San Diego Cancer Research Institute

Reality Based Nutrition


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.

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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.

Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 157; Total fat: 5g; Protein: 7g; Fiber: 2g; Carbs: 21g; Sodium: 163mg…
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Spring Recipes!
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

FDA Website

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. 🙂
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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!…
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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.
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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.
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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 fromNutrition 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 withNutrition WOW’slist.

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”.. 🙂

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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.

  • apples
  • pears
  • citrus fruits
  • salads
  • 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?
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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!!… 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:

•Product Summary
•Ingredient Concerns
•Animal Testing?
•Label Information
•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…
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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…

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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.

The issues….
– expensive
– 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! xoxoGo 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…

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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.

      1. 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.
      2. 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
      3. 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.

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“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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News Updates: Eggs, Sugar, Fukushima & Nutrition Trends for 2017
posted December 19th, 2016

I have chosen three topics to update from the health news. Eggs, because they are still being maligned. An update on the ongoing research by corporations to find the perfect sugar; low in calories & still addictive. I picked the Fukushima update as it is important to all of you who eat seafood & for those of you who are concerned about radiation exposure. While exploring the internet I also found an interesting website listing what to expect in the food world for 2017. Scads of good information.


Egg whites are high in protein, but did you know that the yolk contains choline? A recent study, Assessment of Total Choline Intakes in the United States, indicates that Americans do not get enough choline in their diet. Choline is an essential nutrient. Dr. Weil: “Choline is utilized by the body in a variety of ways including aiding nerve signaling, maintenance of cell membranes, transporting triglycerides from the liver, and as a constituent of nervous system tissues in early brain development.”

Dr. Low Dog: Time to Reconsider Eggs? Our Need for Choline.So where to get this relatively unknown yet vital micronutrient? Fortunately, choline is surprisingly easy to add to the diet. Specifically beef, wheat germ, scallops, salmon, chicken, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, peanuts and milk all contain choline, but the goldmine source is eggs, which contain a choline-rich yolk center.” Good article.

This study regarding eggs has made the headlines for the past few weeks. The article in PubMed has the original study & its conclusions. One item I found interesting was that the participants in the study were not asked about their overall diet or how the eggs were prepared. One would think that information would be pertinent to this study.

•PubMed: Eating one egg a day may lower risk of stroke: “An egg a day can cut chances of suffering a fatal stroke,” The Times reports. A new review of existing data covering around 300,000 people suggests eating up to one egg a day may lower stroke risk; but not the risk of heart disease. The health effects of eggs have been debated for years. Eggs, which contain cholesterol, were thought to increase risk of heart disease by raising cholesterol levels. But more recent studies show that cholesterol in food has little impact on the levels of cholesterol in your blood – most cholesterol in the blood is made by the liver.”

Bottom line: Eat the whole egg! How many? The current guidelines range from 1-3 eggs a day as being perfectly healthy for most people. The exceptions are diabetics & people with heart disease. Unless you are making an omelette, I would go with 1 egg a day max.

When making an omelette use 2 egg whites & 1 whole egg. That way, you get the choline & a protein boost. You can also rotate: one day egg white only & the next a whole egg. Eggs are part of a balanced Mediterranean diet. Moderation! …
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The Ecology of Estrogen in the Female Body…copyright Juliet Blankespoor
posted December 12th, 2016

We know that hormones influence many types of cancers in both women & men. The two most common are breast & prostate; hormone dependent cancers. They also play a lesser role in ovarian, testicular, endometrial, lung & liver for example. These would be considered hormone-sensitive cancers. Being diagnosed with hormone dependent or sensitive cancer leads to the question of phytoestrogens in our diet, & endocrine disruptors in our environment. I have addressed these concerns in our blog, Phytoestrogens & under the Topic page, Endocrine Disruptors.

But what are endogenous estrogens, phytoestrogens & xenoestrogens? What are their roles in the human body? We need to know how they effect our body in order to understand the treatment programs for hormone dependent/sensitive cancers. I read a very comprehensive article last week about this very subject at The Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine’s Blog This article is scientifically based yet “layman friendly”. I received permission from the author, Juliet Blankespoor, to share the entire article with you. I encourage you to read the entire article. Great information about flax & soy.

I highlighted the links to Juliet’s other articles regarding phytoestrogens & endocrine disruptors for those of you whom would like more information.

The Ecology of Estrogen in the Female Body

copyright Juliet Blankespoor

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae): copyright Juliet Blankespoor

Women today live in a very different world than our foremothers. Our female predecessors began menstruating later in life, had more children, breastfed longer, underwent menopause earlier, ate whole foods, and lived in a cleaner environment. Women today have approximately ten times as many menstrual cycles as their great-great-grandmothers. Our bodies did not evolve with the hormonal inputs of perpetual ovulation and menstruation. As a result, more women than ever are experiencing reproductive disorders, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Painful menstrual cramps, persistent acne and cyclic breast tenderness are so common that they are taken for granted as a normal aspect of female physiology. Many natural practitioners address these issues with herbal hormone balancers, such as chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus, Lamiaceae) and black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Ranunculaceae). These herbs are often effective, and certainly have their place in treating female reproductive disorders. However, it is important to not overlook underlying dietary and lifestyle factors that contributed to the initial hormonal imbalance, as these harmful inputs are likely to create other issues down the road, if left unaddressed…
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Healthy Holiday Recipes for Cookies, Candies & Nuts!
posted December 5th, 2016

snomen2What better gift is there than homemade baked goods for the holidays. My mother would start baking on the first of December. She would then freeze what was made in preparation for the gift bags she put together for neighbors, friends & family. I also think she froze them to keep me, my brothers & father from eating them all

Most people are trying their best to make it through the season without indulging too much. It is difficult when the chemo room has trays of treats brought in for the health care staff & the patients. I have found some healthier versions of holiday cookies, nuts & candies that are vegan, gluten free & don’t use cane sugar. I will share my tried & true favorites & links to others.

Holiday Cookies don’t have to be laden with cane sugar. This is a recipe that I have used a great deal & everyone loves it.

MUESLI BREAKFAST COOKIES – Melissa King at My Whole Foods Life

Yields 24, 5 min Prep Time, 10 min Cook Time, 15 min Total Time

•2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli or your favorite.
•2 mashed bananas (about medium sized)
•3/4 cup nut butter of choice (sunflower butter can also be used)
•1 tsp cinnamon

1.Preheat oven to 350.
2.In a large bowl, mix the mashed banana and nut butter.
3.Then add the cinnamon and muesli.
4.Mix well.
5.Using a cookie scoop, drop cookies onto a lined baking sheet.
6.The batter will be sticky. Use your palm to press each cookie down slightly.
7.Bake for 10-12 minutes.
8.Let cool completely before removing from the baking sheet and storing in an airtight container.

Notes: These should last at least 2 weeks in the fridge. They can also be frozen up to 6 months. Enjoy!

Here is another of my favorites. You may remember this slide from my nutrition talks. You can add any ingredient you want: nuts, chopped fruit, shredded coconut etc. Be creative! These can be frozen…
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Muffin Tin Meals!
posted November 28th, 2016

Buy at

Buy at

We have been invited to a potluck for a volunteer group my husband is a part of. While I was thinking about what to bring I remembered that in my research last week I found a great idea for stuffing; bake it in a muffin tin for individual servings. My thoughts then jumped to how wonderful an idea that would be for busy people & cancer patients in treatment. Individual, make ahead servings of meals made in a muffin tin/pan. Of course, as it turns out, I am not the only one who has thought of this. There are literally a thousand recipes on the internet.

This idea of using the muffin pan is perfect for a quick breakfast, lunch or a grab & go snack to bring along for a busy day. It would be ideal for those of you who have lost your appetite & need a calorie dense mini-meal. Let’s explore some of these ideas.

My go to for potlucks is a vegetarian, spinach & mushroom, quiche. I found several crust-less quiche recipes for a muffin pan. These would be easy to make & they could be frozen & warmed up when needed.


A Big Mouthful Mini Quiche

Mushroom, Spinach & Mozzarella Mini Crustless Quiches
Makes 12 muffin-size quiches

Cooking spray or grease with coconut oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 ounces fresh baby spinach You could also use frozen spinach well drained
6 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
5 eggs
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup 2 % milk or a nut milk or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously spray a standard-sized muffin tin with cooking spray, making sure to cover each cup completely. Set aside.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add onions. Cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they shrink in size and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and mound the spinach on top of the mushrooms and onions. It will look like a lot of spinach, but it will wilt down. Gently stir until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.

Set aside to cool…
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Thanksgiving: New Recipes!
posted November 21st, 2016

novcalI was shocked to see that Thanksgiving was only a few days away on my calendar this morning. I am not ready. We usually have a Tofurkey as the centerpiece of the meal. I haven’t been able to find one & I am too late to order one. What to do? Research for recipes online, that’s what to do

In case you have forgotten about my post last year: Thanksgiving Recipes: “Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful & a time to spend with loved ones. It is also a time of feasting! I would like to add here that it is also a day to enjoy your food. A day of gratitude & loved ones is better for your immune system than any diet you are currently on! So, throw out the self-imposed eating rules, say a blessing of gratitude & enjoy.”

Rodale’s Organic Living has a wonderful post this month about 5 Ways Gratitude Starts at Your Table. “Gratitude is healing. And here is how you can tap into that healing power this Thanksgiving.” Take time to read the article. Here is the essence:

WebMD’s Newsletter this week is about foods that help fight depression. Here is #1.


The traditional Thanksgiving bird has the protein building-block tryptophan, which your body uses to make serotonin. That’s a brain chemical that plays a key role in depression, researchers say. In fact, some antidepressant drugs work by targeting the way your brain uses serotonin. You can get the same mood-boosting effect from chicken and soybeans.
•AllRecipes: Perfect Turkey
•Food Network: Worlds Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey

Are you unable to join family or friends for Thanksgiving? Here are a few good turkey recipes for two.
•Honey & Birch: Thanksgiving Dinner for Two.
•Oh, sweet basil: Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
•SheKnows: How to cook Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of you.
Good tips….
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Cold & Flu Season
posted November 14th, 2016

Tea-1-2-1024x709The cold & flu season is upon us once again. I am going to share 2 of my posts from September, 2015. I have updated them & added additional information. I recommend these remedies & teas for everyone, not just cancer patients in or out of treatment, but for family, caregivers & friends as well.

Oncologists differ in what they ask you to NOT take during your treatment. Please check with them before you start using any of these products.

What can you safely use for cold & flu symptoms before, during & after chemotherapy, radiation or surgery? There are literally thousands of over the counter remedies to choose from. Most of these have ingredents that will interact with medications & may have side effects. I will talk about remedies that are natural & easy to find. I will also note if there are any drug interactions that you should be aware of.

Lets begin with ways to help stimulate the immune system to fight off colds & flu. Here are the obvious ones.
•Eat a balanced, plant based, healthy diet. Think Mediterranean 🙂
•Eliminate added sugar & processed foods.
•Alleviate stress with mindfulness programs, meditation, art, massage & other non-drug, complementary therapies.
•Exercise: Walks, Yoga, Zumba etc.

My husband was a teacher & then a sub for elementary grades. He was exposed to a lot of germs from those little people. Starting at the end of August I recommended that he take the following. ***Even though we are not around children anymore, except when out shopping, or at events, we continue this as a preventative measure.
•Vitamin C: 1000 mgm each morning. This is an anti-oxidant & you should check with your health care team if you are taking chemotherapy or in radiation.
•Elderberry Syrup: 1 Tablespoon each morning during flu season. Black elderberries are anti-viral & will relieve flu symptoms. They are also protective if taken every morning during the flu season. Sambucus Syrup by Nature’s Way is a good, safe brand to use. Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup is another good, safe brand. This is also an anti-oxidant & you should check with your health care team if you are taking chemotherapy or in radiation.

Herbal Teas are wonderful to help with cold & flu symptoms. Taken in tea form, two or three times a day, they will not interact with medications. Here are 2 safe brands of herbal medicinal teas I use & recommend. I have also included a few that you should know about for other problems Explore the tea aisle of your store or go to the links I have provided to see what other seasonal, medicinal, teas there are…
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Healthy Snacks.
posted November 7th, 2016

cannySnacks are an important part of our daily food intake. They can simply be a piece of fruit while out and about or they can make up your diet for the entire day. What we choose to snack on is important. We want something that is healthy & nutritionally dense. Halloween candy doesn’t count

True story…I was at my local natural food store, Wild Rivers, when a man loudly asked the cashier: “Where the hell is the junk food aisle? This is the only junk food I could find (he held up an organic bar of chocolate).” Everyone laughed. It occurred to me that most grocery stores have several aisles of junk food. Natural food stores don’t. They do have chocolate bars, protein bars & chips, but in general, the ingredients are not that bad.

While you are out & about, it is easy to succumb to a muffin at Starbucks, a candy bar while getting gas for the car, or driving thru a fast food place. If you plan ahead you can have prepared snacks with you. Get a lunch box or bag for them along with a reusable bottle of water. Keep it with your purse or car keys to remind you to bring it along.

When you are feeling ill &/or in treatment, you have no appetite nor energy to fix a meal. In past discussions I have suggested that you eat at least 6-8 snacks a day instead of 3 meals. The reason I suggested this, is that you will take in more calories & nutrients eating small snacks all day instead of pushing the food around on your plate during a traditional meal. Check out my Topic: Nutrition Tips During Chemotherapy for additional information.

I have made it known in prior posts, how much I hate lunch. It is a meal that I just don’t understand. Nothing appeals to me & I end up eating nothing or I make a sandwich which I really don’t want. I like a healthy breakfast & a healthy dinner with snacks in between. The key to this is to have “snack stuff” on hand. As I researched snacks on line, lots of not so healthy ideas came up. But when I researched Mediterranean diet snacks, I found some wonderful ideas.

What do I mean by a healthy Mediterranean diet snack?

