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Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss

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February Recipes - Click Here

This month we celebrate love and romance with Valentine's Day, and we also celebrate Lent with Pancake Day!!!! So we have a double feature for you for February!! We start off with lots of recipes for different kinds of pancakes, both sweet and savory, for you to make before giving up all the goodies for Lent. You'll also learn about the origins of Pancake Day and how different countries are going to be celebrating. We also have a delicious meal ready for you to cook for your significant other to show how much you care. And you can even include the kids on this one because it's child-friendly too!! So have a wonderful Valentine's Day and have some pancakes, too!!!!!

We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at Hope to hear from all of you in the following months, and have a Happy New Year!!!

Pancake Day

Many people love to eat warm pancakes covered with butter and syrup in the morning. But did you know that there is actually a holiday where people celebrate and eat pancakes with their families and friends? It is a tradition that started many years ago in England.


Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a Christian holiday that was established in the 4th century as 40 days and is generally a period of fasting or other forms of self-denial. On Shrove Tuesday Christians went to confession and were "shriven" (absolved from their sins). People generally eat a lot and have fun the day before Lent begins. Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as Pancake Day because fats, which were generally prohibited during Lent, had to be used up. People would take all the eggs and dairy products that they had left in their kitchens and use them to make delicious pancakes.

Pancake tradition

A thin, flat cake, made of batter and baked on a griddle or fried in a pan, the pancake has a very long history and has been featured in cookbooks as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old: "And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne." (Pasquil's Palin, 1619).

Tossing pancakes

Certainly these days part of the fun of cooking pancakes is in the tossing. To toss a pancake successfully takes a combination of the perfect pancake and good technique - it's so easy to get it wrong and end up with half the pancake still stuck to the pan while the other half is stuck to the ceiling or floor. All in all, it's probably best to practice a few times without an audience.

Pancakes around the world

The relative ease of baking on hot stoves or on griddles has resulted in a variety of pancakes around the world. Old English batter was mixed with ale. German and French pancakes, leavened by eggs and much beating, are baked very thin and served with sweet or savoury fillings. The French crÍpe is thin and crispy - a crÍpe suzette is folded or rolled and heated in a sauce of butter, sugar, citrus juice, and liqueur. Russian blinis, usually prepared with buckwheat, are thin, crisp pancakes, and commonly served with caviar and sour cream or folded over and filled with cream cheese or jam. Mexico has its tortilla, which is often served folded over a bean or meat filling and topped by tomato sauce. American pancakes are thicker. They are sometimes called battercakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks and are usually leavened with baking powder or baking soda and served with syrup.

In the United Kingdom of Great Britian, Northern Ireland and several other countries around the world, Pancake Day is celebrated with fun, games, and of course a lot of eating. However, the most well known activity on this day is the Pancake Day race at Olney in Buckinghamshire, England which has been held since 1445. It all began when a woman was cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all of her perishables before Lent. While she was still cooking she heard the chiming of the bells summoning her to church. Not wanting to be late, the woman ran to church with her apron on and the frying pan still in her hand. Little did she know that this would start a tradition that would be around for over 500 years!

Only women are allowed to participate in this race. They must run a designated path with a frying pan and end up at the church. They must have a hot pancake in the frying pan which they must flip at least three times before they complete the race. The first woman to complete the race and arrive at church with the pancake is declared the winner. She then serves the pancake to the bellringer and is rewarded with a kiss from the bellringer called the "Kiss of peace". This race still occurs in England and in several other cities.

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Submitted by: Maria Albus

Spice Up Your Diet with International Flair

In your quest for a low-fat, high-fiber, low-carb lifestyle, things can become a bit dull. International cuisine, at home or away, can add zest to your meals without adding to your waistline.


When we think of French we think of foods filled with butter and cream. Today, the French cook lighter, with a focus on fresh garden ingredients and fewer flavors. The French currently eat about as much saturated fat as the Americans and the British. The French also match the US and the UK in terms of high blood pressure and cigarette smoking. However, the French's rate of fatality from coronary heart disease isn't much higher than that of the Japanese, who eat much less saturated fat and have lower cholesterol levels. So, why are the French so healthy? One of my favorite explanations is the wine! It is believed that it may help the heart by impeding the development of blood clots, which, by blocking the supply of blood to the heart muscle, can cause a heart attack. Despite this theory, professionals hesitate to recommend alcohol, so people do not get carried away with it. When eating French food, with or without wine, enjoy the following:


There are two traditional cuisines in Italy, North and South. Southern cuisine follows a Mediterranean diet, with lots of grains, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. Northern cuisine in contrast are full of beef veal, butter and cream. In American, Italian restaurants tend to mirror the northern style of cuisine. An average order of Fettuccini Alfredo includes nearly 435 calories from saturated fat, and an appetizer of fried calamari has 924 milligrams of sodium. Nevertheless, it is easy to have a healthy Italian meal. Try recipes of or restaurants with the following dishes:


It was observed that people on the Greek Island of Crete had only one-twentieth the American death rate from heart disease. Breads are the center of the Greek meal, other foods are considered accompaniments. Milk is seldom used and meat is reserved for special occasions. Vegetables are often a main course. Fruit is the main dessert. Here are some wonderfully healthy, flavorful Greek dishes:


Heavy on rice and vegetables and the sparing use of meat, Chinese food, in China, is a very healthy way of eating. American Chinese restaurants tend to rely on unhealthy sauces and meats. Authentic Chinese tend to rely on soy rather than meat for protein sources. This may give a double boost to their health. Although traditional Chinese food is healthy; you need to be choosy when dining out. Americanized Chinese food is often fried or prepared in oil. A typical serving of Kung Pao Chicken has more than 76 grams of fat! Investing in a wok and stir-frying meats and vegetables with a side of rice is a great, nutritious meal! When dining out try:


With Thailand's unusual spices and herbs, Thai cuisine has become a new culinary explosion. Thai stir-fry has the same vitamins benefits as Chinese and Japanese dishes prepared the same way, but be careful, many dishes are drenched in fattening coconut milk. Curried dishes, for example, can raise the fat content of a dish up to 40 percent. Many other dishes are prepared with cream. When dining out, no matter the restaurant, always ask how the meal is being prepared. Some wonderful healthy Thai favorites included:

Whatever different types of cuisines you experiment with, take in the cultures, the aromas and the atmosphere of each. It can turn a humdrum diet into a great culinary journey!

Written by: Marianne Westervelt

Weight Loss Surgery can be scary words or they can be words of hope. Most SSBBWs have thought of or had someone mention weight loss surgery. It's obviously not for everyone. There are SSBBWs who have accepted that they are large and always will be. There are some who like being large and don't want to change. And there are others who live day to day with pain, both physical and emotional, of carrying the extra weight that have various reasons for wanting to do something about it.

Everyone has a view on weight loss surgery be it good or bad or even neutral. Which is perfectly fine as we are all entitled to our opinions. One reader has made the decision to have weight loss surgery and will take us on her journey. What are your thoughts on weight loss surgery? Have you had weight loss surgery? Our forums are available for you to discuss and give your views on this topic.

Click here to read about our readers journey with weight loss surgery.

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