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Spa Water - Relax, Refresh and Hydrate with your Favorite Flavors
By Carol LeBeau
8/30/2013 11:17:13 AM


I can still remember my first spa experience. The day of pampering was a birthday gift from my husband – a relaxing day including a massage, facial, pedicure and a lovely (and healthy!) spa lunch on a peaceful patio surrounded by lush gardens. It was heavenly!

That special day years ago also included my first taste of spa “water.” Coolers of water throughout the facility were infused with fun flavors from cucumbers and lemons to mint and watermelon. Who knew water could be such a treat!

These days, you don’t have to pop for spa services to enjoy fruit and veggie-infused H20. Waiting for the color to set at my hair appointment last week, I relaxed with a glass of cool water infused with a delicious combination of fruits, veggies and herbs. Doug Yeagley, owner of TOPS Salon in Mission Hills, says he wants to provide his clients with a healthy alternative to coffee and sugary drinks.

“For good health, we need to drink lots of water,” says Yeagley. “But water can be boring. Why not add a little flavor and make a glass of ordinary water something special?!”

I’ve had cherry-flavored water in a hospital lobby and orange and pineapple-infused water at my gym. Even my favorite Coronado boutique features a cute cooler of water “seasoned” with basil and fresh chunks of strawberries.

And when you’re not out and about, why not have a taste of spa water at home? My friend, Pat always has a chilled pitcher of yummy water with all kinds of fun, floating fruits. (My fave is her lemon and ginger combo…so soothing.)

I’m excited about this growing trend that’s getting many of us to drink more water. We have an obesity epidemic in this country and replacing sugary soft drinks with healthy water alternatives is a great way to cut calories.

The summer heat has arrived. What better time to fill a water pitcher with your favorite fruits, veggies and herbs and drink to your health.

Here are 50 awesome flavored water ideas. Pick your favorite combo and have fun staying hydrated!

1. Watermelon
2. Cucumber
3. Lemon
4. Cantaloupe
5. Orange
6. Cherries
7. Lime
8. Grapefruit
9. Basil
10. Mint
11. Grapes
12. Blood orange
13. Rosemary
14. Lavender
15. Strawberries
16. Blackberries
17. Raspberries
18. Pineapple
19. Kiwi
20. Papaya
21. Honeydew melon
22. Fresh ginger root
23. Mango

And don’t be afraid to try fun combinations of the above ingredients. Get creative and combine them, so it never gets dull. Here are some of my favorites:

24. Watermelon and mint
25. Cucumber and mint
26. Lemon and mint
27. Cherry and lime
28. Watermelon and cucumber
29. Ginger and lemon
30. Orange and pineapple
31. Lemon and lavender
32. Lime and mint
33. Cucumber and lime
34. Lemon and basil
35. Strawberry and mint
36. Blackberry and ginger
37. Lemon and blueberry (yum!)
38. Thyme and blackberries
39. Cucumber and rosemary
40. Cantaloupe and watermelon
41. Cucumber, lemon and mint
42. Lemon and lime
43. Strawberry and basil
44. Cranberry juice and lemon (use a capful of unsweetened cranberry juice)
45. Ginger and lime
46. Pineapple and mango
47. Strawberries and lime
48. Orange, lime and lemon (my absolute favorite!)
49. Lemon and a pinch of cayenne
50. Papaya and mango

The possibilities are endless! Have fun coming up with your own creative combos. Then, drink up!

Helpful hint! For the herbs, crush or chop them up to get the best flavor. Similarly, squeeze citrus wedges, slick or cube melons and crush berries.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Turkey Burgers (without the blah!)
By Carol LeBeau
8/21/2013 1:11:06 AM


Planning a backyard barbecue bash? Break out the burgers…just make sure you have an option for your beef-less friends!

Turkey burgers are a great, healthful alternative to beef, but frankly, they can be a bit bland. Even worse, the so-called “better” burgers are often so full of bread and other binders, you can end up loading up on carbs and empty calories rather than enjoying a healthy, high-protein, low-fat meal.