Snacks based on this diet would include whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, some dairy, & healthy fats. Fish & lean meats could also be included. Stock your pantry with them. Mediterranean Organic is a line of Mediterranean products that can be found at Jimbo’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods & other markets. Go to the website & use the locator for a store near you…
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Cancer Fighters: Cruciferous Vegetables
posted October 31st, 2016


Ocean Air Organic Farm

When I read the news this morning, the headline that caught my eye was “The Fountain of Youth May Well be Broccoli” I was intrigued since I had decided to write about cruciferous vegetables & their cancer fighting properties. Apparently a new study lists broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers & edamame as having anti-aging properties when given to mice. Next will be human clinical trials. Regardless of the outcome, we know from earlier research that 70% or more of the studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables protects us against cancer. So, start eating more broccoli

Here is a Facebook post from Dr. Low Dog that explains the benifits of these vegetables:

Tieraona Low Dog, MD

October 24, 2016
Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, every year approximately 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and among those 40,000 will die. Breast cancer is often thought to be only an issue for older women. Surprisingly, of the women that are estimated to die from breast cancer approximately 6.2% of those women are under the age of 45. Clearly, breast health is an issue that women of all ages should address. The proper intake of vitamins and minerals is essential to overall health and therefore, important for breast health. Some of these vitamins and minerals are found in food that is commonly part of a healthy diet. For example, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, radishes, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, etc) contain vitamins C, E and K and are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin). These vegetables also contain folate, are a good source of fiber and contain chemicals called glucosinolates. During digestion glucosinolates are broken down into biologically active compounds that have been tested for their anticancer effects. Over a decade ago, a study described results suggesting that women who ate greater amounts of cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of breast cancer. More recently, one of the compounds derived from glucosinolates of the cruciferous vegetables was found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells by blocking key signaling pathways known to be required for cancer progression. These results are promising and encourage researchers to continue to explore the anticancer affects of cruciferous vegetables, especially for breast cancer.

As you see, adding these vegetables into your diet will give you many nutritional benifits. Cruciferous vegetables are in the Brassicaceae family of plants. Here is a list from Gardening Know How I have added comments & links to recipes next to each vegetable…
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Cookware Safety
posted October 24th, 2016

This is the time of the year that we do more baking & cooking. The weather is milder & the holidays are coming closer. Time to think about Thanksgiving dinner & Christmas cookies. What kind of cookware do you use?

Cookware safety has been a popular topic since Teflon & aluminum were declared unsafe. Many newer, safer, forms of coated pots & pans have emerged since then. Rather than review each one, there are far too many, I will look at the cookware & bakeware that are considered the safest.

I have noticed that cast iron is making a comeback. It has become so popular that it is driving up the prices! People are searching thrift stores for the older cast iron cookware thinking that it was made better back in the day. Lodge Cast Iron Cookware is the oldest brand, since 1896, & is still available at reasonable prices. I have several of their cast iron skillets & love them. Cast iron bakeware is fantastic too. My next purchase will be a cast iron muffin pan.

Seasoning them is not complicated & gives you a natural non-stick surface. Once they are seasoned, the trick is to never use soap on them. I rinse mine with plain running water & use a soft brush to remove pieces of food. I then put it on the stove top at a medium heat for it to dry. While it is still warm I coat it with either olive or coconut oil. Once it is cool I put it away & it is ready for the next meal.

Cast iron can be pre-heated to high temperatures for use on the stove top & in the oven. I have used it on gas stoves & now on my electric stove. Works the same with both. When pre-heating at a medium heat, this allows it to heat evenly. Cast iron also retains the heat longer than other pans.

One concern I have heard about is what types of foods shouldn’t be used with cast iron. On the Lodge website it has a Q&A page. Here is the answer to that question: “Foods which are very acidic (i.e. beans, tomatoes, citrus juices, etc.) should not be cooked in Seasoned Cast Iron until the cookware is highly seasoned. The high acidity of these foods will strip the seasoning and result in discoloration and metallic tasting food. Wait until cast iron is better seasoned to cook these types of foods. Lodge Enameled Cast Iron is not affected by acidity and can be used with all foods.” I avoid this problem by cooking acidic foods in my stainless steel pans
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Soup Season!
posted October 17th, 2016

img_2496-editedHere, in the Pacific Northwest, we are in the midst of a series of cold storms. This is the beginning of our rainy season. The wind is howling, the rain is coming down in horizontal sheets, the surf is over 20 feet, & all I want is a bowl of nutritious hot soup! Hence the subject of this weeks post. 🙂

I am always interested in the origins of foods. It gives a history to the dishes I make. From Food Timeline: “Food historians tell us the history of soup is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was inevitable. This made it the perfect choice for both sedentary and travelling cultures, rich and poor, healthy people and invalids. Soup (and stews, pottages, porridges, gruels, etc.) evolved according to local ingredients and tastes. New England chowder, Spanish gazpacho, Russian borscht, Italian minestrone, French onion, Chinese won ton and Campbell’s tomato…are all variations on the same theme.

Soups were easily digested and were prescribed for invalids since ancient times. The modern restaurant industry is said to be based on soup. Restoratifs (wheron the word “restaurant” comes) were the first items served in public restaurants in 18th century Paris. Broth [Pot-au-feu], bouillion, and consomme entered here. Classic French cuisine generated many of the soups we know today.

Advancements in science enabled soups to take many forms…portable, canned, dehydrated, microwave-ready. “Pocket soup” was carried by colonial travellers, as it could easily be reconstituted with a little hot water. Canned and dehydrated soups were available in the 19th century. These supplied the military, covered wagon trains, cowboy chuck wagons, and the home pantry. Advances in science also permitted the adjustment of nutrients to fit specific dietary needs (low salt, high fiber, etc.).”

Before I talk about the recipes for homemade soup that I use, lets look at some canned soups that are available. When lunch rolls around, we are usually in too much of a hurry to spend an hour making soup.

There are healthy canned soups that are delicious! The criteria I used for these examples: the can is BPA free, has healthy ingredients & is easy to find…
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Updates: & a “Visual Wisdom Challenge”!
posted October 10th, 2016

About half of the emails I receive are about personal care products, water safety, & the “dirty dozen”. I always recommend the website, The Environmental Working Group for information. I like this website because they call out the manufacturers that continue to use ingredients that are unsafe & they applaud those who have taken steps to make their products safer for the consumer. Very balanced views.

Let’s take a closer look at this website & the information that they provide.

Environmental Working Group

Environmental Working Group

Who are they? “The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

We work for you. Do you know what’s in your tap water? What about your shampoo? What’s lurking in the cleaners underneath your sink? What pesticides are on your food? How about the farms, fracking wells and factories in your local area? Do you know what safeguards they use to protect your water, soil, air and your kids? Which large agribusinesses get your tax dollars and why? What are GMOs? What do they do to our land and water?”

If you have an interest in the latest news on the ongoing fight with Monsanto, toxins in our products etc. then check out these links on the website:

News: “EWG keeps you up to date with analysis of the latest news, interviews with experts and more.” The articles are up to the minute & relate to issues that concern most of us.
Key Issues: This section looks at key issues by categories: Food, Energy, Water & more. The information here is also up to the minute. Worth taking a look at.

Their Research tab has up to date information on toxins, food, water, consumer goods & more.


EWG’s Shopper’s guide to Pesticides in Produce

The part of this website that I use & recommend the most is: Consumer Guides. Here are some of the guides & links to them.

EWG’s Food Scores: You can search for food products by manufacturer & EWG rates the product by nutrition, ingredient & process concerns. This way you can decide if you want to continue using the product. This is a very helpful guide.
EWG’s Skin Deep: Cosmetics Database: You can search for more than 62,000 products to see what ingredients they contain & if they are safe. This database includes sun products, makeup, fragrances, hair & nail products for men, women & children.
EWG’s Shopper’s guide to Pesticides in Produce: This is where you find the downloadable, free, guides for the “Dirty 12” & the “Clean 15”. These guides are kept up to date yearly. The 2016 guides are available there. Not everyone wants to be 100% organic but they do want to limit the amount of pesticides in their foods. These guides can help you make that decision.
Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors: “12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them” The list includes BPA, Dioxin, Lead, Arsnic & Mercury. Each listing has a paragraph explaining what it is & how it can be avoided.
EWG’s Updated Water Filter Buying Guide & 5 Reasons to Skip Bottled Water The water filter guide is extremely useful. It helped me to decide on a counter top filter. I think you already know why you should not use bottled water, but if not, EWG has a good article explaining why.
Consumers Guide to Seafood: “Which fish are richest in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, lowest in mercury contamination and sustainably produced? Get a downloadable guide here. There is a seafood calculator that is really helpful. You put in your weight, age, gender, heart disease (yes or no) & it calculates what fish you can safely eat & how often. Try it out!
EWG’s 10th Annual Guide to Sunscreens: A bit late for this year, unless you plan on a trip to sunnier climes during this winter Included is a list of tips on how to keep your skin healthy with or without the sunscreen. Keep this link handy for next year.
Good Food on a Tight Budget: “BETTER FOOD, LOWER COST: Stretching your dollars to get a month’s worth of healthy, filling food is a challenge. EWG assessed nearly 1,200 foods and hand-picked the best 100 or so that pack in nutrients at a good price, with the fewest pesticides, contaminants and artificial ingredients. Enjoy!” I am impressed with this link. It is a must read for everyone. Food can be expensive & this site will help you understand which foods are a good buy: fruits, veggies, grains, protein, dairy, cooking oil & staples. It also includes recipes!

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Autumn Vegetables to Try.
posted October 3rd, 2016


We all get stuck on a handful of vegetables that we alternate between. Usually it is broccoli, carrots, potatoes, lettuce etc. Autumn is a good time to change that by introducing new vegetables & fruits into your repertoire. Oldway’s, one of my favorite websites, sent out their newsletter declaring October as Vegtoberfest: Putting More Plants On Your Plate It fits right in with today’s post.

Vegtoberfest is a month-long campaign to get YOU to eat more plants, and to share your personal story behind going “veg” for the month. To participate in Vegtoberfest this October, you do not have to already be a vegetarian or vegan; in fact, you don’t even have to go completely vegetarian for the entire month if you don’t want to. You just have to put more plants on your plate! Click on the link to join the program

I am going to highlight a few vegetables & fruits that we tend to overlook this time of year & include links to recipes.

•Artichokes: If you have friends from out of state you already know that artichokes are a “California thing”. Your friend will invariably ask “How do I eat this?” We have 4 artichoke plants. The first season this year gave us 85 artichokes! Luckily we love them. We are now having a fall season which brings smaller artichokes. I like them best when they are small. You can eat close to 90% of the artichoke when they are about the size of a lemon. I still prefer them steamed but we did enjoy them roasted.

How to Cook & Eat an Artichoke from Simply Recipes: Great aticle with steps on how to cook it & how to eat it I add cloves of garlic under a few of the leaves. If you have smaller artichokes there is no need to cut the tips off.

Need a New Artichoke Recipe? We Found Some of the Best! from the Huffington Post This has 30 recipes! I can’t wait to try some of them.
•Brussels Sprouts: They look like tiny cabbages because they are thought to have been cultivated from the cabbage. You should look for fresh Brussels Sprouts that have tight leaves. You can buy them still on the stalk & they do last longer that way. I like them steamed but my favorite is roasted. Ours are not quite ready yet but I am seeing them in the market.

Brussels Sprouts Recipes That Will Change Your Life from PureWow: Wow! Never thought I would find so many recipes for these.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts from food network: This is how I do mine, but I add a dash or two of Tamari Sauce to the oil. You can sprinkle Parmesan cheese or Nutritional Yeast over them before serving.
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Updates: Sugar, Mediterranean Diet & Pain Control Options.
posted September 19th, 2016

sugar-photoThe latest news about sugar is right up there with the lies told by the tobacco industry for so long. Apparently, starting back in the 1960’s, the Sugar Research Foundation, has been influencing research regarding the relationship between sugar & heart disease. It has shifted the blame onto fat in the American diet. Research at that time was done by Harvard scientists but funded by the Sugar Research Foundation.

This is important news to me because it uncovers the following problems. First, how powerful specific food lobbyists are & how research can be funded by the very people who don’t want negative information on their product to come to light. The funding group is not always named on the research study, giving you the impression that it is an independent study. This is a good article by NPR, explaining the 1967 situation with sugar vs fat. 50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat: “In the article, published Monday, authors Glantz, Cristin Kearns and Laura Schmidt aren’t trying make the case for a link between sugar and coronary heart disease. Their interest is in the process. They say the documents reveal the sugar industry attempting to influence scientific inquiry and debate.” This original study caused scientists & the American public to jump on the non-fat diet craze. We now know that this was a bad idea & that our body needs fat to function.

I think this new information shows us how important it is to not listen to everything said about what foods are “good” & what foods are “bad”. It is another case to back up the idea of a balanced plant based diet, indulging in favorite foods occasionally & in moderation, while choosing a healthy lifestyle. Overall this is the best way to build up your immune system to fight off diseases.

Old-ways-Mediterranian-pyramidMy old favorite, the Mediterranean Diet has been in the news again. An article by CNN states that Mediterranean diet may be more helpful than statins. “The observational study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference this weekend. It showed that the people who have had a history of cardiovascular disease and stuck closest to the diet had a 37% lower risk of death compared with those who didn’t stick with it.” The study went on to say that “The diet seems to do even better than one of the most prescribed options for people with heart problems: cholesterol-lowering statins. On average, statins reduce risk of heart problems about 24%, according to earlier studies. That means the diet looks like a real winner to help with heart health.” We can add that to the long list of health benefits…
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Quick Breads
posted September 12th, 2016

Last week I talked about the different types of yeast & yeast breads. For those of us who decide to make a bread or muffin at the last minute, yeast breads are out of the question. We need something simple & quick.

At this time of year gardens are overflowing with zucchini. I have made & frozen 6 loaves so far. Today, I am going to try zucchini muffins. These types of quick breads are wonderful to give as gifts or to trade for pickled beets, like I did

Speaking of zucchini, here is an amazing website, sent to me by our NUT Elf Suzi. 63 Game-Changing Zucchini Recipes! Zucchini Lattice Lasagna looks good. No noodles!

Back to quick breads. Wikipedia defines quick breads as: “Quick bread is any bread leavened with leavening agents other than yeast or eggs. An advantage of quick breads is their ability to be prepared quickly and reliably, without requiring the time-consuming skilled labor and the climate control needed for traditional yeast breads.”

