Reality Based Nutrition
The page you are currently on is the collection of Mary’s current Reality Based Nutrition blog posts, from January of 2017 until now.
To see previous the posts of previous years, please click on the following links:
posted July 17th, 2017
I am writing this post in response to several emails I have received recently about essential oils. This is a huge subject. What are essential oils? Are they regulated by the FDA? How are they made? Are there any safety issues? When & how do you use them? These are great questions, keep reading for the answers!
On the FDA website, there is a page devoted to Aromatherapy. “Under the law, how “aromatherapy” products are regulated depends mainly on how they are intended to be used.
FDA determines a product’s intended use based on factors such as claims made in the labeling, on websites, and in advertising, as well as what consumers expect it to do. We also look at how a product is marketed, not just a word or phrase taken out of context. Finally, we make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
If a product is intended for a therapeutic use, such as treating or preventing disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug. For example, claims that a product will relieve colic, ease pain, relax muscles, treat depression or anxiety, or help you sleep are drug claims.
Such claims are sometimes made for products such as soaps, lotions, and massage oils containing “essential oils” and marketed as “aromatherapy.” The fact that a fragrance material or other ingredient comes from a plant doesn’t keep it from being regulated as a drug.
Under the law, drugs must meet requirements such as FDA approval for safety and effectiveness before they go on the market. To find out if a product marketed with drug claims is FDA-approved, contact FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), at email@example.com.
This is important to know. If you see an essential oil that claims to cure cancer it is considered a drug & is subject to the same regulations as any medication. More than likely it is a false claim & should be reported to the FDA. I am not in favor of “over regulation” by the FDA but I am in favor of protecting vulnerable populations.
Essential oils have been very popular for several years. Mountain Rose Herbs sells 42 different essential oils. Other companies sell over 80 essential oil singles. There are countless numbers of combinations of oils sold as well. Amazing selections!
On the EWG.org: Skin Deep Cosmetic Data Base site, you can search for the safety of a product with essential oils or an essential oil itself by company. Here are examples for my search of the essential oils by NOW
Essential Oils are an exceptionally concentrated oil that has been extracted from a plant by steaming, pressing or by a solvent. The preferred way is by steaming or pressing. The extraction process is dependent upon the plant. Some are very fragile & require a specific type of process. The resulting oil smells like the original plant & is volatile, which means it can evaporate easily at normal temperatures.
If you are interested in the different processes of extraction, NAHA, National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, has a very thorough article on the subject. How Are Essential Oils Extracted?
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The History of Food Fads in the U.S.
posted July 10th, 2017
You should know by now how I feel about fad diets. I was interested to find out why, when & where this crazy attitude about food began? I think you will be surprised, I was!
The why isn’t too shocking. Women & men have had this need to ‘look good” at whatever cost to their health for a very long time. Looking good has not always meant being thin. For women, during some periods of history, it meant being what would be considered plump & curvy by the current standards. It also meant trying to have a young boys figure for those flapper dresses in the 1920’s & again during the 1960’s when looking like Twiggy was all the rage. Jack LaLane defined what a man’s body should look like starting with his health club in 1936! The problem with this is that most women & men, no matter how much, or how they lose weight, will never conform to those images.
I found this abstract on PubMed very interesting. Regime change: gender, class, and the invention of dieting in post-bellum America. by Katharina Vester The crux of the abstract is to argue against the idea that women were encouraged to diet in the 1920’s as a way to control them from further independence. She offers that dieting started way before then, in the 1860’s, & targeted white, middle class males instead. Because the men were building up their bodies & losing weight, women began to do the same. “Revising the history of dieting to show its origins as a masculine practice appropriated by women to stake a claim to class and race privilege invites a rethinking of power and resistance in the disciplining of the female body.” The abstract is short & an interesting idea. Give it a read.
To prove the point, here is the ~not so pretty~ history of some fad diets. The sad part is that some of these exist today.
Maeve Hanan gave me permission to use this wonderful info-graph from her site dietetically speaking. She is a Registered Dietitian from Ireland, currently working in England. She wrote this very interesting article about fad diets: A Brief History of Ridiculous Fad Diets by Maeve Hanan, March 20th, 2016.
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Have You Met Polenta?
posted June 26th, 2017
Polenta tubes are a staple in our pantry. My husband likes to use it for a quick snack or for his lunches. I like to use it instead of pasta in some recipes. If you haven’t met Polenta, you are missing out.
Polenta is made from cooked cornmeal, making it gluten-free. It can be made with white or yellow corn; yellow is the most often seen. It was considered peasant food in Northern & Central Italy but is now a delicacy. I have seen it called “Italian Grits”. Before the 16th century, polenta was made with spelt, rye or buckwheat. In the 16th century, corn was exported from America to European countries. It was at this time that polenta was made from corn. If you are interested in a more detailed history of polenta: Italy Heritage, traditional foods: Polenta
Polenta is very easy to make. 1 cup of cornmeal will make about 3+ cups of polenta. Here is a basic recipe from Cooking Lessons from the Kitchen.
How To Make Creamy Stovetop Polenta , Makes about 4 cups
What You Need
Ingredients …Instead of butter or cheese you can add herbs for flavor.
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
1 cup cheese (optional)
1-3 tablespoons butter (optional)
2- to 3-quart pot with lid
Long handled spoon or sturdy spatula
Bring the water to a boil. Bring the water to a brisk boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt.
Pour the polenta into the boiling water. While whisking gently, pour the polenta into the boiling water in a steady stream.
Continue whisking until polenta is thickened. Turn down the heat to low and continue whisking until the polenta has thickened enough that it doesn’t settle back on the bottom of the pan when you stop stirring.
Cook the polenta 30-40 minutes. Cover the polenta and continue cooking. Stir vigorously every 10 minutes or so, making sure to scrape the sides, bottom, and corners of the pan. Cook 30 minutes for softer porridge-like polenta or 40 minutes for thicker polenta.
Stir in cheese and butter, if using. Stir the cheese and butter into the polenta, if using. Serve immediately, or cover the pan and let it sit at the back of the stove for up to 15 minutes before serving.
Leftover Polenta: Polenta will solidify into the shape of the container in which you store it. Leftover polenta can be sliced or cubed before being roasted, grilled, or deep-fried. To make it creamy again, warm it with a little broth, milk, or water, and stir vigorously. It won’t be quite as creamy as it was originally, but it should still be pourable.
Per serving, based on 6 servings. (% daily value)…when made with butter & cheese.
Fat 10.7 g (16.4%)
Saturated 6.1 g (30.7%)
Trans 0.4 g
Carbs 21 g (7%)
Fiber 1 g (4.1%)
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 6.4 g (12.9%)
Cholesterol 29.4 mg (9.8%)
Sodium 517.5 mg (21.6%)
Livestrong has a good article on the Nutrition Information of Polenta…
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June Nutrition Nuggets
posted June 26th, 2017
June is nearly over! The summer solstice is past us, and the days will be getting shorter. The months seem to be going by quite fast. What was new in the health news for June?
I believe the biggest shocker to anyone who is interested in their diet or nutrition is whether or not coconut oil is a healthy choice. Lets start with that. Remember, fats are not all the same. Here is an excerpt from my post Healthy Oils/Fats:
•Trans Fats: Being banned by the FDA. Most trans fats are made from highly processed oils; called partial hydrogenation. Research has shown them to be unhealthy for consumption and that is why they are banned in European countries & are being banned here.
•Saturated Fats: They are solid at room temperatures. Less than 7% should be in your diet.
•Polyunsaturated Fats: They are always liquid even when refrigerated. Each type of polyunsaturated oil contains a different Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. Check the labels. Your body needs both but the Omega 3’s should be higher.
•Monounsaturated Fat: Liquid at room temperature but becomes cloudy when refrigerated. Choose oils that are highest in monounsaturated fats. These are the “healthy oils”. These oils contain more Omega 3’s.