I find most prepared burgers disappointing, so I’ve been on the lookout for a turkey burger recipe I can make at home that’s healthy, delicious and not the least bit boring! The winner? A boffo burger with a little Greek influence. I tried it out on husband, Tom and got a big “thumbs-up!” Let me know what you think.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

¼ c. 2% plain Greek-style yogurt
2 Tbsp. chopped scallions
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 lb ground organic turkey breast
¼ c coarsely chopped pitted green olives
2 oz feta, crumbled
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
4 sm leaves butter lettuce
8 sm slices tomato
8 thin slices red onion

1. Stir together yogurt, scallions, and 2 tsp of the lemon juice in small bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix together turkey, olives, feta, Greek seasoning and remaining 2 Tbsp lemon juice until just combined. Form into 4 patties.
3. Prepare lightly oiled grill for medium heat. Grill patties, turning until golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees F), about 12 minutes
4. Serve burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato, onion and yogurt sauce.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Your Sunscreen May Keep You Cancer-Free and Wrinkle-Free
By Carol LeBeau
8/14/2013 10:22:16 AM


As a kid, I did some pretty stupid things.

When I was six, I couldn’t resist the urge to sneak a taste of the dog’s kibble. (Not bad, actually!) In church one Sunday when I was eight, I stuck a rosary bead up my nose. It took a doctor to retrieve the foreign object that had travelled up my sinus cavity.

Fortunately, those acts of stupidity did no long-term damage. I wish I could say the same about the years I spent stupidly lying in the summer sun slathered in baby oil…working on the perfect tan.

Sometimes there are consequences for being stupid.

As I write this, I can’t help but catch a glimpse of the ugly scar on my forearm from recent surgery to remove a second squamous cell skin cancer from my body. That divot in my arm is a constant reminder of my stupid decision to ignore the experts and, for decades, repeatedly overexpose my skin to the sun’s harmful rays.

Sometimes, there are consequences for being stupid.

But I figure there’s no point beating myself up about it. I can’t go back. Now, all I can do is look forward and come up with strategies that will allow me to enjoy the great outdoors while protecting myself from future sun damage. As you might imagine, I don’t go anywhere these days without hats, sun-protective clothing and lots of sunscreen!

And guess what? My new game plan may do more than protect me from future cancers. The generous coat of sunscreen that’s now part of my daily routine may also help wipe out my wrinkles!

Dermatologists have been telling us for years that using sunscreen regularly can protect skin against aging. Now there’s research to back it up!

In a study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers demonstrated that people who applied sunscreen every day showed 24 percent less skin aging (as measured by lines and coarseness of the skin) than those who used regular moisturizers.

Sunscreen has long been touted as a way to stave off photo-aging, or changes to the skin cause by sun exposure. While it makes good sense, from a scientific point of view, most of the evidence has been anecdotal. There simply hasn’t been hard evidence in humans to support the claim.

Well, no more. The numbers are in and they don’t lie. Routine use of sunscreen saves skin. And if, like me as a foolish, young woman, you’re not motivated to slap on a little sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, then could I possibly appeal to your vanity?

As one study researcher explained, the results have “double significance,” since the reduced skin damage from UV rays also translates to a lower risk of skin cancer. It’s a win-win!

Have fun in the sun, but don’t risk the health and beauty of your skin for the few seconds it takes to slather on a little sun protection. Trust me, the consequences aren’t worth it.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Hot Dogs - My Guilty Pleasure!
By Carol LeBeau
8/8/2013 1:36:24 PM

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of counting carbs, calories and fat grams. I’m as concerned about my health as the next guy, but once in awhile, I’d rather not know if what I’m eating has enough protein, antioxidants or dietary fiber. Frankly, when it comes to food, many of us have gotten just a little uptight. Sometimes, I just want to relax and enjoy something that tastes good!

I don’t know about you, but my guilty pleasures include hot sourdough bread with butter, dark chocolate-covered cranberries and homemade vanilla milkshakes topped with whipped cream.

And I absolutely love hot dogs. But not just any dog will do. It wasn’t easy finding a great hot dog in the San Diego area. But it was worth the effort. Tom and I finally found the most fabulous franks at a friendly Coronado eatery called Delux Gourmet Hot Dogs.

Now, when a hot dog craving hits, Tom and I head to Coronado’s Orange Avenue for what can only be described as “heaven on a bun!” By the way, growing up in West Virginia, where hot dogs (with chili, mustard and coleslaw) are practically the state food, my Tom is an expert on what makes a decent dog.