Quick breads can be made from dough or batter; biscuits to breads. They are made with quick acting leavening agents: baking soda, baking powder or both combined. Let’s look at these two and what they are.

eb86e486-fc3a-4d23-970a-bbd5a414703bEveryone recognizes this little box. Description: “Sure, you know our little orange box. But did you know that for more than 165 years, people have chosen pure, versatile, effective, safe, and affordable ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda for baking, household, and personal care uses. With countless uses for about $1, no other product does more throughout your home.”

Baking soda’s chemical name is sodium bicarbonate. It is used in cooking, cleaning & toothpaste. I use it a lot in cleaning. That is another good topic for another time. Baking soda is from a natural occurring mineral nahcolite which is mined, then processed. From About Education…“Baking Soda: Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!” I have had that experience!
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Yeast & Yeast Breads
posted September 5th, 2016

Bob’s Red Mill Bread recipes

Bob’s Red Mill Bread recipes

Yeast breads are one of my favorite foods, along with french fries & coffee Have you ever wondered about yeast? What it is made from & the difference between bakers yeast & nutritional yeast? I will answer these questions & include instructions in making a basic yeast bread along with other recipes. I can smell that yeast bread already  

There are three types of yeast that we hear about: nutritional yeast, brewers yeast & bakers yeast. They all come from different strains of the same organism called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Yeast is a member of the fungi family, like mushrooms.

y001As its name suggests, brewers yeast is used to brew homemade wines & beers. The Saccharomyces strains that are chosen to make brewers yeast, are those that produce alcohol. This yeast is live but will not make bread rise.

According to WebMD: Brewers yeast has also been used, anecdotally; which means that there is very little scientific data to back its use, for the following conditions.

•Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
•Swelling of the colon (colitis) due to the bacteria Clostridium difficile.
•High cholesterol.
•Upper respiratory tract infection, including the common cold and flu (influenza).
•Loss of appetite.
•Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of brewer’s yeast for these uses.

It is usually taken in the form of a supplement. If you decide to try this supplement, you want to discuss this with your health team first. It could interact with your medications & your labs.

Nutritional yeast, or “hippie dust” as it is affectionately called, is a “deactivated yeast” grown on molasses. It is washed, dried, heated & then flaked. Because it is not a live or active yeast, it will not make bread rise & will not help in making alcoholic beverages It is a good source of vitamin B12.

Nutritional yeast is used in food to enhance its flavor. It has a nutty, cheesy taste. Vegans & vegetarians have been using it for years, me included, to sprinkle onto their popcorn in place of butter or cheese. I keep it in a shaker to put on the table along with other spices. I also add it to pots of beans or other soups to give them a creamier taste. A little bit goes a long way.

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Ancient Grains
posted August 29th, 2016

Ancient-Grain-1There has been an upsurge of interest in ancient grains. They are thought to be healthier for us & have found a place on various superfood lists. The grains that are considered to be ancient or heritage grains may surprise you. You may even be more surprised to see that one of our most common grains is not listed; wheat as it is grown today.

I will be looking at the ancient grains that Oldways, Whole Grains Council says are overlooked by the “Western Palate”. Teff, millet, amaranth, sorghum & quinoa. Recipes for each will be included These grains are each a powerhouse of protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals. But so are other grains & cereals. Incorporate them into your meals to make for a more interesting, healthy diet.

Oldways, Whole Grains Council: definition of ancient grains:There is no official definition of ‘ancient grains.’ All whole grains in the larger sense are “ancient” — they all can trace their roots back to the beginnings of time.

However, here at the Whole Grains Council, we generally define ancient grains loosely as grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years.

This means that modern wheat (constantly bred and changed) is not an ancient grain, while einkorn, emmer/farro, Kamut®, and spelt would be considered ancient grains in the wheat family. Heirloom varieties of other common grains — such as black barley, red and black rice, blue corn — might also be considered ancient grains. Other grains largely ignored until recently by Western palates (such as sorghum, teff, millet, quinoa, amaranth) would also be widely considered to be ancient grains. Sometimes less common grains, like buckwheat, or wild rice, are also included.

Let’s have a look…

Teff: Gluten free. It is high in iron, magnesium, & calcium. 1 cup of dry Teff: Fiber: 15 grams/cup, protein: 26 grams/cup.

Oldways, Whole Grain Council: “This nutritious and easy-to-grow type of millet is largely unknown outside of Ethiopia, India and Australia. Today it is getting more attention for its sweet, molasses-like flavor and its versatility; it can be cooked as porridge, added to baked goods, or even made into “teff polenta.” Teff grows in three colors: red, brown and white.”

I have had teff in breads but I have not tried cooking with it. I like the sweet, molasses flavor. I bought a package of red teff to try.
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Medical Marijuana Update
posted August 22nd, 2016

kentucky032003_fig2_hrI thought that I would have good news this week for those who advocate & use Medical Cannabis. Unfortunately the new decision by the DEA isn’t quite what we all expected. I want to explore the reasons & implications of the new ruling.

What exactly did the Drug Enforcement Agency report? Here is a link to the official announcement. DEA official site…August 11, 2016, DEA Announces Actions Related to Marijuana and Industrial Hemp: “The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several marijuana- related actions, including actions regarding scientific research and scheduling of marijuana, as well as principles on the cultivation of industrial hemp under the Agricultural Act of 2014.” The last section concerning industrial hemp leaves the legality of industrial hemp CBD oil products up in the air also.

Washington Post…8/11/16… U.S. affirms its prohibition on medical marijuana: “The government refused again Thursday to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, reaffirming its conclusion that the drug’s therapeutic value has not been proved scientifically and defying a growing clamor to legalize it for the treatment of a variety of conditions.

In an announcement in the Federal Register and a letter to petitioners, the Drug Enforcement Administration turned down requests to remove marijuana from “Schedule I,” which classifies it as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use” in the United States and precludes doctors from prescribing it.” This defies logic in my humble opinion. The DEA has, until now, effectively blocked any real research into the medical uses of cannabis by restricting the availability of “legal DEA grown crops” for research purposes. They have ignored the painstaking research that has been done & published because the source of the cannabis is questionable or the research has not been from the United States.

This ruling has been a major blow in California. The upcoming November ballot, in California, includes Proposition 64 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. “A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of legalizing marijuana and hemp under state law and enacting certain sales and cultivation taxes.” An interesting development. Medical Cannabis is already legal in California.

Los Angeles Times…8/13/16… DEA ends its monopoly on marijuana growing for medical research: “The federal government is ending its decades-old monopoly on marijuana production for medical research as the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Thursday that it was bowing to changing times. The agency said it would begin allowing researchers and drug companies to use pot grown in places other than its well-secured facility at the University of Mississippi.” This is the good news. Now, other facilities will be allowed to grow the strain of cannabis that they want to research. The results should change the DEA’s “mind” in future. The “bad news” is that the DEA will have certain requirements for that research, which will include tight security measures. These measures will be costly & may even cause major research facilities in universities to opt out.
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Updates: Alcohol, Supplements, & Diet.
posted August 15th, 2016

I mentioned in last weeks post that ~maybe~ I would talk about the latest studies on alcohol & cancer, dietary supplements, & meat eaters vs. plant based diets. Several NUTs emailed me that they were very interested in being updated.

The most recent study from the University of Otago, in New Zealand, as reported by Medscape last week: No Confusion: Alcohol Causes Seven Cancers. “There is “strong evidence” that alcohol causes seven cancers, and other evidence indicates that it “probably” causes more, according to a new literature review published online July 21 in Addiction.

Epidemiologic evidence supports a causal association of alcohol consumption and cancers of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and female breast, says Jennie Connor, MB, ChB, MPH, from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, in Dunegin, New Zealand. In short, alcohol causes cancer.”

This is a very good article & well worth the read. It explains how the use of certain words diminish the results of scientific research in the eyes of the public as well as other scientists: “The use of causal language in scientific and public discussions is “patchy,” she writes. For example, articles and newspaper stories often use expressions such as “alcohol-related cancer” and “alcohol-attributable cancer”; they refer to a “link” between alcohol and cancer and to the effect of alcohol on “the risk of cancer.”

These wordings “incorporate an implicit causal association, but are easily interpreted as something less than cancer being caused by drinking,” observes Dr Connor.” This is true with the results of most studies. The public then interprets the wording to coincide with what they want to hear. Even when we talk about a “direct link”, the word link can be thought of as a possibility. We use mind tricks to bend information to our liking. A very human thing to do.

In the article is the following quote which should be seen as an absolute, no question & no confusion: “One British expert had an opinion about alcohol’s carcinogenicity. In a statement about the new review, Prof Dorothy Bennett, director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute at St. George’s, University of London, said: “Alcohol enters cells very easily, and is then converted into acetaldehyde, which can damage DNA and is a known carcinogen.” I recommend that you read this article & decide for yourself. I don’t see the confusion behind all of the previous research done. In my mind, alcohol causes cancer just like smoking causes cancer. The tobacco & alcohol industry have an incentive to keep us confused about research that damages their products use. It is ultimately your decision.
supplement 1


New study sounds the alarm on dietary supplements CBS News: “A new investigation may have you rethinking some of your vitamins.

Consumer Reports finds certain ingredients in dietary supplements sold around the country can carry major health risks, including heart palpitations, allergic reactions and pain, reports CBS Sports’ Dana Jacobson.”

Other headlines asked; are your dietary supplements killing you? I am not a supplement fan unless your blood work by a reputable physician shows that you have a deficiency that diet alone will not help. Yet, I think these headlines are misleading & unfair. As the article I cited states: it is the “extra ingredients” in the supplements that are causing major problems. “A new study by Consumer Reports outlined health risks associated with dietary supplements — including vitamins, probiotics and weight-loss aids. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective, dietary supplements do not have to go through FDA approval….“It could be adulterated, it could be counterfeit, it could be hiding prescription drugs,” Gill said.” I have discussed this before. This is a true statement. The supplement industry itself has been setting up safeguards to assure that, what the label says is in the product, is in fact, what is in the product!
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Depression Era/WWII Cooking
posted August 8th, 2016

Anyone-Can-BakeI was looking through my mother’s & grandmother’s recipes, for one my grandson asked me for, when it struck me how frugal they were with their ingredients & portion sizes. They both lived through the Great Depression & World War II, which explains a lot. Were you told to clean your plate? Did you also hear “waste not want not” (which actually goes back to the 1700’s & possibly earlier)? In our grandparents era these admonitions were meant to stop wasting food.

I thought it would be more fun to explore some cookbooks & recipes from this era rather than talk about the new study on why supplements are killing you, meat eaters die younger than plant eaters & the link between alcohol & 7 cancers. We can talk about that another time…maybe

The Great Depression (1929-39) began after the stock market crash of 1929. What interests me during this time frame is how people had to change the way they ate & cooked. The economy was at its lowest, no jobs & no money to buy food. By 1939 the U.S. was preparing for WWII. They needed to insure that enough food was available for our troops overseas. “On January 30, 1942, the Emergency Price Control Act granted the Office of Price Administration (OPA) the authority to set price limits and ration food and other commodities in order to discourage hoarding and ensure the equitable distribution of scarce resources. By the spring, Americans were unable to purchase sugar without government-issued food coupons. Vouchers for coffee were introduced in November, and by March of 1943, meat, cheese, fats, canned fish, canned milk and other processed foods were added to the list of rationed provisions.” After the war these restrictions were lifted, but sugar remained a rationed item until 1947.

In addition to rationing, people were encouraged to grow their own food. When you think of the advent of Victory Gardens, you automatically think of WWII. They actually started during WWI. The U.S. government encouraged every American to grow fruits & vegetables on any plot of land they could find: “sow the seeds of victory”. In 1917 there were 3 million new garden plots & by 1918, 5 million! The government offered pamphlets & classes on agriculture, canning & drying food. The gardens dropped off after the war but were reestablished at the beginning of WWII. With rationing came a big incentive to have a garden. For more information about this time period, see my resource list at the end of this post.

We now have community gardens, to encourage us to eat healthier, reconnect with our food & to enjoy the closeness of the community of gardeners. Check out a Community Garden near you:

Encinitas Community Garden
San Diego Community Garden Network This site has a map that shows all the community gardens including North County. They also show where there are gardening classes.
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Pantry staples & new recipes.
posted August 1st, 2016

August-veggiesOur garden is flourishing right now with many different vegetables. Some are old favorites like potatoes, carrots, peas & broccoli. Some I have never heard of; my husband loves to try new types of greens. So, I need some new, simple recipes to keep up! I enjoy going through magazines, websites & older cookbooks for recipes. There are so many out there!

I have found that cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. Time consuming, yes But if you make large batches, portions can be frozen. The key is to keep it simple, starting with your pantry.

I have been asked, by many of you, what I keep in my pantry & what type of food processor I use. The only “culinary machines” I have in my pantry are: a Bullet blender, an immersion blender, a slow cooker (crock-pot), toaster oven & my Vitamix. They are simple to use & all I have needed. The most important implements are my mismatched knives Chopping & dicing veggies can be a mindfulness event. A way of slowing down & connecting to your food.

Let’s look at what staples I have in my pantry & then go on to some recipes.

My pantry staples include the following ~ all are organic.

Various dried beans: pinto, chili, kidney, soldier, garbanzo, lentils &13 bean mix. I store them in quart, large mouth, canning jars.
Grains: quinoa & different types of rice. My favorite is black rice because of its nutty taste. I also keep brown rice for recipes that need a “plainer” rice. Also stored in quart, large mouth, canning jars.
Rolled & steel cut oats.
Pasta. Plain old semolina.
Raw nuts & seeds: walnuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds & whatever I find on sale. Also stored in quart, large mouth, canning jars.
Canned organic diced & roasted tomatoes (BPA free can)
4 ounce cans of diced green chilies. Wonderful to throw into any stir-fry, bean pot etc.
Whole grain cereal.
Whole grain crackers.
Spices & dried herbs. The herbs are from my herbal garden.
Nutritional yeast: on popcorn & veggies gives buttery flavor.
My favorite broth: …
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Artificial Sweeteners
posted July 25th, 2016

Artificial sweeteners are always in the news. The big question & debate has been if they are safe or not. This week that is not why they are newsworthy. The debate this time is whether or not a new study is correct in concluding that artificial sweeteners can cause an increase in appetite of 30% resulting in a weight gain. Along with this news, Pepsi had decided to drop the artificial sweetener aspartame from its Diet Pepsi sodas, but has changed its mind. I want to address all three issues: are they safe, do they cause weight gain & why did Pepsi drop aspartame in their diet sodas in the first place.