CBS News ran this article, along with a video, on June 16th: Why you should replace coconut oil with healthier fats: The American Heart Association (AHA) released a report this week aimed at setting the record straight in the long-running debate over the healthiest fats. A recent New York Times survey found that 72 percent of Americans think coconut oil is healthy but only 37 percent of nutritionists agree with them.
The AHA says that replacing saturated fats found in coconut oil or butter with vegetable oils like corn or peanut can lower cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent. That’s almost the same amount as a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. I want to mention here that corn & soy oil is GMO unless it is Organic. Extra Virgin Olive oil, a mono-saturated fat, would be my choice.
In the video, Dr. Tara Narula said: But the reality is when you look at what coconut oil is made of, 80 percent of it is saturated fat and that’s similar to butter which is about 60 percent saturated fat or beef fat which is about 40 percent,” Narula told “CBS This Morning.” “Saturated fat raises the LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol so coconut oil is going to have that same effect as butter and beef fat.”
There is such a thing as the “halo effect”, where a food goes from bad to a super food status from one study or a celebrity endorsement. We have seen this happen many times. This has happened to coconut oil. It is not a “bad” oil but it is a saturated fat.
Based on all that I have read about this, coconut oil can be used, but in moderation. The AHA has recommended that no more than 7% of your total calories per day should come from saturated fat. For example, with 2000 calories a day your saturated fat limit is 16 grams or 140 calories from saturated fat. On the label of my coconut oil it states that 1 tablespoon = 13 grams of saturated fat.
Coconut oil advocates argue that it is a healthy fat because it is plant based. Not all plant based oils are healthy. They also point to cultures who exclusively use coconut oil in their cooking. Yes, but they don’t have the same lifestyle & fast foods that we have. I can list all the arguments for its use as a food, but research does not back them up. Consume it in moderation.
It still has many uses as a skin moisturizer & in other beauty products. Don’t throw it away, just move it to your bathroom. 🙂
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Food & Mood.
posted June 19th, 2017
You have read &/or heard my opinions on food & mood for a very long time. On many occasions I have encouraged you to start a food diary that also notes how you feel emotionally after you eat a specific food or a meal. This is why you should start doing this…
I saw an article on BBC news regarding food & mental health. I decided to dig a bit further to see if I could find any research on the subject. We can all stand to improve our mental health, but especially when dealing with a life altering diagnosis.
This is the article that started my thoughts on the subject: How food can improve your mental health By Dr Rangan Chatterjee ~Doctor in the House~, 22 May 2017 Approximately one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year in England. As part of our fight against this, we have a very much under utilised tool – food. In BBC One’s Doctor in the House, I try to help 34-year-old Emma Gleeson, who has been experiencing anxiety, depression and panic attacks for many years.
This article is worth a serious look. The dramatic changes in her mental health is wonderful. Emma states: “I had been living on a diet of takeaways, fizzy drinks and general processed and convenience foods for as long as I can remember, and didn’t for one moment think that what I ate was contributing in any way to the anxiety and panic attacks I’d been experiencing for years,” she said.
“Since meeting and spending time with Dr Rangan, he has changed my entire outlook on food, and why certain foods were potentially having a negative impact on my mental health. I now only buy and cook with fresh food, I make my own stocks, I eat plenty of fish and I try to reduce the amount of sugar I consume. I feel so much better and intend to keep this up.”
Diet changes to effect a change in our mental health should be made along with any therapy or prescriptions you are already taking. This is not meant to replace mental health care if you need it.
In Psychology today: How Food Effects Mood has a list of articles written about food & mood. They are all very good. The first one is, Recent Links Between Food and Mood : The benefits of being a Mediterranean omnivore by Gary L. Wenk Ph.D.Your …Brain on Food, Posted Apr 08, 2015 “Considerable evidence has linked an unhealthy diet to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer. We now understand how chronic obesity ages us and then underlies the foundation of our death. Furthermore, obesity leads to body-wide chronic inflammation that predisposes us to depression and dementia. However, these are all the long-term consequences of our diet upon our body and brain. What about the short- term consequences? Can specific nutrients in my breakfast or lunch influence my brain’s function today? Intuitively, we would all agree that this is certainly likely. After all, being depressed or anxious can lead to poor dietary habits; conversely, poor dietary choices can lead to depression and anxiety. Although it can be difficult to determine which came first in some people, most relevant studies indicate that an unhealthy diet is a significant risk factor for future depressive symptoms (Br J Psychiatry 2009;195:408–413).” …
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posted June 12th, 2017
This time of year I prefer to be outdoors taking walks or working in the garden. I don’t want to be in the house cooking a complicated, time consuming meal. I want something easy to make & easy to clean up! The key to this is to prepare produce ahead of time, & to cook staples such as grains & beans to have on hand in the refrigerator.
Because my husband grows vegetables, we came to an agreement that he harvests our salad greens & any ripe fruits & veggies twice a week. This way, I can I spin dry the salad greens before I store them in a salad keeper for use when needed. Produce such as potatoes, tomatoes, beets & mushrooms I clean when I am ready to use them. Veggies like carrots, celery, & cucumbers, I clean & cut into bite size pieces. They can be stored for use in a quick meal or a grab & go snack.
I usually cook a pot of brown rice, or other grain; & a pot of beans or lentils, at the beginning of the week & store them in the frig to be used in salads or by themselves. I also bake potatoes & root vegetables all at the same time if I know I will be using them in a recipe during the week.
Real Simple: How to Store Fruits and Vegetables By Elizabeth Passarella, Keep your produce as fresh as possible with these guidelines* for storing fruits and vegetables. Excellent guide.
***Before you ask, I rinse everything with cold water. I don’t use vinegar or any commercial rinse product.
The latest newsletter from Oldways has some wonderful ideas for One-Dish Meals: Keep things simple in the kitchen this summer with healthy one-dish Mediterranean meals. There are plenty of traditional examples of these kinds of dishes. It’s no wonder the Mediterranean diet topped U.S. News’ list of the easiest diets to follow! Fewer dishes mean more time to relax while you’re cooking and enjoy your meal at the table. You might even have some extra time to take advantage of the sunny summer weather. Keep reading for our favorite one-dish Mediterranean meal ideas.
Here are two ideas from the newsletter:
Chicken Apricot Salad…An Oldways recipe
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What the heck is Jackfruit?
posted June 5th, 2017
I have been aware of Jackfruit for quite awhile but didn’t take an interest in it. To be honest, when I see the headline, “The New Superfood”, I ignore it. For the last 2 months I have seen Jackfruit mentioned in nearly all of my food related newsletters. Then, when shopping at our local natural foods market, I saw a package of marinated Jackfruit in the cooler by the tofu. I decided it was meant to be. 🙂 I needed to research this fruit, write about it & cook with it.
The ultimate place to learn about this fruit is The Jackfruit Company. Their March 9th, 2016, Blog: What Is Jackfruit Anyway? (Jackfruit FAQs) is a good place to begin.
WHAT IS JACKFRUIT?
The question gets asked all the time, since jackfruit is a word that has many arching a brow in curiosity. Considering we’re The Jackfruit Company, we love explaining what jackfruit is, where jackfruit comes from, how to cook with jackfruit, and why jackfruit is so nutritious.
Jackfruit is believed to have originated in Southern India thousands of years ago, but is now widely cultivated in tropical regions around the world: SE Asia, South America, Australia and the Caribbean where it has been enjoyed both in ripe and young forms. Jackfruit grows on trees (aptly named jackfruit trees!). A single jackfruit tree can produce 2 to 3 tons of fruit per year, with a single jackfruit growing up to 80 pounds big! Similar in growing style to bananas or coconuts, jackfruit is harvested straight from the tree. Very impressive!
Jackfruit is a drought-resistant, high-yield crop that enables us to provide substantial income to local families, who, up until recently, had no real means of monetizing the jackfruit already growing abundantly on their land. This company is pretty amazing.
