judson Retirement Community  in Cleveland, Ohio.  We talked about how functional fitness gives you the ability to maintain an energetic lifestyle, and exactly what kinds of exercise you need to be able to perform various activities.

We defined an energetic lifestyle as one that allows you to continue doing all the necessary and pleasurable things that create a quality of life.  For you, it might be traveling, cooking, gardening, playing sports or conducting business activities.  Perhaps it's just being able to go out and about in town – driving, shopping, going to movies, museums and restaurants.

Functional exercise reinforces the physical abilities you need to be able to do these things, such as:
Walking distances
Carrying and lifting
Getting up and down to the floor
Reaching for things safely
Getting in and out of a car

In the audience was a man named Louis who had just turned 84 and appeared to be quite fit.  He told me he'd always been an avid gardener, but found that this year he could no longer get up from the ground when he was tending his plants.  He struggled to find a support that he could grab on to and had to crawl over to it.  Empowered by the message of my presentation, he asked his doctor if he could strengthen his legs with exercise and was given the go-ahead.  Exercise is the first step in re-capturing youthful function to "Drop a Decade."

Joan returns to “Doctor Radio” ShowSiriusXM

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Joan returns to "Doctor Radio" Show SiriusXM Radio Channel.81, 9-10 am ET, Wednesday, May 9
Call in with questions: 877-NYU-DOCS


The Sirius XM studio that broadcasts Doctor Radio is actually located within New York University (NYU) Hospital, so the docs can do the shows in their scrubs and the listeners are brought into the medical setting. I'll be appearing again with Dr. Marina Kurian, Bariatric Surgeon and Medical Director for the NYU Langone Weight Management Program. She's very sparky and a lot of fun!
We'll be discussing fitness training for osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Tune in to find out what exercises are best for building strong bones and maintaining them at every stage of a woman's life.  And then learn how to modify the exercise program with a five point plan if you've already been diagnosed with the condition.

Please call in with questions:  877-NYU-DOCS

Success Stories: Dr. Alvin is Right on Target!

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Dr. Alvin Jones continues to amaze in the ongoing saga of his weight loss program (check back through blog for previous posts).   Dr. Alvin reached another milestone this week when he weighed in at 289 pounds, breaking through the 290 mark on the scale. This makes a total weight loss of 37 pounds since late January, done at a safe and sustainable pace of 2 pounds per week. Now he only has 13 more to go before reaching his initial goal of 50 pounds.

How does he keep going down?  In addition to his daily cardio sessions, he is incorporating more "labor" into each day, whether it's scrubbing the floor, building bookshelves, or walking back from the car repair shop, etc.   He's aware that as he develops the habit of increasing his day-to-day activity level he's creating a lifestyle change that will continue to benefit him in the long run.

And of course, he's watching his diet closely and keeping a daily record of his workouts and food intake, to be reviewed by me and the nutritionist Cherie Calbom "The Juice Lady" who recently teamed up with us.

Stay tuned for more good news!