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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Good Health and Good Food - Happy Thanksgiving!

Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love how my parents house smells with a turkey roasting in the oven and various side dishes baking. I love pumpkin pie. Most importantly, I love how Thanksgiving brings my family together - immediate and extended. I'm always thankful for my family and good health, but this Thanksgiving I find myself hyper-aware of the nutritional value of what's going to be on our Thanksgiving table. I blame it on managing the Stitch Red campaign - a blessing and a curse, but I'd say more of a blessing. 

I started to think "is there really anyway to lighten my favorite dishes and not lose any flavor?" According to the American Heart/American Stroke Association there is a way to not compromise the flavor of our favorites! Here are a few tips...

1. Go with mashed sweet potatoes instead of white. Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, C, potassium, and fiber. I've always been a sweet potato gal, so that's an easy one right there (we'll pretend the almond, brown sugary goodness on top is healthy, too)! 

2. Load up on veggies. This is more of an every day note, but toss in more celery, onions or carrots to the stuffing. Maybe make a fresh cranberry relish (something my mom does really well!).

3. Cut down on some of the bread or opt for whole wheat.

4. Sacrifice fat, not flavor. Low-fat Buttermilk or Low-Sodium Chicken Broth is a great way to get the same deliciousness with less calories.

5. Limit the amount of salt you use - toss a little over the shoulder for good luck, instead of into the stuffing.

Hopefully these tips will help with your Thanksgiving preparations. 

From all of us at Jimmy Beans Wool, we wish you a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

What's getting our hearts racing...

Besides the Thanksgiving feasts that await each of us next Thursday, we have quite a few things we're thrilled to share!

In just over two and a half months we'll see the release of our second Stitch Red book, Sew Red. Much like Knit Red, Sew Red is a compilation of 27 sewn, quilted and embroidered patterns from some of the fabric industries most well-known designers. With patterns from Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Ty Pennington, Tula Pink, Deborah Norville (she wrote the forward for this one, too!), Anna Griffin, Denyse Schmidt, Suede, and so many more, we're just bursting at the seems for this February 2013 release!

Stay tuned for a Sew Red blog tour with a book giveaway starting February 1st. The schedule will be posted right here, so start checking back in January!

Also, we have another Stitch Red book in the works! It's still in its infancy, but we thought we'd ask you what sort of crochet designs are your favorites? We love Dora Ohrenstein's Little Red Fingerless Gloves, but what what other patterns would you like to see? Let us know and we'll see if we can make it a reality in our next Stitch Red adventure...

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heart-Healthy Foods you Might Not Have Known Of...

I say, enough about what we shouldn't be eating in order to stay heart health! What can we eat that could help us lower blood pressure and take a step towards fending off this number #1 killer? Thanks to Forbes, we found a great list of heart-healthy foods:

1. Non-fat Yogurt

Dairy products, on the whole, get a bad rap for being high in saturated fat, but non-fat yogurt is actually a great heart-healthy start to the day. The American Heart Association found that those who ate more non-fat yogurt were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure. Plain, non-fat yogurt may not sound all that appealing, but here's how you can spice it up: drizzle with a tablespoon of Agave Nectar, add some blueberries or raspberries (any berry!) and toss in a bit of heart-healthy All Bran. Delicious and nutritious!

2. Sunflower Seeds

I was surprised by this one, but these little fellas do fall into the nuts and legumes category - a generally heart-healthy bunch of goodies. However, these unsuspecting seeds are extremely high in Vitamin E, putting them above the rest of the nut and legume family. With just one handful you can consume 75% of your daily intake of Vitamin E!

3. Bananas

As a runner, bananas are a must in my diet. This popular fruit is potassium rich, which can help to relax artery walls and boost kidney function. This might seem like a lot, but 1.5 to 2 bananas a day could drop blood pressure 2-3 points, keeping the cardiologist at bay. I know plenty of people who aren't fans of this potassium packer, so if you're included in that bunch raisins, prunes and watermelon are also good sources of potassium.

4. Purple Potatoes

This specific potato contains antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation - a symptom of heart disease.

5. Spinach

All the credit is in the nitrates of these green leaves!

6. Oats

We've known for quite some time that high-fiber oats are heart-healthy.

7. Beets

The phytochemicals in beets not only give them their red color, but also help to lower blood pressure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Know your heart

Know your heart!
With the holiday season fast approaching - there's snow in Reno and I think that makes the holiday season official - I find myself preparing for my family's Thanksgiving feast, but ever since I started working on the Stitch Red campaign I seem to be hyper-sensitive to thinking about the food I eat and making sure I'm getting the right exercise. That said, I had no trick-or-treaters this Halloween and am now stuck with two bags of my chocolate-y favorites. After munching on one too many fun size snacks I decided to cleverly hide the goods at the top of my above sink cabinet that is only accessible with the use of a step ladder. I digress, 'tis the season for comfort food and the gals of Jimmy Beans are not opposed to the feasts awaiting each of us; however, Shape magazine did remind us of the typical - and not so typical - signs of a heart attack.