Our mission at The Jackfruit Company is to twofold: to help more people all over the world eat this fiber-rich, nutrient-dense fruit (a single serving offers 20% of your daily fiber recommendation!) and generate new income for local farmers in India, our partners who source the young jackfruit.
What’s more, jackfruit is recognized as a high-fiber whole-food meat alternative that will shape the future — and change, for the healthier, the center of the plate. Jackfruit is a good meat substitute because it is soy-free & gluten free. Most meat substitutes are made with soy & or gluten (seitan for example).
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May Nutrition Nuggets
posted May 29th, 2017
Nutrition Nugget posts are my favorites to write. We are so over saturated with political news that we miss the articles about health & wellness. Many new studies of interest are published every day. I enjoy wading through them. May’s articles range from fruit juice, chocolate, alcohol consumption to aspirin & diets. 🙂 There are two “I told you so” moments for me. I will begin with them.
If you have been following my posts you know that I equate drinking fruit juice with drinking colas. Fruit juice is concentrated fructose with some vitamin & minerals, but sugar all the same. Even though this is a pediatric study, the information is for all ages.
NPR: Pediatricians Advise No Fruit Juice Until Kids Are 1 May 22, 2017, by KATHERINE HOBSON “We want to reinforce that the most recent evidence supports that fruit juice should be a limited part of the diet of children,” says Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and an author of the guidelines, which were published Monday in Pediatrics.
Whole fruit is a much better way to get all the vitamins and nutrients of fruit, the guidelines say. Whole fruit contains fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar by the body, and it also makes you feel fuller than juice, which can prevent overeating. That is an important point…Whole fruit contains fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar by the body. Fruit juice does not have the fiber so it is absorbed quickly. It takes 2-4 medium oranges to make one cup of juice; 5-8 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Cola has 5 teaspoons per 8 ounces.
The article goes on to say…these new guidelines don’t apply to fruit drinks, which contain less than 100 percent juice and have added sweeteners. Those fall into the category of sugar-sweetened beverages, along with soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, and frequent consumption is associated with poor health outcomes, according to the CDC. An exception is that sports drinks may be useful for child or teen athletes who are exercising heavily, the AAP said in a 2011 clinical report. Sports drinks are not an option for cancer patients. Unless you are doing Zumba with Alessandra 🙂
Smoothies, too, fall into the “treat” category, says Abrams. As they should be if made with fruit juice. Smoothies can be made in your blender with a nut milk base, 10-20% whole fruit & 80% whole veggies along with other healthy ingredients. They should not be used as a substitute for a meal, except for breakfast. They are especially good for a pick-me-up in moderate amounts between meals. Check out my post in 2015 about Smoothies!
Colon Cancer & Lifestyle Changes
posted May 22nd, 2017
The NIH: National Cancer Institute, predicts 135,430 new cases of colon cancer in 2017. In a new study that I will be discussing in this post, the lead researcher, Erin Van Blarigan, ScD, said that there are over 1.3 million colon cancer survivors in the US.
This newest study shows how important diet & life style can be in reducing the risk & recurrence of colon cancer. In my research I have found that these same guidelines should be followed by all cancer survivors/thrivers.
What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer locations The Mayo Clinic has an informational page about Colon Cancer The overview states that: “Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.”
~Important to note~ WebMD writes; “Although most colorectal polyps do not become cancer, virtually all colon and rectalcancers start from these growths.”
Under Prevention, the Mayo Clinic recommends, besides yearly screening, the following:
Make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:
•Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
•Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. I still have a difficult time with this recommendation to limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. It seems excessive to me.
•Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
•Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. I recently read that 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise is recommended. 30 minutes a day on a bike or walking, 5 days a week.
•Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat. Age old sound advice.
Vegan Comfort Foods.
posted May 15th, 2017
Had an inexplicable craving for pancakes this past week. When I looked more closely it was a need for comfort food. I am not a pancake person so I needed to find a healthy version. Since I don’t usually have eggs, milk or butter on hand, I looked for a vegan recipe. In my research I found some fun sites for vegan comfort food! More than just pancake recipes!
This vegan website said it so well; even vegans need comfort food. VegKitchen “Vegans need comfort food just as much as anyone else. Salads and smoothies are great, but during sad or difficult moments, or when you’re under the weather, they just don’t do the trick. Warm and soothing, comfort foods also contain just the right amount of nostalgia — and love.”
A sample of their recipes: Vegan “Chick-Un” Noodle Soup “This simple, tasty soup recalls a comfort food from my childhood — minus the poor bird. Chickpeas or baked tofu do the trick, adding substance and flavor to this soothing soup. There’s a Yiddish proverb that goes: “Worries go down better with soup.”
Serves: 6 ~Click on the recipe to see photos & additional notes.
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•2 large celery stalks, finely diced
•3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
•2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 small onion, minced
•32-ounce container low-sodium vegetable broth ~I like “NotChick’n” broth cubes.
•2 cups water
•2 teaspoons salt-free all-purpose seasoning blend (like Frontier or Mrs. Dash) ~Lemon pepper would be good.
•4 to 6 ounces small pasta rings (anellini) or
short noodles (cut vermicelli or angel hair pasta work well)
•1 cup cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) chickpeas, coarsely chopped,
or 4 to 6 ounces baked tofu, finely diced
•Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
•2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1.Heat the oil slowly with 3 tablespoons water (or broth) in a large soup pot. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and onion. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
2.Add the broth, water, and seasoning blend. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
3.Raise the heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Add the noodles and simmer steadily for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente. Add the chickpeas or diced tofu, then season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too crowded, add a cup or two of additional water or broth. Stir in the fresh dill and serve.
Per serving: Calories: 157; Total fat: 5g; Protein: 7g; Fiber: 2g; Carbs: 21g; Sodium: 163mg…
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posted May 8th, 2017
Spring is here. Flowers are everywhere, & so are the weeds. We have been busy cleaning up the flower gardens & planting veggies. My Sage & Thyme ‘drowned’ in the epic rain we have had in the Pacific Northwest. The other herbs did okay & are coming back. I have decided to try growing the sage & thyme in pots in my herb garden this year. Hopefully with well draining soil they will winter over better. I am so ready for the fresh salad greens & veggies that I have been looking on line for some new recipes. Here is what I found
One of the websites that I continue to go back to for recipes is Elena’s Pantry. I like the way she writes & her recipes are delicious. She has a tab that says “Special Diets”. If you click on a diet that you are interested in, there are recipes for it. I chose this recipe from her latest Cinco de Mayo Newsletter, because I know many of you eat turkey & it is very simple.
Green Chili Turkey Burgers May 17th: “These 7-ingredient Green Chili Turkey Burgers are a super popular paleo recipe. Made with ground turkey, green chiles, cilantro, onion, cumin, chili powder, and salt, my loaded paleo burgers are stuffed with spicy goodness! Better yet, they are an absolute cinch to throw together.
•2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies, drained
•1 pound ground turkey ~You can also use vegan chorizo, ground seitan or even beans.
•1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
•½ cup onion, finely chopped
•2 teaspoons cumin
•1 teaspoon chili powder
•1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
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Fraudulent Cancer Cures?
posted May 1st, 2017
The FDA is once again cracking down on companies that are making the assertion that their products prevent, treat or cure cancer in people & in pets. Let’s look at why these products were targeted & what to look for on labels. I will also look at individual products that have been around for a long time & continue to be popular.
As an RN, a Reiki Master/Teacher, certified in homeopathy, flower essences & growing/working with medicinal herbs, I want to get my two cents in. The above therapies are legitimate & can boost your immune system, lower your stress & help with side effects of cancer treatment. But they will not “cure” cancer. They can help you to “heal yourself”. “Cure” is a physical outcome. To “heal” is to balance your body, mind & spirit. A cure can take place when you believe 100% + that something will cure you. These are miracles & we all know that they can occur.