Delux Gourmet Hot Dogs was opened last year by hot dog lovers…for hot dog lovers. They serve only Chicago’s Vienna Brand all beef hot dogs. They steam, then griddle the dogs to a slight char, then serve ‘em up in a home style, soft, steamed buns.

You can pick your own toppings or choose from a menu filled with creative combos from the “Coney Island,” “Windy City” and “New Yorker” to the “Top Dog” (with blue cheese crumbles, crispy onions, BBQ sauce, mustard and tomatoes) to the pastrami-stuffed “Reuben Dog” and the adventuresome “Tokyo,” topped with teriyaki glaze, Japanese mayo, grilled onions, sesame seeds and dried seaweed chips.

We made our most recent trek to “Delux” with our neighbors, Dave and Linda and their two boys, Nate and Drew – a fun way to spend a summer evening (and not worry about cooking!) Nate ordered the “All American.” Drew went for the “Slider Dogs,” two, tiny versions of their all-beef hot dogs on tiny buns with French fries.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the French fries! They’re amazing! Thin, crisp…seasoned to perfection…absolutely addictive! I also recommend their fresh lemonade but if you want to go back in time, give the “Orange Avenue Whip” a try –
that frothy, frozen vanilla-orange delight we all remember.

And if you still have room, you gotta try (I advise sharing!) one of their exclusive “Beachy Cream” ice cream sandwiches in five different flavor combinations.
I understand hot dos and ice cream come under the heading of special occasion food…not something we should indulge in every day. But even the health experts say it’s ok to splurge once in awhile.

So find something special to celebrate and take the family out for hot dogs to die for. Remember, when it comes to nutrition, it’s not what you do some of the time but what you do most of the time that mattes to your overall health.

You can always get back to obsessing about antioxidants tomorrow! ?


Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

By Carol LeBeau
8/1/2013 3:18:48 PM

I hope you don’t mind, but I just have to brag a bit about my Dad.  A “health nut” before it was fashionable, my Dad, Carter LeBeau, not only taught me the importance of healthy living, he has inspired countless others. 

Dad was honored recently at a celebration in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for 40 years of participation in the bicycling event known as RAGBRAI.   But even more than his participation in the ride, at 86, my Dad has been an inspiration and encouragement to thousands of cyclists…in Iowa and beyond.

RAGBRAI is an acronym for the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.  It’s the granddaddy of all cross-state bike rides, drawing cycling enthusiasts from around the world – from beginning bikers to seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong.

Palomar Health physician and Iowa native, Dr. Joan Meyer makes the trek “home” every year to do RAGBRAI.  “I wouldn’t miss it, “says Meyer of the fun, folksy and challenging cycling event across the Hawkeye state. (see photo)

RAGBRAI is an annual, seven-day, bike-riding party that begins in a selected community along Iowa’s western border and ends in a town along the state’s eastern border.  Ten thousand riders cycle some 470 miles while each year, seven different communities “host” the throng…providing everything from welcoming cheers and free lemonade to campsites and host homes.

The oldest, largest and longest touring bicycle ride in the world, RAGBRAI celebrated 40 years of riding in July and my Dad has been on every one.

It all began when two Des Moines Register newspaper feature reporters decided to go on a bicycle ride across Iowa, writing about their experiences.  Of 300 riders starting the ride, 114 (including my Dad!) completed the trek.

But while he’s pedaled all the miles over the years, his most important roles have been as encourager, cheerleader and mentor to cyclists just starting out.  Before it was fashionable, Dad knew the importance of physical fitness.  But he also believed fitness should be fun. 

After retiring, Dad began a new career of organizing other cycling events including the popular TOGIR, TIGER, BEAR and LION rides.  He’s bicycled cross-country twice, celebrated his 66th birthday by cycling the entire Route 66 and, with a buddy, biked from Sydney to Melbourne…Australia!!

He’s advocated for improved bicycle lanes, helped lead the Quad Cities Bicycle Club in its exploding growth and speaks to civic groups about the benefits of biking.  My nephews call him, “Grandpa Bike!”

As for me, I’m so proud of my Dad and celebrate his 40-year milestone with RAGBRAI and his many years of promoting health and fitness through an event and sport he so loves!  Way to go, Dad!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.


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