Sugar-Free-PhotoWe are on a constant quest to find the perfect substitute for sugar. I would wager that billions of dollars have been spent in laboratories to find this liquid gold. I would like to share this article with you because it shows the lengths we go to, to find that perfect calorie free sweetener. The authors search leads him to “the miracle berry”: In Search of the Perfect Sweetener. Here are a few quotes from the author, Michael Mosley. “I have had a love affair with sugar that has lasted all of my life. I adore the sweet stuff and in my youth knocked back gallons of sugary drinks and ate as many desserts as I could sink my teeth into.

Unfortunately it is a love affair that has brought me nothing but grief. The sugar I gleefully ate and drank rotted my teeth, so that almost every tooth in my face has had to be filled, drilled or replaced. All those sugary carbs also helped pile on the fat, which sent my blood sugar levels soaring.”

In the article he states: “For years now there has been a vigorous debate as to whether using artificial sugars will help you lose weight or not. A recent meta-analysis which looked at the results of more than 100 different human studies concluded that when artificial sweeteners replace sugar in the diet (rather than simply being added on top) then this can lead to weight loss.

The Harvard School of Public Health, however, points out that there are lots of conflicting studies, including those which suggest that drinking artificially sweetened drinks may increase your risk, not just of weight gain, but of type 2 diabetes. No-one really knows how artificial sugars could do this but a study done by a group in Israel suggests it might be via the impact of artificial sugar on your gut bacteria.

In this study, published last year in the science journal, Nature, the Israeli researchers asked a group of lean and healthy volunteers who didn’t normally use artificial sweeteners to consume the maximum acceptable dose for a week. At the end of the week half the volunteers were showing signs of glucose intolerance, an early step in the journey to type 2 diabetes. The researchers think this could be because the bacteria in their guts reacted to the artificial sugars by secreting substances that cause inflammation. This is certainly what they have seen in animals.” A healthy gut is extremely important. We have learned that there is a direct connection between brain & gut. What affects the gut, affects the brain.
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Hooray for Pasta!
posted July 18th, 2016

Who doesn’t love pasta! I was so excited to see this new study: Italian researchers say pasta isn’t fattening : “Researchers at Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed I.R.C.C.S. said their findings suggest pasta consumption is associated with a lower body mass index, or BMI. After reviewing the data from two significant epidemiological studies, researchers determined that pasta consumption was not linked to a higher rate of obesity. They found the opposite.” …..”Iacoviello says that followers of the Mediterranean diet can consume pasta as they would other components of the diet — in moderation.” Hmm, there is that word again, moderation

I read the research study & several articles about this revelation. What they are saying is that the pasta itself is not “fattening or bad”. It has been a staple in the Mediterranean diet dating back to the ancient Etruscan civilization. For more information about it’s history: International Pasta Organization. This is before obesity. Pasta probably got its “bad” reputation from the sauce. It has gone from a healthy vegetable topping to sauces with high amounts of salt, sugar & fat.

Pasta is a processed food, but one that has a simple ingredient list. Traditional pasta is made from semolina durum flour, salt, egg & water. Pasta is easy to make: Basic Pasta Recipe with Egg. Most pasta you buy in the U.S. is made from semolina durum flour, salt & water. You can also make this eggless pasta at home: Eggless Pasta

penneI prefer to buy my pasta to have on hand. Such a simple, healthy, & fast meal. The brand I use is Bionaturae/Durum Semolina. This brand also has gluten free pasta & whole wheat pasta. I love pasta & I like it cooked al dente. I can’t achieve this with rice pasta or even whole wheat. I just don’t like the texture. Bionaturae’s gluten free is made with rice flour & potato starch. It is the best texture I have found. Their whole wheat is very good as well. But I still prefer the simple durum semolina pasta. Look at their website product list. Their canned products are BPA free!

Pasta comes in lots of shapes & sizes. Pasta Shapes Dictionary: “There is a pasta shape to complement every pasta dish out there. Pairing the correct pasta shape can make a big difference in your overall satisfaction when cooking.
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Raw Food Warnings
posted July 11th, 2016

My-Plate-1-e1438021039148If you have had chemotherapy or radiation, you have probably been warned at some time during your treatment, to not eat any raw meats, fish, vegetables, fruits & dairy. Then you panicked. For how long! What do I eat for goodness sake! I just got on this great plant based diet! No need to panic. Usually this warning lasts for a few weeks until your immune system is stronger.

Sometimes during treatment your immune system is compromised, weakened. During this time you need to stay away from any organisms like bacteria that can make you sick. You know that if a friend or family member is ill that you should stay away from them or at least wear a mask. The same precautions need to be taken with cooked & raw foods.

You may have seen the headlines this week; “Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough!” A lot of people were traumatized when they saw this, including my husband We have already been told not to eat cookie dough if it contains raw eggs due to the possibility of salmonella. This time, however, it is because of the flour used in the recipe. The FDA is warning us not to eat any raw batters: cookie dough, bread dough, cake batter etc.

Wheat flour comes from the milling of wheat grain. The FDA states that it is possible that animal waste could contaminate the grains in the field. Sometimes there is E-coli in the waste. Since the milled flour isn’t heated, the bacteria can thrive. Okay, this is true, but it doesn’t happen very often. If you have a compromised immune system then to be safe, it is a good idea to stay away from raw dough of all kinds.

Vegetables & fruits also come from fields where there is bacteria in the soil. This includes Organic veggies & fruits as well. Washing them does not kill or wash away 100% of the bacteria. It doesn’t matter what kind of wash you use, some bacteria can survive. Chances of you becoming ill are low, but ~I think~ you should err on the side of caution.

What you can do during this time is steam or grill a variety of vegetables that you enjoy: zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic etc. Steam them until they are cooked but still have a crunchy texture. You have killed the bacteria. Now place them in the refrigerator to chill. You can serve them cold or hot with a salad dressing. You can be creative with the mix of veggies & add spices to the dressing. Grilled Vegetable Salad is wonderful! I marinate them first. Hot German Potato salad is a good option also. I would use olive oil instead of bacon grease, but if you choose to use the bacon grease, use it in moderation.
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Bone Broth
July 5th, 2016

For the week of July 4th, Mary is sharing the latest article from our Contributing Writer’s page. Check it out on Mary’s Reality-Based Nutrition Blog Page, or on the SDCRI Contributing Writer’s page.

Fat Update
posted June 27th, 2016

It is difficult to wade through all the fad diets that appear on the Internet. Some promise weight-loss, getting rid of belly fat, weight-gain & more. We spend a lot of time worrying about what to eat. We look for “super foods” to add to our diet. We restrict nutrients by eating foods based on what diets celebrities are using at the time. We also believe what the government recommends each year. Just look at the non-fat diet craze of the 1980’s. When will we learn?

We have discussed fat in our diets several times. We learned that the non-fat diet fad did not help obesity or our health. Actually, it caused problems due to fact that our body needs fat to work properly. The Government’s yearly diet guidelines, 2015-2020, includes the following:

A Healthy Eating Pattern Includes:
•Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
•A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds
•Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.

Then in 2016 the headlines screamed….”Eat Bacon, Butter & Eggs Every Day” This next article is very interesting. They quote my favorite author.

Whole milk is okay. Butter and eggs too. What’s next — bacon? Good article. “We asked him, (Michael Pollen), to elaborate on his famous instruction to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” He writes: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. All you need to know. Yes, we constantly divide the nutritional landscape into good and evil nutrients. There are several problems with this manichaen approach to food, but one is that, as soon as you demonize one nutrient — say, fat — you give a free pass to another, supposedly less-evil nutrient — carbs. What I call the Snackwell’s phenomenon, after that Nabisco line of no-fat junk food in the 1980s. Since these cookies, crackers and chips didn’t contain any of the evil nutrients, people felt they could binge on them. This is story of the low-fat campaign writ small: consumption of fat in absolute terms remained steady while consumption of supposedly innocent carbs skyrocketed. Nutritionism is a great way to sell food, since you can market the absence of evil nutrients or the presence of blessed ones, but its not a good way to eat. Which is why we got fat during the years of the low-fat campaign.” He is so right about labeling ingredients “evil” or “good”. This is exactly what happened to fat. It is also a brilliant way to sell food. Think about how many “super foods” have popped up in the last 5 years. How many did you buy based on the marketing? Acai berries, kale & quinoa are great examples of this.

I believe that the typical American feels that in all things, including medications, if one is good then 10 are better! More is just simply more. So if an “evil” food is bad then the “blessed” foods can be eaten all day! Moderation is the key.
So what is new with fat? Well,…
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A Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Cancer Risks.
posted June 13th, 2016

salt-photo-300x300According to the FDA, the average American consumes 3,400 mgm of sodium per day. This is equal to approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. 75% of this comes from added salt in processed food & food prepared in restaurants . The FDA is asking the food & restaurant industry to voluntarily cut the amount of salt in their products over the next 2 years. The target is to reduce the consumers average intake from 3,400 mgm to 2,300 mgm per day.

The reason behind this? FDA issues draft guidance to food industry for voluntarily reducing sodium in processed and commercially prepared food

“Americans consume almost 50 percent more sodium than what most experts recommend. One in three individuals has high blood pressure, which has been linked to diets high in sodium and is a major risk factor cause of heart disease and stroke. That number climbs to one in two African Americans and even includes one in 10 children aged 8-17. While a majority of Americans reports watching or trying to reduce added salt in their diets, the deck has been stacked against them. The majority of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods, not the salt shaker.”

Salt contains the electrolyte/mineral sodium as well as chloride. The body needs sodium to control the volume of blood by attracting & holding water. This maintains your blood pressure. Sodium controls the total amount of water in & outside of your cells, maintaining fluid balance. It is also important in how muscles & nerves function.

Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure in some people. This in turn can lead to heart disease. Low sodium levels are uncommon & are usually caused by diarrhea, malnutrition & heart failure.

This article, FDA takes aim at sodium in packaged & prepared foods, on the Mayo Clinic website is especially informative. Take time to read the entire article. Here are two excerpts: “Efforts to reduce sodium intake over the past 40 years have been mainly educational and are not successful. Americans are still consuming too much sodium, approximately 1.5 times more than they should be. Approximately three-quarters of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from sodium added to foods during manufacturing and at restaurants. Therefore, lowering most everyone’s intake of sodium must involve those preparing commercial foods. Why do packaged and restaurant foods have so much sodium? Sodium or salt in food limits bacterial growth, adds stability and enhances flavor.”

“There has been controversy over lowering sodium intake. A 2013 Institute of Medicine report confirmed a positive relationship between higher levels of sodium intake and the risk of heart disease. It also found both substantial evidence of population benefit and no evidence of harm associated with reductions in sodium intake down to 2,300 mg a day.”
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Becoming a Healthy Vegan.
posted June 6th, 2016

Becoming a vegan is simple; quit eating all animal products. Becoming a healthy vegan is a bit more complicated. As with any way of eating, we must take care in our nutritional choices.

A cupcake, candy bar, cookies, breads, pasta dishes, & more can be vegan. Not all vegan products are necessarily the healthiest of choices. In general you should follow the same dietary suggestions as anyone else. No alcohol, avoid processed foods, read the labels, avoid added sugars, eat a plant based diet, exercise etc.

In my opinion there are 2 types of vegans; those looking for a healthier way of eating & those who embrace the healthy, compassionate, vegan lifestyle. Both are wonderfully healthy ways to live. In the second type, embracing the vegan lifestyle also means compassion towards animals. Here are a few examples.

No honey: as it exploits the bees.
No leather goods: buying leather perpetuates the abuse of animals.
No ridding of horses, mules or any other animal: exploits the animal & can lead to abuse & injuries.
Racing of dogs, horses & other animals: also exploits the animal & can lead to abuse & injuries.

I am going to concentrate on the vegan diet, not the lifestyle. Among famous vegans are doctors, athletes, artists, actors & great thinkers. From their examples, we know that being a vegan can be a healthy choice. We just need to understand what a healthy vegan diet looks like so we get all the nutrients our body needs to function.

This is the vegan pyramid from: Ordinary Vegan
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A Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Cancer Risks.
posted May 31st, 2016

Redwood-by-KimThe health news this past week has been about decreasing the risk of most cancers through a healthy lifestyle. Several studies have been done in this area. One study concerns reducing the risk for breast cancer among white women no matter what their genetic markers are showing. Another study was done to show lifestyle changes could drastically reduce the risk of most cancers.

The “healthy lifestyle” these studies are talking about is basically what we have been discussing on our site since the beginning. We are way ahead of them
•Moderate to no alcohol.
•No smoking. Never have or have quit.
•Maintain a healthy weight (BMI between 18.5 & 27.5) This is not a bad range when you look at the BMI chart.
•Have a weekly exercise program of at least 1 1/2 hours of moderate intensity. That would be 30 minutes a day/5 days a week.
•In addition; women who decreased their breast cancer risk in the study did not use hormone replacement therapy after menopause.

These studies were done with Caucasians only. The results are unknown for the ethnic population. I would think that no matter what ethnic group you belong to, the above list would cut the risk of most cancers. The researchers just don’t know by how much.

New method for predicting breast cancer risk suggests about 30% of cases could be prevented: May 31, 2016: “Ask almost any health-conscious woman who’s mustered under a giant pink ribbon, and she’ll tell you what an American woman’s chances are of getting breast cancer in her lifetime: one-in-eight.

But that’s a national average. And as the relative influence of genes, behavior and environmental factors on cancer risk come into clearer focus, women increasingly have begun to understand that they’re not all average.

New research is helping to refine those numbers, and to clarify what it would take for a woman to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. It concludes that, at some point in her life span, a 30-year-old white woman in the United States has a probability of developing breast cancer that lies somewhere between 4.4% and 23.5%.