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, there is a small window of opportunity to start treatment to get the rogue cancer cells under control to effect a cure or to treat the cancer as a chronic disease. If that person goes for the alternative therapy~ claiming a “cancer cure”~ that they heard or read about, & not go for the conventional treatment, then they are putting themselves at risk of the cancer growing larger or spreading. That is not to say that you should not use other treatments of your choice. Get a diagnosis, talk with your oncologist & make decisions together. I have had patients choose other therapies while they were being monitored by their oncologist to see if it was working. Other’s had the conventional treatment while using complementary therapies with the blessing of their health care team. Both scenarios have positive outcomes.
It is ultimately your choice. Be informed.
I will let the FDA tell you in their own words why they review what is being targeted to cancer patients. Products Claiming to “Cure” Cancer Are a Cruel Deception “Anyone who suffers from cancer, or knows someone who does, understands the fear and desperation that can set in,” says Kornspan. “There can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure.”
Legitimate medical products such as drugs and devices intended to treat cancer must gain FDA approval or clearance before they are marketed and sold. The agency’s review process helps ensure that these products are safe and effective for their intended uses.
Nevertheless, it’s always possible to find someone or some company hawking bogus cancer “treatments,” which come in many forms, including pills, capsules, powders, creams, teas, oils, and treatment kits. Frequently advertised as “natural” treatments and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, such products may appear harmless, but may cause harm by delaying or interfering with proven, beneficial treatments. Absent FDA approval or clearance for safety, they could also contain dangerous ingredients.
That holds true for treatments intended for humans and those intended for pets. “Increasingly, bogus remedies claiming to cure cancer in cats and dogs are showing up online,” Kornspan says. “People who cannot afford to spend large sums at the animal hospital to treat cancer in their beloved dogs and cats are searching for less expensive remedies.”
Remember that the word cancer is an umbrella term describing how a rogue cell acts. Each type of cancer is a disease in its own right. Due to our unique health history as an individual, even the same cancer diagnosis does not progress in the same way for each person. Treatments must be individualized. “One size does not fit all.”…
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April Nutrition Nuggets
posted April 24th, 2017
April’s Nutrition Nuggets have been very interesting. I had quite a few to choose from. Of course the one that intrigued me most was about coffee I will start with that one & end with my other favorite subject; the Mediterranean diet. But don’t miss out on the fish & frozen veggie guides along with other nutritional information.
As much as I love coffee, this article worried, no, actually scared me a bit. Only in the USA is “more” better. KTLA5: Black Insomnia: ‘World’s Strongest Coffee’ Now Available in U.S. “The “world’s strongest coffee” is now available in the US, but just one cup could spill you over the daily caffeine limit….“If you want to stand out, you need to be the ‘est’ — the biggest, smartest, strongest, or cheapest,” said Black Insomnia founder Sean Kristafor. “So when we wanted to compete in coffee, as a caffeine product, we had to be the strongest, but obviously, we don’t exceed the world guidelines.”
At $19/pound you get this…. “For the same amount of coffee, you will get double the amount of caffeine,” said Mary Sweeney, who researches the effects of caffeine at John Hopkins School of Medicine.
“This makes it easier to consume more caffeine than you intend to and effects can range from mild to severe, for example, jitteriness, nervousness, restlessness and trouble sleeping. The most serious effect would be cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).”
Kallmyer calls Black Insomnia and its competitor, supposedly the second world’s strongest coffee Death Wish, “insanely strong coffees.” I think I will take a pass on this coffee.
Black Insomnia has 720 mgm of caffeine per 12 ounce cup! Starbucks Blonde Roast has 475 mgm in a 20 ounce Vente cup. Here is a chart to check the caffeine in your favorite coffee, tea, soda or energy drink: Caffeine Chart from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
According to the Mayo Clinic: Caffeine: How much is too much? Mar 8, 2017 – Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks.
Looks like all the health benefits of coffee would be nil with one 12 ounce cup of Black Insomnia or Death Wish. With names like that it will appeal to some people. Insanely bad choice. 🙂
(…continue reading Mary’s Blog here!)
Clean Eating ~are there risks?
posted April 17th, 2017
I was listening to NPR’s A Way With Words last week when the term “clean sandwich” came up. Host Martha Barnette mentioned the following: “Some restaurants now advertise that they sell “clean” sandwiches. But that doesn’t mean they’re condiment-free or the lettuce got an extra rinse…. In the food industry, the word “clean” is taking on a whole new meaning. The word clean, as in clean food, has taken on a whole new life as a buzzword describing food free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, or added color. A restaurant chain now boasts clean sandwiches, and the topic is now covered by the magazine Clean Eating.” “Clean” has taken over the word “Green” & is gaining momentum. Green energy is now clean energy. Green eating is now clean eating. Are there real risks with clean eating?
This concept of clean eating has really taken off recently. A series of clean eating guide books & cookbooks, by Tosca Reno, started in 2007. It is said that she invented the clean eating diet based on her own experiences losing over 70 pounds. Here is a review of her book from 2016. WebMD: The Eat-Clean Diet: Diet Review “It sounds so simple and so trendy. “The Eat-Clean Diet is a lifestyle way of eating that allows you to eat more, weigh less, and become the healthiest you can be,” says Tosca Reno, author of The Eat-Clean Diet series.”
The Eat-Clean Diet: What You Can Eat. Foods allowed include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nonfat dairy, and healthy fats — preferably organic and eaten in proper portions every few hours.
The Eat-Clean Diet recommends avoiding all saturated fat, trans fats, overprocessed, refined foods — especially white flour, sugar, sugar-loaded colas, juices, and alcohol.
The bottom line: “The Eat-Clean Diet is a pure approach of healthy eating and exercise taken to the extreme. It is so structured, restrictive, and unrealistic that it may be difficult to follow long term. Take the questionable advice peppered throughout the book with a grain of salt, as there are lots of inaccuracies that are more opinion than scientific evidence. The best part of The Eat-Clean Diet is the motivation, nutrient-rich recipes, and meal plans that can help dieters shift toward including more healthy wholesome foods into their menus.” I looked at her cookbooks & they are very nice.
Here are the guidelines from her website: Tosca Reno
•Eat Clean foods only: whole, nutrient dense, well-sourced and properly prepared Excellent.
•Avoid all refined foods including sugar, refined grain products and fats Good advice.
•Eat several smaller meals per day spaced 21/2 to 3 hours apart (about 6 per day) Difficult to do if you are on the move.
•Never skip a meal especially breakfast We agree with that.
•Adjust portion sizes to suit your body and physical output Hmm, interesting concept. Not sure we can be unattached enough for that one
•Combine healthy fats + lean protein + complex carbohydrates in each meal Ok, that works for “My Plate”.
•Consume healthy fats, even those that are saturated Good.
•Drink 2 – 3 litres of water per day 3 litres = 12.75 cups.
After reading her site I agree with the WebMD review. It is too difficult to follow because it is so structured. But, I do like her guidelines & her recipes are wonderful!…
(…continue reading Mary’s Blog here!)
Strengthening Your Immune System
posted April 10th, 2017
We recently added a new educational page on the San Diego Cancer Research Institute website: Current Integrative Research & News. “With all the new and exciting Integrative Medicine research and news out there, SDCRI has decided to start sharing any relevant and interesting articles that we discover.”
The first article we shared was Cancer Is Partly Caused By Bad Luck, Study Finds. This article is very important. “Cancer can be caused by tobacco smoke or by an inherited trait, but new research finds that most of the mutations that lead to cancer crop up naturally….” Science agrees that 40% of cancers are preventable. The rest, according to this study, are mutations of the cells that are caused by random error. “… 66 percent of the total mutations are random, about 29 percent are due to the environment and the remaining five percent are due to heredity.”
Why am I sharing this on our nutrition site? Because the article suggests that 66% percent of cancers are not your fault, which is good to know, but it also says that there was nothing you could do to change the outcome. The article should give you some peace of mind knowing that the Snickers bar you succumbed to while pursuing the ultimate healthy lifestyle didn’t cause your cancer. It simply was not your fault. Does this mean that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t necessarily help?
