We are square into the doldrums of winter.
New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory, and snow and ice have made it hard to keep up with exercise. Worse, cold, snowy days make us crave hot chocolate and doughnuts more than ever.
But Fat Tuesday has passed, and it’s Lent, the season of austerity. Kinklings are behind us, and spring is still weeks away. In the meantime, we can use this time to assess our diets and make some changes.
That craving for sweets, for example, can just as easily be fulfilled with fruit as with cookies or doughnuts. Good fruits are still available even in winter. Grocery stores are filled with selections of oranges and grapefruits, which are harvested in the cold months in Florida.
Florida oranges may not be as uniform as California oranges, but the variety is amazing. The Minneola and Orlando tangelos are sweet-tart, and peel easily. There are also the Valencia, the Temple and the Navel oranges, and many varieties of tangerines.
This is also the time for Florida strawberries, which provide a real midwinter treat. Florida strawberries aren’t as plentiful this year as usual, because of a December freeze. But if you see them, buy them. For those of us on the East Coast, they can be tastier than their California cousins because they aren’t shipped as far.
Bananas, mangoes, persimmons, kiwis and pomegranates provide more fruitful variety.
And don’t forget the smoothie. These aren’t just for summertime. Blend fruit and plain, low-fat yogurt together for a satisfying, complex carbo-laden snack. Frozen fruit also works well for smoothies. You’ll get the same satisfaction you would have received from a piece of chocolate cake.
Speaking of motivation, there are a few local events going on to prompt yourself to eat better. One is a screening of the movie “Food Matters,” at 7:30 p.m. March 4, at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick. Cost for the movie is $5.
The 80-minute documentary focuses on helping us look at diet and nutrition as a way to overcome health problems. The film encourages us to eat fewer processed foods with fewer chemical additives.
The film is sponsored by Creating Wellness LLC of Frederick. Afterward, there will be a question and answer session with Dr. Marianne Rothschild, Dr. Donna Acree, Dr. Amir Rashidian, Ryan Diener and Alyse Best Muldoon.
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There will be a free wellness presentation at 6 p.m. today at the Frederick Chiropractic Wellness Center.
John Hess, clinical nutritionist, will speak on the Standard Process Purification Program, which emphasizes supplements and whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. The program restricts high-calorie, refined foods and unhealthy fats.
Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call 301-695-0032 to reserve a seat.
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The Frederick County Health Department is bringing back Power to Prevent, its diabetes prevention program that began last fall. This 12-week program begins the first week in March. Registration is at 6 p.m. today and Thursday at the Frederick County Health Department, 350 Montevue Lane, Frederick, entrance D, room 2-139.
Each of the 12 sessions is once a week for two hours. Participants engage in 30 minutes of physical activity and learn general information about diabetes, making healthy food choices and how to be more physically active.
The sessions are led by a registered dietitian and a community lay educator. The classes will be 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays at the New Dimension Worship Center, 919 N. East St., in Frederick, and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays at the Health Department. English/Spanish interpretation will be available Thursdays.
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There will be an H1N1 flu vaccination clinic 1 to 4 p.m. March 7 for the minority community at Grace Community Church.
Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Burmese and other interpreters are needed to help people fill out forms. If interested in interpreting, e-mail Elizabeth Chung at email@example.com. Donations are also being sought for light snacks and beverages.
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Students at Orchard Grove Elementary School raised more than $3,000 in the school’s recent Pasta for Pennies fundraiser to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Cherie Fisher, whose husband is fighting lymphoma, organized the event. The students proudly presented a check for the amount raised to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at the Orchard Grove Health and Fitness Fair, which took place Feb. 4.