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New & improved food labels are coming!
posted May 23rd, 2016

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has announced that they are making over the food labels for most packaged foods. The current food label, to the left below, was introduced 20 years ago. The label has been changed only a few times since then. For example, trans fats, was added in 2006. The new label will be out on packaged foods, those regulated by the FDA, by 2018.

Here are the old vs. the new label format from the FDA

Side-by-Side Comparison: Chart with a side-by-side comparison of the original nutrition facts label on the left and the new nutrition facts label on the right.

Let’s look at the key changes from the FDA press release: “FDA modernizes Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods

Key Updates

The new Nutrition Facts label will include the following.

An updated design to highlight “calories” and “servings,” two important elements in making informed food choices. This is an important part of the label. It tells you how many servings are in the package & how many calories there are per serving. Having it bold or highlighted is a very good idea.

Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food that people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. By law, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat. I am in total disagreement with this change. Note the key words here: serving sizes are based on what people actually eat. It will not be based on ideal portions. Our plates are larger & our portions are larger than in 1993. The amounts people actually eat, does not necessarily reflect a “healthy choice”. Years ago I visited the Ben & Jerry’s original location in Vermont. On the tour, the guide pointed out that a 3.6 ounce carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was considered a single serving in Japan & they were sold that way there. In the U.S. the smallest carton sold as a single serving was a pint (2 cups). The guide said that the 3.6 ounce didn’t sell here I see on line that the 3.6 ounce carton is now sold in a “party pack” of 12. I have never seen them in a grocery store. Says a lot about how we eat.
Serving size changes…
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In the News!
posted May 16th, 2016



Lots of interesting articles in the news this week. The FDA has decided to redefine “healthy” foods The UK is looking at yogurt & obesity, antibiotics in animal feed is back in the news, & a warning regarding kids & gluten free products. There is also a new study on foods that lower the risk of breast cancer. I have some fun stuff too! Here we go!

What does the term, “healthy food choices”, mean to you? Maybe a granola bar instead of a Snickers, or iced green tea instead of a coke. To the FDA, a “healthy” food label means low fat. Because of new research that shows that some fats, like nuts, are healthy, the FDA must now reconsider what products can use the term “healthy”.

Why The FDA Is Re-Evaluating The Nutty Definition Of ‘Healthy’ Food: “Currently, if a food company wants to put a “healthy” claim on its label, regulations stipulate that it must be very low in fat. The specific rules are complex, but, for instance, a snack food can contain no more than 3 grams of fat for a regular-size serving. This means that many snacks that include nuts don’t qualify as healthy.

The FDA says that in light of evolving nutrition research, it is now planning to solicit public and expert comment to come up with a new definition that will help consumers make informed choices.” The makers of Kind brand bars were the instigators in this change. You, as a consumer, do have a say in what the FDA regulates. Check out the article.

In another article: FDA to Re-examine What Makes a Food ‘Healthy’ “The nutritional landscape and knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet has changed considerably since 1994, when the FDA first officially used the term “healthy.” Back then, health advocates were taking aim at fats — not sugar or gluten — which are among today’s targets. By those old standards, sugary cereals like raisin bran might be considered a healthier option than an avocado, which contains “good” monounsaturated fat.” Time to make these changes!


The next news article, from BBC Health News, intrigued me because of the title: What yoghurt tells us about the obesity fight Even though this article is from the UK, it is the same story in the USA. “It’s one of the most common items in our shopping basket. We spend more on it than we do on crisps and bacon. In its normal state – natural full-fat – it’s pretty good for you. It can boost your immune system, is good for your bones and is great at satisfying hunger…
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Cannabiodiol: CBD Oil
posted May 9th, 2016

With new laws in many states legalizing medical marijuana, people are confusing CBD oil from industrial hemp with CBD oil from marijuana. CBD oil from industrial hemp is legal to sell in most states including California. You do not need a physicians recommendation or a medical marijuana card to purchase it. I will explain the difference between the two, the research behind CBD oil, what it is used for, & what you need to know to purchase it safely.

From a previous article I wrote about Cannabis Sativa under Topics:

Here is a brief history of cannabis from WebMD: “ In 1937, the U.S. Treasury began taxing Cannabis under the Marijuana Tax Act at one dollar per ounce for medicinal use and one hundred dollars per ounce for recreational use. The American Medical Association (AMA) opposed this regulation of Cannabis and did not want studies of its potential medicinal benefits to be limited. In 1942, Cannabis was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia because of continuing concerns about its safety. In 1951, Congress passed the Boggs Act, which included Cannabis with narcotic drugs for the first time. Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana was classified as a Schedule I drug. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, mescaline, methaqualone, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB).” The Boggs Act included industrial hemp, because it is also Cannabis Sativa, making it illegal to grow. In July of this year, the DEA may remove all Cannabis from Schedule 1. Not only will this decriminalize its use but it will open up research studies.

Definitions you should know:

THC: Tetrahydrocannabidinol: the active ingredient in cannabis, giving it its narcotic and psychoactive effects. Collins EnglishDictionary

CBD: Cannabidiol is a compound in cannabis that has medical effects but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counter the psychoactive effects of THC. Project CBD website

Medical Marijuana: Cannabis Sativa that has been hybridized into many new plants to increase the psychotropic effects. It has a THC content of between 5-20%. New strains can have as much as 25-30% THC.

Industrial hemp: Cannabis Sativa that historically was hybridized to maximize the fiber, seed and oil content. It has a THC content of between 0.05 & 1%. “CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of hemp. Its properties are more beneficial for treatment and prevention of illnesses and ailments. All of these benefits come with no psychoactive response in the system.” from HoneyColony.

Industrial Hemp is illegal to grow in the United States because it is lumped in with Cannabis Sativa, on Schedule 1; even though it is low in THC. It is legal to import hemp products into the United States because it is low in THC More than 30 countries worldwide grow industrial hemp, including Canada. Marijuana is illegal in most of these countries because the two plants have been separated by their THC content as well as by the genetic differences between the plants.

Interesting to note: Excerpt from the Canna Law Blog… The Precarious Legal Status of CBD: “Though the DEA has no enforcement power over hemp products, it does control hemp cultivation. In order to grow hemp in the U.S., you have to have a permit from the DEA which the DEA typically never issues. Therefore, cultivating hemp without a permit to do so from the DEA remains a federal crime. The only exception is the 2014 federal Farm Bill which allows state departments of agriculture, universities, and colleges to cultivate hemp without a permit from the DEA for educational and research purposes. Because of the prohibition on hemp cultivation without a DEA permit, the hemp products we see in the U.S. typically come from hemp imported from overseas. This means that companies and individuals may freely sell CBD derived from processed hemp (not from marijuana), imported from outside the U.S….
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Mastering Healthy Eating on a Budget by Chef Jessica.
posted May 2nd, 2016

jessica-red-shirtThis weeks post is an article that my friend, Chef Jessica Leibovich, wrote. Jessica is this months Contributing Writer for our nonprofit, The San Diego Cancer Research Institute. If you haven’t discovered this page, then click on the link above & enjoy the many informative articles we have show cased.

Your Complete Guide to Mastering Healthy Eating on a Budget:

Many families spend up to half of the money they earn monthly on meals making it one of the largest expenses. It doesn’t have to be, though, there are ways to keep the food costs down and still eat healthy delicious meals. Healthy eating isn’t rocket science, but our stressful and busy lives make convenience items and restaurants seem more appealing than a healthy and budgeted home prepared meal. If you make healthy eating convenient and affordable at the same time, you’ll have no problem switching to better food. It will just become a regular habit.

Healthy doesn’t always mean expensive, but it always means real. Real food is healthy. Eating whole is eating healthy. If it is in a box or a bag, just because it does not have a lot of calories, does not mean it is healthy. Make your own food! Eat fresh, eat whole.

If you are not used to cooking your own food, there will be a bit of an initial investment in stocking the kitchen but you will quickly see it pay off as you eat from home more and more often.

I also strongly suggest you get a good kitchen knife. This will make cooking more enjoyable. You do not need to buy an expensive set. Having just one chef’s knife and a good paring knife, is really all you need.

Here are two great knives that will literally last a lifetime (if you treat them well).
•Chef’s Knife:
•Paring Knife:

Chef Jessica’s Top Ten Tips to Healthy Eating on a Budget:
1. Do your own grocery shopping and cooking for as many meals as you can…
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Deciphering the FDA Food Pyramid.
posted April 25th, 2016

When I look at the FDA food pyramid & serving recommendations for each food group, I ask myself what a serving really is. Are all servings the same? If not, what is the difference?

It is important to understand what constitutes a serving of vegetables for example. Otherwise it can be overwhelming to think about eating 5 servings! Let’s look at each food group & what we would need to eat according to this pyramid. I am using the older version of the pyramid because it is easier to teach from & to compare to alternative versions.


Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group: 6-11 servings per day. Serving sizes:
•1 slice of bread.
•1/2 cup of cooked cereal such as Oatmeal.
•1/2 cup cooked pasta.
•1/2 cup cooked rice.
•1 cup of dry, prepared cereal such as Whole Grain Flakes.

Vegetable Group: 3-5 servings per day. Serving sizes:
•1/2 cup chopped raw or cooked vegetables.
•1 cup of leafy raw vegetables.
•1 small baked potato.
•1 medium tomato.
•1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (meatless).

Fruit Group: 2-4 servings per day. Serving sizes:
•1 piece of fruit or melon wedge…
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Processed food.
posted April 18th, 2016

When discussing healthy nutrition choices we talk about avoiding processed foods. Lets explore what the word processed means in terms of nutrition. What food items come under this category? Is there such a thing as a healthy processed food? Let’s take a look.

This post idea started when I read an article from Fooducate: Is All Processed Food Bad for Me? The term “processed food” conjures images of junk food constructed from unhealthy ingredients. The Fooducate community knows that we constantly promote the consumption of minimally processed fare. But what exactly is processed food? Is all processed food bad for you by default? Let’s define “food processing”: this is a set of methods and techniques used to transform raw food ingredients into consumable food. Food processing can be as simple as cutting up some vegetables to prepare a salad, or as complex as manufacturing a Twinkie in multiple manufacturing facilities.” This article is very interesting. The author delves into the history of processing foods. After reading it, I started thinking about forbidden “processed foods” and what they are. Where do we draw the line.

The act of processing, as stated in the article, can be as simple as chopping up vegetables for a meal. Obviously this type of processing isn’t what we are talking about.

The United States Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Section 201, Chapter II defines processed food as “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.” These are all ways to preserve food. It enables us to have fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts etc., anytime we want them. Using these methods ourselves, gives us the opportunity to add only what we want to the process. Canning fruits & vegetables can be done without sugar & with very little salt. Freezing bananas is a wonderful way to have them on hand for smoothies & recipes. I use the oven to dehydrate an abundance of Kale, making the leaves into chips. I don’t mill grains anymore but enjoyed the fresh flour when I did.

Not many people have the time to can, dehydrate, mill, or even to cook anymore. The cancer patient’s routine certainly doesn’t leave extra time nor extra personal energy to tackle even the basic daily activities. The changes in lifestyles leading to a faster paced life led manufacturers to come up with processing foods to extend their shelf life for busy people. Because it is done on a large scale, processed foods are generally cheaper.

These are just a few ways of processing foods. Some are mechanical & some are chemical processes.
•Smoking: Meats, fish & even tofu.
•Irradiation: Contraversial! Used on fruits & vegetables, flour & spices. Controls insect manifestation, sprouting of vegetables, & it slows the ripening of fruits
•Freeze-drying: Fruits & vegetables.
•Pasteurizing: Dairy. The purpose is to destroy all pathogens, reduce the number of bacteria, inactivate enzymes and extend the shelf life of a food product.
•Pickling: Vegetables, eggs, & corned beef. They are preserved in an acidic medium/brine.
•Fermentation: Kefir, buttermilk, cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots. Yeast or ferment is added to a liquid mixture of milk, water, & a food. The yeast is allowed to grow. It has the effect of converting the sugar to other compounds.
•Vacuum packs: Coffee, & nuts are good examples.
•Sugaring: Ginger & other fruits. Flowers are sugared for decorations on baked goods.

Foods that are processed but are healthy choices: read the ingredient list!…
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posted April 11th, 2016

photo-1-Copy-2-624x466“Nature in its glory at a rest stop!” Photo by MHollander
For some reason I have been receiving articles & reminders to simply breathe. I am not sure if I am sending out >>STRESS<< signals or what. But the reminder to just breathe is always welcome. After all it is TAX season! That alone is stressful. Adding in doctors appointments, tests, bills and more; we are heading for a crash caused by stress.

When I have discussed improving your health & your immune system I have listed stress relief as an important tool. I have mentioned a number of excellent complementary therapies to help you with your stress: exercise, mindfulness, art, yoga, meditation to name a few. I forgot to mention the simple act of mindful breathing.

Here is a post I received on my Facebook page…..
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Eating Out & other news.
posted April 4th, 2016

Crab-shackWe all need a trip to a Fast Food place or to a nice restaurant. I get tired of cooking every day. I look forward to that night without dishes 🙂 I live in a very small town. There are not a lot of choices.


PerlitasWe have a favorite Mexican food place here. It is family owned & They cook with fresh, basic ingredients. They will make anything vegetarian or vegan if you ask. I am in love with their potato tacos. I skip the sour cream but keep the homemade guacamole. A new place just opened that serves a homemade veggie burger that is very good. I like this place because you can add what you want to it. They also have fries that are amazing. Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful or unhealthy.