Every person is unique. Each of us has a medical history to some degree. This medical history has an impact on your immune system. A compromised immune system opens up your risk of other opportunistic diseases & maybe even that cell that went crazy & has become cancerous. Having a healthy lifestyle may not change the crazy cell mutation but it can prevent other medical issues & it can strengthen your immune system.
We tend to think of medical terms as being one entity & having one definition. For example cancer. Cancer is an umbrella term for many kinds of cell mutations that act differently, effect different parts of the body & respond to different treatments. The same for immune system. The article below explains it very well. “Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to “support immunity” or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don’t know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.” To understand how to strengthen your overall immune system the following article is a must read.
The Harvard Medical School Publication website published this comprehensive article: How to boost your immune system: Tips to fight disease and strengthen immunity “Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
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Is a Gluten-Free Diet Really Linked to Diabetes?
posted April 3rd, 2017
The gluten-free diet seems to be in the news every week. There is even a new medical term for those who avoid gluten, PWAG’s; people without celiac disease avoiding gluten. According to Joseph Murry, M.D., a celiac disease researcher at the Mayo Clinic, 3.1 million Americans are PWAG’s.
Dr. Murry & colleagues published a study in January this year. The study’s objective: “To investigate the trends in the prevalence of diagnosed celiac disease (CD), undiagnosed CD, and people without celiac disease avoiding gluten (PWAG) in the civilian noninstitutionalized US population from 2009 to 2014.” This study has led to discussions as to why PWAGs are avoiding gluten & is this trend causing nutritional deficiencies.
The Washington Post article about this study, Why the ‘gluten-free movement’ is less of a fad than we thought , states that the researchers really didn’t expect the results they saw. At the time, they didn’t think to ask the participants why they were avoiding gluten. The number of people with Celiac disease has decreased but the number of people avoiding gluten has increased, tripling between 2009 & 2014. “Whatever the motivations of the PWAGs, Lebwohl said, he’s hopeful that their growth will spark more discussion of the complex questions that still surround gluten intolerance. As hot as gluten-free has gotten in the past 10 years, the research behind non-celiac gluten sensitivity remains “tremendously uncertain. “The science is in its infancy still,” Lebwohl said. “We need to take these patients seriously in order to nail down their problems.” This is a very good article for those of you who are gluten sensitive.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It causes bread and other baked goods to feel stretchy when worked with; especially when kneaded. After being baked it gives the products a chewy texture.
What is Celiac Disease? from the Celiac Disease Foundation: “When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. The only treatment currently for celiac disease is a strict, gluten-free diet. Most patients report symptom improvement within a few weeks, although intestinal healing may take several years.” Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease.
Gluten sensitivity, according to the Beyond Celiac website, “has been coined to describe those individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease.
Gluten sensitivity shares many symptoms with celiac disease. However, according to a collaborative report published by Sapone et al. (2012), individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have a prevalence of extraintestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headache, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested, a response typical for innate immune conditions like non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Internationally, Celiac researchers have decided that the correct term to use is gluten sensitivity not gluten intolerance. They are one & the same.
(…continue reading Mary’s Blog here!)
March Nutrition Nuggets
posted March 27th, 2017
The health headlines were varied this past month. They made for interesting reading. Let us explore what the new trend is 🙂 ; what’s new at EWG; and what studies scientists & researchers have published. “Inquiring minds want to know!” I have also included some new recipes at the end of the post.
Fooducate: New Trend: Shop with your Doc “California is the trend-setter when it comes to food, nutrition and health. It’s no surprise then, to learn about a new program whereby doctors in white coats greet shoppers at a supermarket and help advise on healthier food choices. Many grocery chains have already implemented dietitian guidance into their stores, but medical doctors are a novelty.
On one hand, this makes a lot of sense. Most Americans get their nutrition advice from their doctor, not dietitians. If doctors can prescribe “food as medicine” instead of more pills, everyone wins (expect for the pharma industry). By changing health care systems into “health systems” where the focus is prevention of disease instead of fixing things after they break, the US can save hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
However, there is a problem with doctors prescribing nutrition advice. The vast majority of physicians receive almost no nutrition education when in medical school. They often provide generic advice such as “lose weight, exercise more, and stop smoking”. Dietitians are much better suited to help people in the trenches, with practical advice on specific food choices in the supermarket. If you are trying to lose weight and improve your health, consider getting advice from a registered dietitian.” I agree. A dietitian can be compared to a physician with a specialty; more knowledgeable about the subject. A Board Certified Oncology Dietitian is even better & becoming easier to find in large medical centers.
This new trend didn’t just bring a smile to my face but made me laugh visualizing a physician in a white coat wandering the isles of Ralph’s grocery store! This is the program that Fooducate based their information on. Food As Medicine: It’s Not Just A Fringe Idea Anymore: “Several times a month, you can find a doctor in the aisles of Ralph’s market in Huntington Beach, Calif., wearing a white coat and helping people learn about food. On one recent day, this doctor was Daniel Nadeau, wandering the cereal aisle with Allison Scott, giving her some ideas on how to feed kids who studiously avoid anything that tastes healthy.” Read the article & one mothers reaction to his advice. It is an interesting idea & I applaud their efforts to try to help people on the spot to learn how to eat healthier; thus reversing some diseases that respond to diet.
(…continue reading Mary’s Blog here!)
The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources by Joey Bruno
posted March 20th, 2017
When I returned from vacation I checked my email & there was one from a Joey Bruno. He introduced himself & told me about an article he had written regarding vegan protein. I get quite a few emails like this but Joey’s was different. His article is the most comprehensive, informative, scientifically based article about the vegan diet I have read. It is a treasure chest of information laid out so that you can easily understand the vegan diet, detailed information regarding protein sources & it also includes recipes!
You should look at his article even if you have no interest in a vegan diet because the information is useful for everyone.
Most Americans get way more protein than is beneficial each day. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average American male consumes 102 grams of protein per day, while the average female eats about 70 grams. That’s almost twice the daily recommended protein by the Food and Nutrition Board. Adults should eat 10% to 35% of their daily calories from protein foods. That is about 46 grams for women, and 56 grams of protein for men. The World Health Organization recommends 10-15% of your daily calories, or the minimum protein intake at about 1/3 of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is the minimum to maintain a healthy body. For 140# that would be 46 grams.
When you are confronted with a disease such as cancer you should increase the amount of protein you consume to help maintain your weight. It is important to look at your unique situation. I would recommend you speak with an Oncology Certified Nutritionist to decide what is right for you. It depends on the individuals health picture….
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Linking Foods to Boost Their Nutritional Clout
posted March 6th, 2017
February’s newsletter from “Nutrition WOW”, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, started me thinking about how you can pair foods to boost their nutritional value. Sometimes we do this automatically; tomatoes & olive oil for example. Let’s explore this idea beginning with “Nutrition WOW’s” list.
Food “Power Couples” from Nutrition WOW “Hey lovers! Just as your sweetheart brings out the best in you, certain foods are healthier when paired with the right partner.”
Meet my favorite Food “Power Couples”:
•Tea + Lemon
Why we’re a power couple: Citrus makes healthy tea antioxidants, called catechins, more absorbable.
•Pasta + Balsamic Vinegar
Why we’re a power couple: Vinegar slows carb digestion to lower post-meal blood sugar & increase fullness.
•Yogurt + Almonds
Why we’re a power couple: Almonds are a prebiotic that strengthen the good probiotic bugs in yogurt.
•Spinach + Strawberries
Why we’re a power couple: Vitamin C in berries helps the body absorb iron in spinach.
•Tomatoes + Olive Oil
Why we’re a power couple: Olive oil increases the absorption of heart-smart lycopene in tomatoes.
•Turmeric + Black Pepper
Why we’re a power couple: Black pepper increases the power of turmeric by over 2000%.
*Try GOLDEN MILK: A mood-boosting, energy-enhancing, pain-reducing wonder drink. This is a wonderful drink to have in the late afternoon.