I'm thankful for good health and the good health of all my loved ones, but my heart-healthy goal is to be more aware and listen to my body. Surprisingly, the Heart Foundation reported that 435,000 women experience heart attacks each year. While women are more aware than ever, we'd like to see that number drop, so we figured (as did Shape magazine) that now is as good a time as any for a refresher. You know you're having a heart attack when you experience...

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

3. Toothache (this one took us by surprise!)

4. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

5. Cold sweat

6. Nausea

7. Lightheadedness

8. Overwhelming, sudden fatigue 

Be aware, but enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and be thankful for all the beauty in your life. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

High Blood Pressure - Danger to People as Young as 40

With a majority of the Jimmy Beans Wool staff under the age of 40, our eyes were caught by this article from Time: High Blood Pressure a Danger for People as Young as 40. Not only are we huge proponents of being aware and taking care of ourselves, so is The Heart Truth. While The Heart Truth's campaign is especially aimed at women ages 40-60 - that's when a woman's heart disease risk starts to rise - the campaign is also sending a message to women who are younger. Heart disease develops gradually, so it's crucial that women of all ages are aware - even us twenty and thirty-somethings.

I must admit, I studied English and Communications in school, so a lot of the scientific lingo in this article flies right over the top of my head; however, the main message is that the brains of people with hypertension (aka high blood pressure) can look up to 7.2 years older than the brains of people with normal blood pressure. The scariest bit of research was that "the team saw changes in brain structure among people with normal blood-pressure readings or systolic readings just slightly over normal." Being aware of your numbers and seeking treatment could shave 7.2 years off your brains health.

Now, what exactly does that mean for our brains? Can games of Sudoku at lunch help?

Brain games may not help the influence of hypertension on brain age, but the underlining message is clear. If we spread awareness, know the signs and symptoms, and take action by visiting our physician we can influence our late-life brain health by starting to treat high blood pressure at an early age (Sudoku games are still encouraged.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

We're hosting a Charity Knit/Crochet/Sew Night with a Special Surprise!

Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red are joining forces with Random House and the Red Scarf Project to hold a Knit For Charity Night on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 6-8 pm. Come join us to knit, crochet or sew a project for charity!

Random House has put together a nationwide knit night event where fiberists across the country will knit (crochet, sew) for charity and support Stitch Red. This knit night will present Nicky Epstein's new book, Knitting in Circles, a free red scarf pattern from Nicky's new book, and exclusive knitting tips from Nicky herself for attendees. The evening will culminate in an exciting drawing for all participants of the knit night events around the country!

You can knit for the Red Scarf Project sponsored by Foster Care for Success which gives red scarves on Valentines Day to college students that have grown up in the foster care system. We are offering to collect and send in the scarves - knit or crocheted - before December 15th. Or, choose your own favorite charity and project to support a cause near and dear to your heart!

Here are the guidelines for the Red Scarf Project:
1. Size: approximately 60" long and 5" to 8" wide. Scarves should be long enough to be wrapped around the neck, with tails long enough to be tied in the front.
2. Style: Think unisex collegiate. Fringes are optional. Your scarf should drape and tie easily. Soft scarves are a must, too!
3. Color: Red! However, this could mean burgundy, cherry, russet, red stripes with other colors, or multi-color hues including red.
4. Finished & tagged: Yarn ends should be securely sewing in. For a personal touch, attach a tag saying "Handmade for you" with your first name, city, and group affiliation, if any. Donors have also included washing instructions, messages of encouragement, gift cards, and more.

Double your charity giving this season by purchasing Knit Red (the first installment to the Stitch Red trilogy) and by using Stitch Red products in your charity knitting to support The Heart Truth and raise awareness of heart disease in women! To see all the available Stitch Red products, visit the Stitch Red website.

During the event we'll be drawing for three free raffles! The winner of each raffle will win a copy of Knit Red by Laura Zander or Knitting in Circles by Nicky Epstein.

The third drawing, sponsored by Random House, will be randomly drawn after December 15th from all entries received from all shops hosting a charity knit night. There will be two grand prizes and two runner up prizes given away!

The Grand Prize will include a Potter Craft Tote Bag stuffed with:
- A signed copy of Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block
- An exclusive project knitted by Nicky herself!
- A skein of red yarn, compliments of Cascade Yarns
- 2 Potter Craft knitting books
- A sock knitting "deck"
- Chocolate!

The Runner Up Prize will include a Potter Craft Tote Bag stuffed with:
- A signed copy of Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block
- A skein of red yarn, compliments of Cascade Yarns
- 2 surprise Potter Craft knitting books
- Chocolate!

And as if all this isn't enough! Everyone who attends this Charity Knit Night will get a special preview of our Friday Before Black Friday surprise - AKA "Operation Turkey Trot!"

Tours will be given to those who haven't had one and refreshments will be served.

This is going to be a fun night and we hope you join us!