Here are some suggestions when eating out. Bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask for a healthier version of what you want.
•Find & study the menu on line before you go. You won’t be tempted to make unhealthy choices when feeling pressured to order.
•Order first. You may cave when you hear your dining companions order before the waitperson gets to you 🙂
•Appetizers: Skip them. They fill you up before your meal arrives & most of them are high in fat. If bread is brought to the table, ask that it be taken away. You can just order from the appetizer menu or from the “sides”. The servings are smaller.
•Avoid “all-you-can-eat” places. You will feel obligated to eat, eat & eat!
•Salad bar: Be careful of those yummy toppings. They can be full of salt, sugar & fat. Be selective & use them in moderation.
•Salad dressing can be very high in fat, sugar & salt. Ask for it on the side. You can then control the amount on your salad. Another old trick is to dip your fork into the side of dressing before each bite of salad.
•Entrees: Pasta, pizza, casserole or burrito: look at what is in it & what comes with it. Sour cream, cheese, oils, salt, & sugar can up those calories. Ask for a smaller portion, have half put in a take out box before it comes to the table, or share with your dining companion.
•Fish & meats: Ask how they are prepared. Go for the fish. If it is deep fried then ask if they can grill, bake or saute the fish or meat in a small amount of oil. Most restaurants will have a healthier version.
•Grains & potatoes: Ask for brown rice rather than white rice. Check the sides to see if they have any other options. If you order the potato then skip some of the toppings. Be choosy.
•Deserts: Sigh…the best part. My husband is great about sharing a desert. That is the only way to go short of not ordering one. It is said that the first bite & the last bite are the best anyway 🙂
•Skip the latte with whipped cream & order plain tea or coffee for after your meal.
•Starve yourself by skipping meals that day….BAD idea. If you eat a normal breakfast & lunch, you won’t be tempted to make unhealthy choices at dinner. This is true if you stay home or eat out.

One of our NUTs sent me this interesting link. 5 Things Nutritionists Order at McDonald’s. It would be funny if it wasn’t a real story. Lets look at some of their choices.
•Grilled Chicken Ranch Snack Wrap and a Side Salad: This is a good choice until the nutritionist says they order a “jug of milk for the calcium to build muscles & bone”. I am shocked that they don’t count the calcium in the salad, dressing & chicken (21 grams/8 ounces of chicken). Drink water, coffee or unsweetened ice tea.
• Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken and Kids Fry I like this one. Instead of craving the fries, she orders the children’s size. Smart move.
• A Regular Hamburger and a Premium Asian Salad Again they top off the meal with a “jug of milk for protein, calcium & vitamin D”! The burger has 12 grams of protein & 10 grams of calcium. Enough for one meal.
• A Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger and a Premium Southwest Salad Good choices here. Plus, she ordered unsweetened iced tea. “This combination is the size of a meal I would make at home. It has 460 calories and around 1/3 of a day’s recommended amount of total fat, dietary fiber, and sodium.”
•Fruit and Maple Oatmeal This one bothers me. “Oatmeal is a great source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, and this 1-cup serving has just 260 calories (less than a bagel!) and 18 grams of sugar — including the fruit (less than some yogurts) — plus 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.” 18 grams of sugar!!! Wow, what kind of yogurt does she eat. Regular oatmeal has 1.1 grams of sugar per cup. This oatmeal has brown sugar (can be optional) & canned fruit. Thumbs down on this one.

Here is a link to the nutritional facts for everything that McDonald’s serves. It is printable: McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items

CBS News: 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants This is an interesting article. “Our friends at surveyed the nation’s 100 largest fast food chains, as defined by the number of locations, and found that many are creating menus that look more and more like what we’d cook ourselves (if we had the time) – from nutritious soups and healthy salads to fresh whole grains and sensible desserts. Even better: They’re offering good-news Mexican, Asian, and Mediterranean fare.”

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Nutrition Tips During Chemotherapy & Bucket Lists
posted March 28th, 2016

Ccard-meLast year I wrote an article about nutrition tips during chemotherapy for my friend Ali Gilmore’s 2nd book: The C Card and Me 2: How I Beat Stage 4 Cancer (again & again). I decided that it was time to update/add to the tips. I also wanted to add a few resources for you.

The first resource is Ali Gilmore’s page. You couldn’t ask for a better role model to follow. Her books are about the lessons she learned during her cancer journey. The books are full of useful information written with a wonderful sense of humor. She is not only an author, but a singer & song writer as well. But she didn’t stop there; her newest adventure is called 12 Adventures. Right now she is in Montana on her 2nd adventure, to learn to “mush”. Here is an article written about this: A bucket-list ride on a dog sled. I am following her on Facebook; the page is called 12 Adventures. What an amazing lady!

At the end of this post you will find a list of Blogs by other cancer survivors. You may find some of them a little “too close to home” & maybe even upsetting. I think you will also find them inspiring & easy to relate to. Regardless, they are honest about what they are going through & it helps to hear other peoples stories.

During chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy maintaining a healthy immune system should be your goal. Diet, exercise and stress management can help you attain this. My additions/edits will be in red.

Because you are an individual, not a statistic, your cancer experience will be different from anyone else’s. Keeping a food diary will be very important. I know I have said this many, many times before, but believe me this is really important. Write down the foods you eat each day. Add how you felt physically, emotionally and if you had any symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or pain. When you experience the same side effect the next day or week go back and compare the foods you have eaten. This will help you build a list of foods that work for you and which to avoid. You will also see this changing during your treatment. What made you nauseous during chemo the first week will no longer do that by the next round of chemo. Important for you and your caregivers to know.

Apps to track your food:
•Food Diary and Calorie Tracker by MyNetDiary HD by MyNetDiary Inc.
•Nutrition Menu
•Fooducate Rates your food by healthiness. Apple/Android.

Here are a few tips to help you during treatment. Pick what works for you. You are an individual. What works for the person next to you in the chemo bay may not work for you.
•Changes in taste & smell. A metallic taste is the most common.

Avoid: Red meat & food with strong odors. Any foods that are unappealing to you at this time.

Eat: Add flavor to your food with spices. Broil or bake mild flavored meats: chicken, turkey, & fish. Try flavoring your water with lemon, cucumber and or mint.

Tips: Use plastic or wooden utensils; glass or ceramic cooking pots. Avoid metal utensils, canned foods, and metal pots & pans. Cold or room temperature foods don’t smell or taste as strong as hot food does…
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Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, Oh My!
posted March 21st, 2016

If you have ever toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, you have probably heard about “meat substitutes”. Tofu, tempeh & seitan are the first to be recommended. What exactly are they and how do you prepare them?

Carob has been touted as a substitute for chocolate, chicory a substitute for coffee. In fact neither is true. Nothing can take the place of chocolate or coffee 🙂 Carob & chicory have their own unique taste, aroma & texture. The same with tofu, tempeh & seitan. You can make them tastes like meat but they are so much more than that.


Tofu is a bean curd. It is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the soft curds into white blocks. They can be soft to firm, and have very little flavor. The texture is smooth or cheese like. It has been used in Asia for thousands of years. What makes it so much fun to cook with is its ability to absorb whatever flavors you marinate or cook it in. I either fry it or bake it in a small amount of olive oil until browned. It tastes bland this way but it is a good topping on a mixed salad!

Nutritionally, in a 1/2 cup serving:
•94 Calories
•6 grams Fat: 0.9 are saturated fat
•0 Cholesterol
•9 grams Sodium
•150 mgm Potassium
•2.3 grams total Carbs
•0.4 grams fiber
•10 grams Protein


Silken tofu is soft & can be used in recipes in place of yogurt or cream. I use Silken tofu to make creamy salad dressings. My favorite is:

Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing ..I no longer know where the original recipe came from.
•1/2 cup Greek Yogurt..I use 1/2 cup Silken Tofu/soft
•1/4 cup Vegenaise
•3 tablespoons honey
•2 tablespoons Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
•2 teaspoons poppy seeds
•dash of salt
•1 teaspoon Dijon or stone ground mustard

Whisk together. Makes about 1 cup. Refrigerate. Stir or shake before using.

For a firm block of tofu, I prefer sprouted tofu by Wildwood. I slice it or cube it depending on what I am using it for. For a stir-fry, I marinate the cubes in Shoyu or Tamari sauce for an hour before adding it to the recipe.

My husbands favorite is from the Tofu Cookery cookbook by Louise Hagler:

Barbequed Tofu Yield: 8 servings Preheat oven to 350º F.

Using frozen tofu lends a chewy texture. Try this on the grill covered with aluminum foil to save the sauce.

To Prepare the Tofu: 2 pounds firm or extra firm tofu: Freeze, thaw, squeeze dry, and cut into 1/2 inch thick strips. I use extra firm & I don’t freeze it first.

Spread a cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the tofu strips on the oiled cookie sheet. You can also use parchment paper for an easier cleanup 🙂

Mix together:
•1/4 cup water
•2 tablespoons peanut butter
•1 tablespoon soy sauce
•1 clove garlic, pressed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pour this mixture evenly over the tofu strips and press into the strips with a spatula or an open hand. Bake for about 15 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake for about 10 minutes more.

Pour your favorite Barbeque Sauce over all and bake 10 minutes more. I bake it for about 20 minutes more. Serve with French bread and a green salad. This is delicious the next day on sprouted bread as a sandwich. You can also use tempeh instead of tofu for a different texture.

Tofu can replace eggs in a “scramble”. Easy & tasty. Saute onions, peppers, garlic & then add the crumbled tofu. Continue cooking as you would scrambled eggs. I add turmeric for it’s benefits plus it fooled my grandson’s into thinking this was an egg dish

Here are websites for tofu recipes:
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Healthy bones thru nutrition & exercise.
posted March 14th, 2016

retreathandsOur bones don’t stop growing until our late 20’s & are strongest at about age 30, then they begin to “thin” which means they lose density. This is the natural aging process. This process can be accelerated due to bad habits, medications & disease. But, there are ways to maintain & even increase bone density.

What can we do to slow down this process:

Stop smoking: Nicotine can block calcium absorption & it decreases Vitamin D levels.
Alcohol: There is a direct link to drinking alcohol, bone loss & an increase in fractures. The risk is greater the more alcohol consumed.
Salt: Your body needs sodium but too much salt leaches the calcium from your bones. The more processed a food is, the higher it is in salt. Canned foods usually have added salt. Read your labels! Fast food is heavily salted.
Caffeine: The first 3 cups of coffee have a minimal effect on calcium loss 🙂 but the more you drink the higher the risk.
Carbonation: This is a myth. Carbonated sodas do cause a loss of calcium, but not due to the carbonation. Research shows that the culprits are the high amounts of caffeine & phosphorus in the soda. You can now enjoy your Perrier.

GZumba-Vista-624x468Exercise: Check with your healthcare team before you begin an exercise program. North County Cancer Fitness is a wonderful place to safely begin. They will evaluate you before they recommend an individual exercise routine. This is just a partial list that will get you started.

Weight bearing exercises can help to build bone & stronger muscles. This means any exercise done while standing: tennis, walking, jogging.
Lifting weights will build bone & strengthen muscles. Make sure you get professional guidance.
Dancing is a great workout. It gets your pulse up & strengthens your heart, muscles, and bones. It is also good for the memory! Check out Alessandra Colfi’s Zumba classes for a gentle routine.
Gardening! My favorite pastime. All the bending, kneeling, pulling & even the watering strengthens you heart, muscles & bones. Connecting with Nature reduces stress & increases gratitude.
Yoga: Strengthens bones & muscles. It helps with balance & flexibility which decreases the risk of falling. Check our list of free Yoga classes for Cancer Patients.
Walking 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week is a good start…
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New Nutrition Resources!
posted March 7th, 2016

Frig-SuziThis week I would like to share some very good nutrition resources. They are informative, scientifically based & as a bonus have recipes. My research started with an article about the fourth annual “What’s Trending in Nutrition” Survey from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian.

Annual Survey of Nutrition Experts Predicts What’s In and Out for 2016: “When it comes to forecasting nutrition trends, there are no better experts than registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). They are at the forefront of everyday eating habits and purchasing decisions of people from all regional and economic environments. With almost two decades of working on behalf of dietitians, we know they have their finger on the pulse,” says Today’s Dietitian publisher Mara Honicker.

Here are the highlights of the survey.

1. Clean Shopping
According to the survey, RDNs agree that more consumers will base their purchasing decisions on “clean eating”, or shopping for foods that fit a plant-based diet, such as a Mediterranean-style diet. Gluten-free and Paleo diets will still be popular, but the nutrition pros’ results show that consumers will move towards “clean” vs caveman. This is fantastic news!

2. Seeds Bloom
Most registered dietitians say seeds (55%) have superfood star-power, followed by avocados (52%) and ancient grains (50%). Meanwhile, kale loses its luster. When it comes to popular beverages, green tea brews to the top. More good news. I am tired of kale 🙂

3. And the Influencer Award Goes To…
Celebrities! According to the survey, most registered dietitians believe that nutrition trends start with celebrities, with 33% citing them as the initiator of food and eating fads, while 26% name social media as having the most influence on consumer eating trends. Hmm, like celebrities are known for their great choices? When will we learn that fad diets, no matter who is singing their praises, do more harm than good to our health.

4. Protein Picks and Peaks
Shopping carts will have less beef, bacon, and other processed and red meats as more consumers look to seafood, nuts and seeds, eggs, poultry, and dairy to provide quality protein in their diets. That said, the number of individuals focusing their attention on high protein eating may have peaked—two-thirds of RDNs say that protein enthusiasm will be about the same in 2016. Good, Americans eat way too much protein as it is.

5. Shopping for Free
When it comes to the messages and claims that impact shopping decisions, 2016 will look for “free.” Claims like “GMO-free” and “antibiotic-free” will prompt purchases, as will “additive-free” and “locally sourced.” The question is whether these characteristics actually drive healthier purchases. Jenna Bell, PhD, RDN, senior vice president, director of food & wellness for Pollock Communications, says you can’t be so sure. “While consumers may look for GMO-free or other ‘free-from’ claims on the label, it doesn’t mean that it has always led to healthier, more nutritious options.” Dr. Bell warns that an unintended consequence of choosing “free” foods could be that consumers might not assess the overall healthfulness, consider food safety issues, understand truly sustainable practices, or might pay unnecessary costs. “Make decisions based on the quality of the whole food and the variety and quality of your overall diet,” Dr. Bell suggests. Good advice. Don’t believe what is on the front of the package. Read the ingredient list first. Then make an informed decision.