•Rosemary + Grilled Meat
Why we’re a power couple: Rosemary’s natural antioxidant content decreases carcinogens from forming during cooking.
•Eggs + Salad
Why we’re a power couple: Eggs increase the absorption of cancer-fighting carotenoids in raw vegetables.
Now that you get the idea, let’s look at more “power couples”.
From EveryDayHealth: 7 Foods You Should Always Eat Together By Debbie Strong “Certain foods just belong together — and no, we’re not talking about peanut butter and jelly (although it’s definitely delicious!). There are foods that when combined, not only taste great, but help you absorb nutrients more effectively.”
This slideshow adds even more foods to link together & why ~Check out the slide show for the complete list.
•Yogurt & Bananas ~protein + potassium~ Turns out, your go-to portable breakfast may also make the perfect post-workout snack. Combining the potassium found in bananas with high protein foods like yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) helps build muscle and replenish amino acids that are depleted during exercise. A great snack for those long hours in treatment!
•Carrots & Hummus ~healthy carbs + protein~ Looking for a way to beat the afternoon munchies? “Choosing snacks that combine protein and healthy carbs can help to curb hunger and give you an extra boost of energy,” says Sakimura. Another portable snack.
•Avocado with Salsa ~healthy fats and carotenoids~ Good news if you love going out for Mexican: Salsa with avocado is a nutritional power duo. Bright and colorful veggies in salsa are rich in carotenoids, disease-fighting plant pigments that help protect you from cancer and heart disease. Adding healthy fats, like those found in avocados, can maximize protective benefits. Had this last night. Yum!
•Raw Veggies and Eggs ~carotenoids and egg yolks~ Next time you’re at the salad bar, add a few hardboiled eggs to your bowl. Recent research out of Purdue University presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015 suggests that the protein-packed topping may help increase the nutritive properties of raw vegetables. Now that eggs “are back”.. 🙂
February Nutrition Nuggets
posted February 27th, 2017
In this months “Nutrition Nuggets” I will discuss recent studies for a longer, healthier life; brown apples; arsenic in your rice; France’s new law to fight obesity; another reason not to eat sugar; snacking & breakfast; & vitamin D3. Lots of good information! I am ending with a Nugget about healthy pasta that Alessandra sent me this morning.
This new study from England focused on the eating habits of 2 million people in various studies. Here are the results from pooling this information. Fruit and veg: For a longer life eat 10-a-day Eating loads of fruit and vegetables – 10 portions a day – may give us longer lives, say researchers. The study, by Imperial College London, calculated such eating habits could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year. The team also identified specific fruit and veg that reduced the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The analysis showed even small amounts had a health boon, but more is even better. A portion counts as 80g (3oz) of fruit or veg – the equivalent of a small banana, a pear or three heaped tablespoons of spinach or peas. The conclusions were made by pooling data on 95 separate studies, involving two million people’s eating habits.
Lower risks of cancer were linked to eating: No surprise here
- green veg (eg spinach
- yellow veg (eg peppers)
- cruciferous vegetables (eg cauliflower).
Lower risks of heart disease and strokes were linked to eating: Or here.
- citrus fruits
- green leafy vegetables (eg lettuce)
- cruciferous veg
The article concludes that 5 portions a day, one portion being 3 ounces of fruit or veg, have health benefits, but more increases those benefits. The last thought is: “Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “The five-a-day target is the foundation of a healthy balanced diet and is an achievable way to help prevent a number of diseases. “Whilst consuming more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day may be desirable… adding pressure to consume more fruit and vegetables creates an unrealistic expectation.” We don’t need more stress over our diets Very good article.
This next article sort of irritated me. Consumers have come to expect the perfect, blemish free, piece of fruit or vegetable in their grocery stores. Because of this expectation…GMO apples that never brown could hit stores soon “For a select few apple lovers in the US, a Golden Delicious slice will no longer turn brown as the first genetically modified apples are expected to go on sale early next month.
A small amount of Arctic brand sliced and packaged Golden Delicious apples, produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits in British Columbia, Canada, will hit the shelves of 10 stores in the Midwest in February and March, Neal Carter, the company’s founder and president, told the agricultural news website Capital Press. Arctic’s website lists the apples as being available early this year in some test markets.
As the article states, apples turning brown does not mean they are rotten. It is just an oxygenated process that is natural. I wasn’t aware that stores or producers spray apples with chemicals to delay the apple from becoming brown. That is just wrong. This company thinks that a GMO apple would be welcomed because it wouldn’t be sprayed with toxic chemicals. Read the article for more information.
I will stick with my organically grown apples. When sliced, I will either eat them right away; squirt lemon or lime juice on them; or sprinkle them with cinnamon to prevent browning. Tastes wonderful. My grandsons loved their apple slices that way in their lunch boxes. Have we become that lazy & picky that we need GMO fruits & vegetables to keep them looking fresh? …
(…continue reading Mary’s Blog here!)
Cholesterol & Cholesterol Fighting Foods
posted February 20th, 2017
Cholesterol is an interesting topic because it is so confusing! Or maybe I should say, complex. From all the research & studies done recently, we now know that the intake of cholesterol through diet minimally affects your cholesterol numbers. According to the research very little of it enters your circulating blood. That is why eggs & bacon are back, in moderation.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is necessary in the human body for producing hormones, bile acids, & building cell walls. It is manufactured by your body, mainly by your liver, & circulates in your blood. Your body produces 75% of your cholesterol. This is the cholesterol that is measured in blood tests.
First, lets look at what the cholesterol numbers on your test should look like. Then lets look at the foods that do affect your cholesterol numbers & last what foods will lower those numbers.
According to Vishal Rao, M.D., M.P.H. and Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S with John Hopkins University School of Medicine: “Ideally, total cholesterol should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter. HDL cholesterol should be above 40 milligrams per deciliter for men and above 50 milligrams per deciliter for women. LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, and triglycerides ideally should be less than 150 milligrams per deciliter. Keep in mind that treatment goals can vary based on each individual. You should discuss your cholesterol levels with your physician.”
Here is an excerpt from the Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020: Do I still need to watch my cholesterol intake? “While adequate evidence is not available for a quantitative limit for dietary cholesterol in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, cholesterol is still important to consider when building a healthy eating style. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines states that people should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.
In general, foods that are higher in dietary cholesterol, such as fatty meats and high-fat dairy products, are also higher in saturated fats (which should be limited to 10% of total calories per day). The primary healthy eating style described in the Dietary Guidelines is limited in saturated fats, and thus, dietary cholesterol (about 100-300 mg across the various calorie levels). It is the saturated fats & the trans-fats that raise your blood cholesterol. So, if you limit the saturated fats to 10% of your daily calories & eliminate the trans-fats you will lower your total cholesterol number.
Mayo Clinic 2016: The recommended daily limits on cholesterol in your food
•If you are healthy, consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
•If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, limit the daily cholesterol intake to no more than 200 mg a day.
This is a very useful graph to help you understand where the cholesterol is in foods & the amount per serving. From UCSF Medical Center: Cholesterol Content of Foods If you have risk factors for heart disease, you should not consume more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day. If you do not have risk factors for heart disease, you should limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams a day. Note that this is the same recommendation from the Mayo Clinic…
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DIY Beauty Products
posted February 13th, 2017
Last week our post was about making our own cleaning supplies. This week I want to look at beauty products. As with the cleaners, you can either make your own or you can buy organic or green products. Why the concern?
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, FDA, states on their website: “The FD&C Act defines cosmetics by their intended use, as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” (FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)). If the product is used therapeutically then it comes under the same regulations as supplements.
FDA-regulated does not mean FDA-approved. FDA does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market, although we do approve color additives used in them (except coal tar hair dyes). Most hair dyes now use petroleum. Prolonged use of coal tar, used in beauty products, has been linked to bladder cancer.
However, under the law, cosmetics must not be “adulterated” or “misbranded.” For example, they must be safe for consumers when used according to directions on the label, or in the customary or expected way, and they must be properly labeled. Companies and individuals who market cosmetics have a legal responsibility for the safety and labeling of their products. The FDA does not review these products, they rely on the integrity of the company. FDA can take action against a cosmetic on the market if we have reliable information showing that it is adulterated or misbranded. FDA takes action within our legal authority, based on public health priorities and available resources.” As with supplements, they will take action if consumers have complained to the FDA about a product. If there is an outbreak of side affects the Department of Public Health will take action & report it to the FDA.
It is left to the consumer to decide what is safe & what is not. Once again this shows how we need to be our own healthcare advocates.
The best website for information regarding your products is… Ta-da!!… EWG.org: Skin Deep You can check the safety of your favorite beauty product by typing in the brand or name of the product in the search box. The site has 64,482 products in its data base. For example: Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap, Peppermint get’s a 1 on all but one ingredient, hemp oil, which gets a 2. The best score possible is a 1. I also use Dr. Bronner’s tooth paste. Dr. Bronner’s Anise All-One Toothpaste scores a solid 1 on all but 2 ingredients: citric acid & glycerin which score a 2.
Another way to use this site is to look at the top banner & click on the type of product you are interested in: Sun, Makeup, Skin, Hair & then click on the product in the drop down menu. If you clicked on Makeup/Concealer, then a list will come up of all the products that are ‘EWG Verified’ & it’s score. If you decide you want to look at it in more detail then click on the one you are interested in to get a list of ingredients & their scores. Here is an example.
Rejuva Minerals Concealer, Golden Sand is the first one on the list. EWG scientists reviewed Rejuva Minerals Concealer, Golden Sand for safety according to the methodology outlined in our Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. We assess the ingredients listed on the labels of personal care products based on data in toxicity and regulatory databases, government and health agency assessments and the open scientific literature. EWG’s rating for Rejuva Minerals Concealer, Golden Sand is 1. It then rates it & lists the ingredients. On the left of this page you can choose additional information you may be interested in:
•Where to Purchase
•Discuss This Product
Data last updated: January 2016
Use this page when you have concerns about a product or are just curious. My recommendation is to read the information about the product you want to use & then make a decision based on your needs & the information. Maybe a 3 or even a 4 score on your product would be adequate for you. Informed decisions are the best decisions…
(…continue reading Mary’s Blog here!)
DIY Natural Cleaners
posted February 6th, 2017
Spring cleaning is right around the corner. We are going to put nutrition aside this week to answer an email from our NUT, Beth. She asked me about making our own cleaning products, thus eliminating those toxic ingredients. I like this question because it is relatively easy to do with natural ingredients that you already have & are easy to find.
If you prefer to buy your cleaning products but want them without all the toxic ingredients then EWG is the website for you.
The Environmental Working Group has always been my go-to for information regarding toxic ingredients in anything I use or consume. The labels on cleaning products are very confusing & difficult to decode. EWG has done that for us. Instead of looking through the ingredients list for anything “bad”, it is far better to understand what they are claiming. EWG’s Guide to Heallthy Cleaning: “Decoding the labels: Confused by the labels on cleaning products? EWG helps you sort facts from hype.”
For example: “Active ingredients” in cleaning products are usually antimicrobial pesticides added to kill bacteria, viruses or molds. Avoid them – they’re hazardous chemicals, and you rarely need them to get your house clean.
Another example. We think of essential oils as being a natural, safe product. “Essential oils are plant extracts that emit distinct, often appealing scents. Some contain naturally occurring chemicals that can irritate skin, trigger allergic reactions or cause other toxic effects. Don’t assume that essential oils are safe simply because they come from plants. Approach them with the same safety questions you bring to other ingredients or products. When trying a new product containing an essential oil, always use a small amount at first to see if you have an allergic reaction. Never apply pure essential oils directly to your skin. Avoid using products that are old or that have been exposed to light, because some essential oils react with air and sunlight to produce new and sometimes more hazardous chemicals.”
On this same page is a search box for 2,500 products. You can type in a cleaning product & see how it is rated. Typing in Planet, a company that makes laundry detergent & dish soap you see that it gets a B. It goes on to tell you why it got a B. Dr. Bronner’s products get an A. Purex gets B’s & C’s. Try it out on some of the brands you use.
If you would like a list of products & their grades rather than looking them up one at a time go to this link: EWG’s Guide to Heallthy Cleaning. At the top left is a Green Banner that says EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. It is a drop down menu. Click on the cleaner you are interested in & you will get a list, with their grades, beginning with the highest rated products…
posted January 30th, 2017!
We haven’t discussed cheese before. Probably because it is dairy & we have labeled all dairy as “evil”. Last year this changed with the new dietary guidelines for fat. Fat Update, our post from last June, addresses these guidelines. The bottom line is that fat is a necessary, healthy part of your diet. This, for most people, includes cheese.
Take a look at the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Cheese is near the top. “Moderate portions daily or weekly”. A serving of cheese varies depending on the type of cheese. Generally it is 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese. Hard cheese, like cheddar would be the size & shape of four die.
I found the above chart from FoodandHealth.comunications It gives you a snapshot of the nutritional values of common cheeses. I think having individually packed string cheese on hand for a protein snack, 8 grams, is a good idea. They are portable too 🙂
The Health Benefits of Cheese: Berkeley Wellness : “Bottom line: Cheese can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation—an ounce or two a day is reasonable, but watch out for the calories. Like all dairy foods, cheese provides calcium and protein, along with some vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, zinc, and other nutrients. A downside is that most cheeses are high in sodium (100 to 300 milligrams or more per ounce). But compare nutrition labels, since products vary a lot in sodium, calories, and calcium, depending on the type and serving size. Low-sodium versions are available (though less tasty). Strong and savory cheeses have more flavor so you can use less. A cheese slicer will allow you to cut very fine slices to make a little go a longer way.”
Cheese is like any other food item, you need to read the label! “Real”, or “natural cheese” is healthy. “Processed cheese” is not. Velveeta is an example of processed cheese. When I was growing up, my only contact with Velveeta cheese was when my grandfather bought it for fish bait; it was always in his tackle box. I had no idea, until I lived in Georgia, & Kentucky, that people ate it! American cheese is another processed cheese. Go for “real” or “natural” cheese.
Another good article about Cheese is from Dr. Mercola’s site. Full-Fat Cheese Has Many Health Benefits, Including Weight Loss: “Cheese has long been demonized for its saturated fat content, but as the saturated fat myth has come under increasing scrutiny, this food may soon experience a revival as well. Note that in this article he talks about sugar, & trans-fats being the culprit, not saturated fat…
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January Nutrition Nuggets
posted January 23rd, 2017!
While researching for our weekly Blog posts, I always come across nuggets of information that I want to share with you. Usually they don’t fit into the topic at hand. I have decided to save them until I have several & share them in one post. This weeks nutrition nuggets are varied in subjects: salads, lentils, coffee & chemo-brain to much more & not in any particular order. Oh, and take a look at the recipe at the end of the post…YUM!
I liked this idea of Salad Dumpers: Nutrition WOW . I do this too but Dawn Jackson Blatner RD, has some ideas that I hadn’t thought of. “So I buy salads kits all. the. time. I LOVE the ease of just dropping everything in a bowl & then being done.
– too many calories (yikes)
– often times CRAP ingredients This link is to a printable list she has of CRAP ingredients.
Let’s start making our own easy CRAP-free salad kits. Let me introduce you to…Salad Dumpers. A simple way to make a quick 100-calorie side salad for any meal like a sandwich, pizza, soup, etc. I like these ideas for a quick sandwich at lunch or even for dinner.
1) COMBINE your favorite salad toppings, 100 calories-ISH per salad.
2) STORE topping combos in clear containers in the fridge.
3) DUMP! When you want a salad, DUMP toppings on lots of pre-cleaned greens. I buy boxes of fresh organic spinach & mixed greens during the winter when our garden isn’t producing. Very convenient.