6. A Matter of Taste
When it comes to deciding what to eat, RDNs say that taste and convenience are consumers’ most important considerations. Some 97% and 93% responded that convenience and taste, respectively, are important or very important when it comes to deciding what to eat. While healthfulness is the not the deciding factor according to one-half of the respondents, Dr. Bell points out, “Even when you’re making healthy choices, RDNs know that taste and convenience are deal breakers if not satisfied.” In a fast paced society like ours this is very true. The healthy answer is to fill your frig & cupboards with healthy choices. Make dishes ahead of time & freeze them to be used when you are too tired to cook. Eating on the run can be healthy but it takes forethought. Stopping at a fast food place is okay as long as it is occasionally & not an every day habit.

7. Healthy Eating — There’s an App for That
Seventy-one percent of RDNs believe more consumers will use technology to help improve their diet in 2016, likely tracking their food intake or activity with smartphone apps or wearables like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, and Fitbit, among others. These apps are very useful. It is like a food journal & can be kept on your phone, which makes it convenient.

8. Blogs, Social Media and TV Trumps…
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Safe Seafood Choices
posted February 29th, 2016

BoatsSeafood safety is an important issue for those of you who eat fish & shellfish. Due to an increase in toxic pollution of the oceans, climate change, over fishing both salt & fresh water sources, concerns over farmed & GMO fish, it is difficult to know what to choose for your meal. I have put together a few sources that can help you make a choice based on safety & sustainability.

Nutritionally, seafood is a very healthy choice for your protein source. I found this overview to be very informative. You can download the information here: Seafood Nutrition Overview: “Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits. For example, recent studies have shown that eating seafood can decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension. Seafood also provides essential nutrients for developing infants and children.

Calories and Protein: Seafood is generally considered to be a low-calorie protein source. Most low-fat species of fish, such as cod, flounder and sole, contain less than 100 calories per 3-ounce cooked portion, and even fattier fish like mackerel, herring, and salmon have about 200 calories per serving. Seafood is a complete protein source. It contains enough of the essential amino acids to assure healthy growth and optimal fetal development. A 3-ounce serving of most fish and shellfish provides about about 30-40% of the average daily recommended amount of protein. The protein in seafood is easier to digest because seafood has less connective tissue than red meats and poultry.

Fat and Cholesterol: Seafood is generally considered to be low in total fat and saturated fat. Most fish and shellfish contain less than 5 percent total fat, and even the fattiest fish, such as mackerel and king salmon, have no more than 15 percent fat. A large proportion of the fat in seafood is polyunsaturated, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have added health benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that are required for healthy human development. These organic compounds cannot be produced by the human body and therefore need to be obtained through food. Scientific evidence suggests that the marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help reduce the risk of heart disease and contribute to brain and vision development in infants. Fish and shellfish are the main dietary sources of EPA and DHA. The plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is a precursor to EPA and DHA and is only converted at rates of about 0.1-9% in the human body. The American Heart Association recommends 1000 milligrams (mg) of EPA/DHA per day for patients with coronary heart disease, and two meals of oily fish per week for patients without heart disease. Fish with medium to high levels of omega-3 fatty acids include oily ocean fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines (see Description of Omega-3’s and Their Role in Human Health).

Cholesterol is present at varying amounts in most animal foods. Current dietary recommendations suggest limiting cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day. Almost all fish and shellfish contain well under 100 mg of cholesterol per 3-ounce cooked serving, and many of the leaner types of fish have less than 60 mg.

Vitamins and Minerals: Fish is a natural source of B-complex vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin A (especially oily fish). B-complex vitamins have been associated with healthy development of the nervous system. Vitamin A is needed for healthy vision as well as for healthy skin, while vitamin D is essential in bone development.

Fish is also a good source of minerals such as selenium, zinc, iodine and iron. Selenium is a potent antioxidant that protects against cell damage and may help to counter the negative effects of mercury. Zinc is needed for cell growth and immune system health. Iodine helps maintain thyroid gland function, while iron is important in red blood cell production. Small fish eaten whole, such as sardines and anchovies, are an important source of calcium needed for bone development.”
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Are you counting sheep at night?
posted February 23th, 2016

MoonIf you are having trouble sleeping and lie there counting sheep, you are in good company. According to a study done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, CDC, 1 in 3 Americans are getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night. This study was published this past week & it got me to thinking about insomnia as a side effect of cancer treatments. This is a serious problem not only during treatment but also when you are finished.

First let’s explore why Americans are having a problem sleeping. Then we will look at why cancer patients have trouble sleeping. Lastly, we will look at natural ways to help both groups. According to the CDC & my research, none of the sleep aids out there have been proven to be effective, even though 9 million Americans reported taking sleeping pills!

The definition of insomnia: MedicineNet: “The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number of factors, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, or unrefreshing sleep.”

A Third of Americans Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep: “CDC experts looked at health surveys covering more than 400,000 Americans. They were asked how many hours of sleep they get each night, among other questions.

On average, only 65 percent said they get seven hours or more of sleep a night, the team reported. “Sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality,” the team wrote in the CDC’s weekly report.”

The CDC also looked at specific groups & economic status: “…only about half of blacks report they get enough sleep, compared to two-thirds of whites and Hispanics. Sleep may also be tied to economic conditions.

People in the Southeast and Appalachian regions reported the least sleep, on average. “Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions,” the CDC team wrote.”

1 In 3 American Adults Are Not Sleeping Enough: “In total, an estimated 83.6 million adults in the U.S. are sleep-deprived, said the CDC, who released their findings based on surveys with 444,306 participants. The report looked at results involving all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, the first time a sleep-related study has canvased all states for its findings. Both of these articles talk about the demographics in the study. For example: “Those living in South Dakota are getting more required sleep than those living in Hawaii, where only around 56% of respondents said they were sleeping more than seven hours.

Some get even less sleep than others—around 11.8% reported a sleep duration of less than 5 hours. The biggest culprits of sleeping less are those between the ages of 35 and 44—around 38% of people in this age group shun more sleep.”

What are the causes of insomnia according to the CDC:
•Artificial lights from computers, mobile devices & TV screens.
•No bedtime routine.
•No routine time for getting up in the morning.
•Having computers, mobile devices & TV’s in the bedroom.
•Divorced, widowed or separated.
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Update on the BMI chart & arsenic in rice.
posted February 16th, 2016

In previous posts I have discussed the BMI chart, obesity & weight loss due to cancer treatments. In these posts I have stressed that everyone is an individual, unique in body type, metabolism & personality 🙂 Because of this, I have never understood why a BMI chart would be useful. According to a new study it isn’t.

I started out my August 15th, 2015, Blog post, Obesity & Cancer Risk with the following paragraph: “Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes can help you lose weight.” Mayo Clinic.

In the same Blog post, I said that: The BMI chart doesn’t know the difference between body fat & muscle. Muscular athletes would be under the obese category. Children, pregnant women, & nursing mothers can’t use this chart either.

An article last week, on February 8th, was published by 14U News: BMI PROVEN INEFFECTIVE ACCORDING TO STUDY: “This is definitely some good news for people who have higher BMIs but don’t think that they are overweight, obese, or generally unhealthy. There has been a new study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, which found that over 50 million Americans who had been labelled as overweight or obese according to the BMI (body mass index) scale actually aren’t unhealthy.

Commenting on the BMI chart the article states: However, this doesn’t necessarily hold up because there are people who are in excellent physical shape that have been grouped into that obese or overweight group since the reading doesn’t take muscle tone into account. It also doesn’t show that people with “healthy” BMIs could also be unhealthy.” This article talks about the study & the folly of using the BMI chart to indicate “health”. It also notes that some health insurances penalize individuals based on the their BMI. In the case of a cancer patient this doesn’t take into account their treatments. For example, weight gain due to steroids & extreme weight loss due to treatment.

A healthy weight should be based on other more reliable markers such as waist measurement, height, blood pressure, age, lifestyle, diseases & treatments.

In other articles on the website World News Online, BMI reports, you will find the same conclusion…the study is a nail in the coffin of the BMI chart! Let’s hope so.

This next 2014 article, ConsumerReports, How much arsenic is in your rice? contains information regarding recommendations that were made concerning arsenic in rice consumed by children & adults. Very good read. Make sure you watch the short video. The article also has this chart showing which rice has the most arsenic in it:
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Inflammatory & Anti-Inflammatory Foods
posted February 9th, 2016

Swan-AppleWe talk about chronic inflammatory diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes & cancer. What does that mean & what is the difference between acute & chronic inflammation? What specific inflammatory foods will contribute to increasing the risk & re-occurrence of cancer? What specific anti-inflammatory foods will contribute to decreasing the risk & re-occurrence of cancer?

The National Institute of Health: National Cancer Institute states the following: “Inflammation is a normal physiological response that causes injured tissue to heal. An inflammatory process starts when chemicals are released by the damaged tissue. In response, white blood cells make substances that cause cells to divide and grow to rebuild tissue to help repair the injury. Once the wound is healed, the inflammatory process ends.” Usually you see redness, swelling, pain, and the area feels warm or hot to the touch. This is a normal immune system response to cuts, abrasions, incisions, mouth sores, or even skinned knees.

“In chronic inflammation, the inflammatory process may begin even if there is no injury, and it does not end when it should. Why the inflammation continues is not always known. Chronic inflammation may be caused by infections that don’t go away, abnormal immune reactions to normal tissues, or conditions such as obesity. Over time, chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer.” There are blood tests that will indicate an inflammatory process going on in the body. CRP (c-reactive protein) is one that is used in many cancer settings. In general the higher the CRP level the more aggressive the chronic inflammation is. There are other markers that are used as well.

How you live & behave also leads to chronic inflammation; stress, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol, lack of sleep & diet choices. Environmental factors also affect us. Eating organic will cut down on inflammatory toxins in your food.

“Eat what ever you want” is standard advice from many oncologists. They are trying to get you to increase your caloric intake. Instead, this advice usually translates to an increase in calories from processed foods, fast foods, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates~including sugar~ & an increase in red meat consumption. All of which are high in calories, yet nutrient deficient. These foods also promote chronic inflammation.

Excerpts from the Huffington Post article: Inflammatory Foods: 9 of the Worst Picks for Inflammation. This is one of the best articles & lists I have seen regarding inflammatory foods to avoid. Make sure you read the entire article. “For now, anti-inflammatory diet guidelines are simply suggestions. More research is needed to truly understand the relationship between diet and inflammation and, in turn, disease, WebMD reported. Still, there are some general ideas about what foods to avoid to keep inflammation and illness at bay. “There are foods that exaggerate inflammation because they themselves are irritants,” says Daniluk. Here are some of the worst offenders you might want to avoid;
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The International Year of the Pulse: 2016
posted February 1st, 2016

nuttyYou are probably asking yourself, unless you are from Canada or the UK, what is a pulse? Pulses are part of the legume family. They are the dried seed. Pulses include lentils, chickpeas, dried beans and peas. They are high in fiber & protein and are low in fat.

I have been receiving newsletters from my favorite nutrition sites declaring 2016 the International Year of the Pulse. Of course this piqued my curiosity I found that the pulse is destined to be the new “Superfood” this year. Quinoa & acai berries will be a thing of the past.

Here is an excerpt from an article: Year of the pulse The reporter has attended a cocktail party in Toronto, Ontario: “The party, and much of the recent media coverage, has been the culmination of years of painstaking planning by the global pulse industry to rebrand their product – a massive global campaign that has taken industry members from the lentil fields of Saskatchewan to meetings with federal ministers and boardrooms in Dubai and around the world. One guest at the Toronto party, a food-industry veteran for over 30 years, said he’s never seen such a co-ordinated campaign to promote a product.

The staggering effort, which included successfully lobbying the United Nations to designate 2016 the International Year of the Pulses, highlights the increasingly dramatic lengths food companies are taking to capture the attention of consumers.”

This is actually good news to anyone who follows the Mediterranean, DASH, MIND, Vegetarian or Vegan ways of eating. These little gems are:
•High in both soluble & insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps control our blood sugar which makes them low on the glycemic scale. It also lowers cholesterol while insoluble fiber keeps us “regular”.
•High in protein: “Pulses typically contain about twice the amount of protein found in whole grain cereals like wheat, oats, barley and rice.” Pulses & Nutrition
•Nutrient dense: “Pulses provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals in a relatively low amount of calories. Some of the key minerals in pulses include iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Pulses are also particularly abundant in B vitamins including folate, thiamin and niacin.” Pulse Canada

Pulse Canada has a brochure that you can copy: How to cook pulses. “Dry beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils (known as pulses) can be found in most grocery stores, organic food stores and ethnic specialty food stores. When buying dry pulses, look for bright color seeds, uniform size and smooth skins without chips or shriveled seed coats. Although dry pulses will keep years if stored in tightly covered containers in a cool, dark, dry place, it is best to use them within one year of purchase. The longer a pulse is stored, the drier it becomes which increases its cooking time. Canned pulses are very convenient because they are pre-cooked and ready to use. Always drain and rinse canned beans before use.” Good resource for soaking & cooking times. Click here for their Recipe page.

Chickpea Hummus is one of my favorite ways to use chickpeas/garbanzo beans. This is a traditional recipe using cooked/canned chickpeas. Tahini paste looks expensive but you use small amounts in recipes & it lasts a long time when refrigerated. It can also be used in homemade dressings.

I make Raw Sprouted Humus from The Simple Veganista : Here is my version. Soak 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans overnight then rinse twice a day for 2 days or until they have sprouted about 1/4 inch. Put the sprouted beans, will be about 2 cups, into a food processor or a blender. Add the following.
•2 heaping tablespoons of Tahini paste
•2 heaping tablespoons of Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil
•2 large cloves of garlic
•Juice of 1-2 lemons (I prefer 1)
•1/4 cup water, add more to thin if you want
•1 tablespoon of ground Cumin
•2 teaspoons of ground Coriander
•Dash or 2 of Cayenne is optional (I love the extra zing to the hummus)
•Himalayan salt at the end to taste

Blend until smooth in blender. You can add veggies to change the flavor or favorite spices as well.

Sometimes I will sprout 2 or 3 cups of dried garbanzo beans to roast! I toss them with a drizzle of Organic EV Olive Oil & spices that I like. My favorite is a dash of Himalayan salt, cumin, lemon pepper & cayenne. I spread the beans in one layer on a cookie sheet with sides (I use parchment paper instead of oiling the pan). Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes & remove when browned. They will crisp up when cooling. This is a great snack that is high in protein & fiber.