Try these topping combos for your Salad Dumpers:
Each combo below is about 200 calories, great for 2 salads
Roasted butternut squash cubes (1 cup)
Shaved Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
Red wine vinegar (drizzle) Balsamic is good too, or flavored vinegar’s.
Pomegranate seeds (3/4 cup)
Crumbled blue cheese (1 ounce) Crumbled Feta is my favorite.
Orange wedge (squeeze on)
Honey-baked almonds (1 tsp honey/23 almonds)
Roasted broccoli (1 cup)
Lemon wedge (squeeze on)
– Salad Dumpers last 4-5 days in the fridge.
– Containers that are 1/5-2 cups & clear work best so you’ll see the ingredients instead of forgetting about them. I use small canning jars that hold 2 cups. You can buy plastic screw on lids for them. Makes it easier to get into them 🙂
“DUMPERS ROCK! xoxo” Go to her website link above to see all of her ideas. Here is the link to a printable graph of them.
I would add the following:
•Hard boiled egg chopped
•Nuts & seeds: remember that pumpkin seeds are high in protein!
•Sprouts: these can be purchased in the produce section.
•Artichoke hearts: I buy them in jars, water packed.
•Water chestnuts: I buy them in jars, water packed…
Toaster Oven Cuisine!
posted January 16th, 2017!
I have a terrible family reputation for killing toasters. Lets just say buttering the bread first was a bad idea as was spraying the toaster with bug spray when there was an ant in it. I was young.:) So…I was banned from even having one in the house & was not allowed to use other peoples either. Enter the wonderfully versatile Toaster Oven. I haven’t killed one yet.
What I didn’t realize is there are a lot of recipes out there for meals made in a toaster oven. You can even buy baking pans, muffin pans & cookie sheets in a small size to fit in them. Our NUT Elf, Suzi, sent me a great link to toaster oven cooking. This triggered my research mode & my sharing urge! Let’s look at cooking in that big thing on your counter.
There are many websites that compare using a microwave to using a toaster oven. Some favor the microwave & some favor the toaster oven. I have never liked using a microwave oven because to me the food tastes “funny”. I had one about 28 years ago & only used it to heat water. I replaced it after a few months with a toaster oven. I am not going to debate the research on the microwave oven. It is a personal choice. This post is just about the toaster ovens versatility.
You can pay as much as $600+ or as little as $30 for a toaster oven. Mine is a BLACK+DECKER TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven, Includes Bake Pan, Broil Rack & Toasting Rack, Stainless Steel/Black Toaster Oven. I paid $35 for it 4 years ago. It is the perfect size for us & for our counter. I use it mostly for toasting bread, muffins or heating corn tortillas. My husband “toasts” slices of tofu or tempeh for his sandwich. He also makes nachos in it for a snack.
Toaster Ovens come on sale frequently. Keep your eye out for a bargain. You can probably find a good one at a second hand store. The other reason I like them is because they are easy to clean. Takes me just a few minutes a week. Another positive is that you can use it instead of the oven when making a quick snack, saving on utility bills.
This is the link that started it all: KILLER TOASTER OVEN APPETIZERS THAT ARE SURPRISINGLY HEALTHY. As Suzi pointed out, these can be main meals when cooking for one or two people.
•SPICY CHICKPEA EDAMAME SALAD PITAS “These Spicy Chickpea Edamame Salad Pitas take less than 15 minutes to make with endless ways to customize them. Each pita is filled with a mashed chickpeas salad made with subtly sweet edamame, diced celery, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, creamy yogurt and spicy Sriracha.” This recipe, as is, has 23 grams of protein per serving! What a great small meal or main meal this is. If you prefer not to use the edamame, then substitute peas or another legume. This is a recipe that you can customize easily…my favorite kind! It is served with pita bread warmed in the toaster oven.
•Toaster Oven Veggie Nachos: Love this one! Black beans & cut up veggies, yum! Suzi told me that she added a little more cheese. She said, “they are surprisingly filling, easy to make & quick.”
•Balsamic Asparagus & Hummus Toast: I go crazy during Asparagus season. So much so, my husband has planted an asparagus garden just for me. Takes 3 years for the first one Worth the wait.
Every single recipe is healthy & looks so tasty. Go to the site to see the others. Thank you Suzi!…
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New Year, New Diet Resolutions!
posted January 9th, 2017!
Each new year I post the “Best Diet” list from U.S.News. “A panel of health experts, including nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss, reviewed detailed assessments prepared by U.S. News of 38 diets. The experts rated each diet in seven categories, including short- and long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety and nutrition.” This year I want to look at the top three overall, the easiest & healthiest to follow & how some of the ”
fad ~popular diets” fared. At the end of the post, under Resources, are additional articles for you to read.
The top three, Dash, Mediterranean & MIND, are consistently rated the healthiest way to eat. This year Mediterranean scored #2. Here is a reminder of what each diet is about. Click on the name of the diet to see their scores, get a very detailed overview, health & nutrition, recipes, do’s & don’ts, along with experts reviews.
- DASH Diet“DASH was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet. But it certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts, who gave it high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes and role in supporting heart health. Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets.” DASH is a very good diet to follow.
- Mediterranean Diet: With its emphasis on fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is eminently sensible. And experts’ assessments of it were resoundingly positive, giving this diet an edge over many competitors. I don’t think you need me to comment on this one
- MIND Diet: The MIND diet takes two proven diets – DASH and Mediterranean – and zeroes in on the foods in each that specifically affect brain health. It made an impressive debut to the 2016 rankings, shooting up to second place overall, tying with the TLC diet. It’s a healthy, sensible plan with science behind it. The MIND diet, which stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay,” was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published online February 2015. Morris’ team followed the food intake of 923 Chicago-area seniors. Over 4.5 years, 144 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease. The longer people had followed the MIND diet patterns, the less risk they appeared to have. Even people who made “modest” changes to their diets – who wouldn’t have fit the criteria for DASH or Mediterranean – had less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study found the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.” This diet is for those of you who are ok with doing it yourself. It has guidelines like the Mediterranean diet but not as regimented as the DASH.
The easiest diets to follow; three tied for #1. Look familiar?
#1 Mediterranean Diet (tie)
#1 Weight Watchers Diet (tie) Even though they changed how their point system works this year, it is still the easiest, healthiest diet to follow for losing & maintaining your weight.
#1 MIND Diet (tie) “You may lower your risk of mental decline with this new hybrid of two balanced, heart-healthy diets – even without rigidly sticking to it – early research suggests. The main complaint with this diet is that your pretty much on your own for recipes & building a meal.
“Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
posted January 2nd, 2017!
A California man was charged with a DUI, “driving under the influence”, last week. He was taken to jail & a blood test was done. It came back positive for only one substance, caffeine! “Given that Americans consume an average of 3.1 cups of coffee a day, it’s unlikely he’s the only driver on the road to have ever enjoyed such a seemingly innocent pick-me-up. So, how in the world could caffeine impair a driver’s capability behind the wheel? According to NBC medical contributor Dr. John Torres, it wouldn’t. ‘Studies have shown that caffeine actually helps ones driving abilities. The only way that it might have an effect is if a person overdoses on caffeine or uses it to cover fatigue and then it wears off,’ Torres said.” (#5)
Putting the legal issues of this gentleman aside; let’s talk about my favorite drink, coffee. You have read about the health benefits of coffee under our Coffee, Topic Page. You are also aware of some of it’s side effects: insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, stomach upset etc. ~Check the resources below for more information.~ But, do you know how to pick a roast, store it & finally make the perfect cup?
The History of Coffee: No one knows exactly how coffee was discovered. The following story/myth is my favorite.
“Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. There, legend says the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beloved beans.
The story goes that that Kaldi discovered coffee after he noticed that after eating the berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night. Sound familiar?
Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer. The abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread.
As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would bring these beans across the globe.” (#1)
This is a fun infographic by I LOVE COFFEE (#9). Wow! Those Irish get my vote 🙂 …
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