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posted January 24th, 2016

Farm-Stand-3Phytoestrogens is a subject that all breast cancer patients worry about. Not only those in treatment but also those out of treatment. Some of you are taking medications to block estrogen, and some have finished your 5 years of hormone therapy. Understandably you would be worried about consuming estrogen in any form. This has lead to phytoestrogens being misunderstood & feared.

I want to start with an explanation of the different breast cancer diagnosis.

Types of breast cancers: WebMD article that is very informative regarding breast cancers. Here are some excerpts from the article.
•Endocrine receptor-positive (estrogen or progesterone receptors)
•HER2-positive: In about 20% of breast cancers, the cells make too much of a protein known as HER2. This cancer is not hormone driven & targeted treatment is used.
•Triple positive: positive for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER2: This diagnosis has HER2 protein plus it is hormone positive for both estrogen & progesterone.
•Triple negative: not positive for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER2: This diagnosis means: 10% – 20% — are known as “triple negative” because they don’t have estrogen and progesterone receptors and don’t over express the HER2 protein. Most breast cancers associated with the gene BRCA1 are triple negative.

Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: About 80% of all breast cancers are “ER-positive.” That means the cancer cells grow in response to the hormone estrogen. About 65% of these are also “PR-positive.” They grow in response to another hormone, progesterone. If your breast cancer has a significant number of receptors for either estrogen or progesterone, it’s considered hormone-receptor positive.

Tumors that are ER/PR-positive are much more likely to respond to hormone therapy than tumors that are ER/PR-negative. You may have hormone therapy after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are finished. These treatments can help prevent a return of the disease by blocking the effects of estrogen. They do this in one of several ways.
•The medication tamoxifen (Nolvadex) helps stop cancer from coming back by blocking hormone receptors, preventing hormones from binding to them. It’s sometimes taken for up to 5 years after initial treatment for breast cancer.
•A class of medicines called aromatase inhibitors actually stops estrogen production. These include anastrozole (Arimidex),exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara). They’re only used in women who’ve already gone through menopause.

Now let’s take a look at what phtyoestrogens are…
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U.S. News: “Best Diets: 2016″.
posted January 15th, 2016

U.S. News has once again evaluated and ranked the most popular diets of the year. They do this yearly with a panel of health experts. Their criteria does not include cancer prevention specifically, but it does address all the other inflammatory diseases. This means that the top diets will indeed be preventative. The article states that: “To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and preventing diabetes and heart disease.” The DASH diet was #1 in 2015. This year there are a few surprises, for me at least

Here’s How Health Experts Ranked 38 Of The Most Popular Diets: Let’s take a look at some of the top ranking ones. If you are interested in seeing the entire list then click on the link to the article.

As you see DASH got #1 again.

#1 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. I wrote about the DASH diet last year. Check under Topics.

Overall rank: 1
Overall score: 4.1 out of 5

This next one surprised me because somehow I had never heard of it! I like the idea of the Mind Diet. I followed the link (MIND) & the first paragraph was impressive: “The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Meanwhile, MIND adherents avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.” Yes! Sounds good to me.

#2 (tie) 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…
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How are dietary supplements regulated?
posted January 11th, 2016

We just assume or maybe hope that all those bottles of dietary supplements on the shelves of our local drug store, grocery store, natural food store or pharmacy are regulated & safe to use. Dietary supplements are not regulated the same way prescription drugs are. It is important to understand how they are regulated to be able to make an informed decision as to their use.

I was given this chart by Nature Made at a conference I attended. It explains what you should look for on a label. This is the best chart I have seen that explains each piece of information & why it all needs to be there. If it isn’t, then don’t buy the product. Click here to download the chart for your own use.How Dietary Supplements Are Regulated.
Dietary Supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. This site has all the information you would need.

“FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients. FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA):
•Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations. ***Notice that it says the manufacturers & distributors are responsible for the safety of their products, not the FDA.
•FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. ***Basically this means that the FDA will take action once it receives complaints from consumers or deaths from the product have been reported.

This is worth repeating……this is another site with information about how they are regulated…
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Dietary Supplements
posted January 2nd, 2016

medicinaDietary supplements have been the leading topic in my emails from you over the last few weeks. The questions are usually the same: what supplements should I be taking, are there supplements to help with stress, which brand should I buy & where should I buy them.

In a perfect dietary world, we would get what vitamins & minerals the body needs from our healthy, balanced, plant based diet. But as we have seen in the news & in my posts, “most people” don’t eat a healthy, balanced, plant based diet. The reasons for this are many. We will concentrate on the people who: have cancer & are in treatment, are finished with treatment, or are caregivers. There are some dietary supplements that are recommended to be taken daily.

Physicians only test for a vitamin or mineral deficiency if they have reason to believe you are deficient due to the medications you are taking, treatment you are undergoing or you are presenting specific symptoms. When they do find a deficiency or they are being preventative, your health team will recommended you take a specific dietary supplement. Take it, this is a good thing It is also important to tell your health team what over-the-counter medications & dietary supplements you already take. They may interact with your medical treatment & may have an impact on your blood tests. Give them a list!

Supplement-factsThe dietary supplements that are recommended for most people to take regularly are a Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin D, an Omega 3, Calcium & Vitamin C. If you decide on your own to take these supplements then make sure you read the back label before buying them. This is especially important with multi-vitamins. Check the serving size; on the label depicted it is 1 tablet. Now check that each vitamin & mineral per serving is within the RDA ~recommended daily allowance~ . Don’t go over 100%. Overdosing on vitamins is rare but there are side effects if you get a mega dose. Look at the ingredient list at the bottom of the back label to see what else they have added. I have noticed that some multi-vitamins have herbs, like ginseng, in them. You don’t need that added complication. Check the labels!

Remember to add up the amounts you are taking of each individual vitamin & mineral if you are taking a multivitamin & individual vitamins. For example…
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Recipes for the New Year!
posted December 29th, 2015

Happy New Year
Have you made your New Years resolution yet? Did you know that according to a Nielsen Survey the #1 resolution for 2015 was to “stay fit & healthy”? Let’s make that our only resolution for 2016. It will be an attainable goal.

To keep your immune system healthy & to keep up your energy to exercise & keep fit, how about adding a post script to that resolution; add 2 – 3 vegetarian or vegan meals to your menu each week. To help you with this, this post is about some new websites I have found. They are a treasure trove of recipes for those vegetarian/vegan meals.


Speaking of vegetarian Mexican Cuisine, take a look at this site: Martha Stewart Tex-Mex Vegetarian Recipes. At the top of this page you will also find pictures of an array of vegetarian options from appetizers to the main course. I liked the Vegetarian Lunch Sandwich section. I don’t like to eat lunch because I find it difficult to stop what I am doing & decide what to eat. This is a good resource for me & my husband is grateful for it too 🙂

The name of this website caught my eye: The Veggie Queen. ABOUT JILL NUSSINOW: “I wear many hats but they’re all related to great food that includes vegetables and other plant-based cuisine. I’m a vegetable and plant-food cooking expert, in vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eating. My specialty is vegan pressure cooking.” She has a section about using a pressure cooker for “fast food”: Pressure Cooking Basics. It certainly is faster & it does not alter the taste of the food. I prefer the “slow cooker” myself, but that is because I have more time to spend cooking these days. When I worked full time the pressure cooker was my best friend. Most of her recipes on this site are prepared without the pressure cooker.

Another good website blog for vegan meals is…
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‘Tis the Season of Carbs!
posted December 14th, 2015

Yosemite-snow-peopleThe weather has turned cooler for some & downright freezing for others. This is the time of the year when we want good, hot, comfort food. This is when we turn to those yummy, filling, carbs. Good news! They are good for you.

Complex carbohydrates play an essential role in keeping the immune system healthy & functioning. Our body needs complex carbohydrates. Let’s look at what they are & where you can find them.

U.S.National Library of Medicine: Complex carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Both simple and complex carbohydrates are turned to glucose (blood sugar) in the body and are used as energy. ***Simple carbs break down quickly in the digestive tract causing a sudden spike of sugar/glucose in your body. Complex carbs break down slowly so that your body maintains a healthy level of sugar/glucose in the body. Complex carbohydrate foods provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important to the health of an individual. The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars, rather than processed or refined sugars, which do not have the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in complex and natural carbohydrates. Refined sugars are often called “empty calories” because they have little to no nutritional value.

When you juice fruits you are turning them into simple carbohydrates. You are removing the fiber which slows down the absorption of the fruits natural sugars/fructose. The same with vegetables that you juice. The difference is that vegetables don’t have a natural sugar content as high as fruits. This is why green juices, with no fruit in them, are the healthier choice.

Carbohydrates: Simple versus Complex: I have copied the article from the Nutrition MD website in it’s entirety below.

Simple carbohydrates are sugars. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.

Some food sources of simple carbohydrates:
•Table sugar
•Brown sugar
•Corn syrup
•Maple syrup
•Jams, jellies
•Fruit drinks
•Soft drinks
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“One Size” diet doesn’t fit all.
posted December 6th, 2015

Farmers-Basket-1-230x300I believe that deep down we all know that not everyone can eat the same foods & stay healthy. We watch friends eat huge portions at a meal & stay thin. Others eat small portions of the same foods & gain weight. When I drink a fruit juice my body acts like I just ate a bowl of ice cream. My husband can eat ice cream & drink fruit juice at the same time without a problem! Unfair!

From my experience of watching people who decide to become vegans or vegetarians, I see that not all do well. I know people who became physically ill without the protein from fish or meat. When they added a small amount of chicken or fish to their meals they were fine. I also know others, myself included, who thrive as a vegetarian. I have, accidentally, eaten rice that was cooked in a chicken broth & I became physically ill. Why is this?

I have always thought it was because of our ancestry. Those of us who come from a line of people who were hunter-gatherers do fine with grains & meat. Those who are descendants of the first dairy farmers do fine with dairy. Made sense to me

A new study from Israel shows that it may be our gut buddies that determine the way we, as individuals, metabolize our food. In the study the researchers monitored the blood sugar & diets of 800 people. The study is controversial, as usual, because the diets were self reported. The participants filled out a food log & they wore a device that recorded their blood sugar after each meal.

There Really Is No ‘One Size Fits All’ Diet Plan, According To Study “….according to an ambitious research project by scientists in Israel: Researchers Eran Elinav and Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science have just published the results of a large, comprehensive study in the journal Cell that found people can metabolize the exact same foods in very different ways. What this means is that a healthy diet for one person may not be healthy for another person.”

This explains why the medical community should not give “cookie cutter” advice about diets to their patients. One diet to rule them all? Healthy isn’t the same for everyone, study says. “The study suggests that gut bacteria can significantly influence the way we digest food, and what you choose to eat has an effect on this microbiome. It looked closely at people with diabetes, and found that gut bacteria can have a serious effect on a patient’s overall health. The study, published in the journal Cell, suggests that these average values in the glycemic index are not as helpful as many people believe. Foods with low glycemic averages, like lentils, can cause unexpected bursts of blood sugar production, while some traditionally “bad” foods, like ice cream, can actually be beneficial in certain cases.”

What do we learn from this study? That they are correct, one diet doesn’t fit all. Not all foods are healthy for all people. How can we use this information? Simple: plan a diet that fits you as an individual that also keeps your gut buddies happy & healthy…
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Medicinal Mushrooms
posted November 28th, 2015

My-Mushroom-2I love finding mushrooms in my garden. Each one is beautiful and unique. It is said that if you find mushrooms growing in a circle it is a Faerie Ring. Just don’t step into the circle, the Faeries will be angry The problem with mushrooms is that many of them are poisonous & difficult to identify. Here in the Northwest mushroom season starts in October. There are tours, festivals & mushroom walks with professionals. I choose to buy mine in the grocery store! I like to be cautious.

Mushroom-91-300x220Mushrooms are a fungus. They typically grow up on a stalk with a cap on top. If you look on the underside of the cap you will usually find gills. Mushrooms vary in size, color, texture & shape. There are more than 10,000 types of mushrooms in North America. More than 1 million mushroom species in the world. A small percentage are poisonous. If you are interested in pursuing this subject here is a link to the North American Mycological Association. It has a list of mushroom clubs &/or societies in your area.

Mushroom-Pic-6Mushrooms are a fantastic health food. They are low in calories, high in protein, iron, zinc, fiber, vitamins ~high in anti-oxidants~ minerals & essential amino acids. Mushrooms have been used for their medicinal properties for thousands of years by various cultures all over the world to prevent & treat many diseases including cancer.

Herbal & Medicinal Mushrooms by Rosalee de la Floret: “People have used mushrooms medicinally and as food for thousands of years. The oldest written reference to people using mushrooms medicinally is from an Ayurvedic source from 5000 BP. The Chinese have one of the most sophisticated uses of herbal and medicinal mushrooms and have a written history of using them that dates back several thousand years as well. Many medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps and reishi were so highly prized (and so very rare) that only the emperor was allowed to consume them. Now these mushrooms are cultivated and are often times affordable. The Greeks and Romans ate mushrooms frequently. The Greeks said mushrooms were the “food of the gods.”
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Thanksgiving Recipes!
posted November 20th, 2015

free-thanksgiving-clip-art-and-bordersThanksgiving is a time to be grateful & a time to spend with loved ones. It is also a time of feasting! I would like to add here that it is also a day to enjoy your food. A day of gratitude & loved ones is better for your immune system than any diet you are currently on! So, throw out the self-imposed eating rules, say a blessing of gratitude & enjoy.

Whether you are having the typical Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing & gravy or a variation with Tofurky, stuffing & vegan gravy, there is always room on the menu for something new. Here are some suggestions.

Thanksgiving Recipes: “Allrecipes has the best recipes for Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, and tips to help you along the way.” This is one of my go-to sites for recipes. Everything I have tried has been perfect. This page, perfect stuffed turkey, is about all the ways you can cook one no matter if you are a beginner or an old pro Explore this link for more tasty ideas.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes from this same site, Allrecipes, is a favorite of mine. I never boil anything, so I would suggest steaming the potatoes. I would also suggest using small red, purple or gold for a healthy change. My daughter makes her mashed potatoes with half being steamed cauliflower mashed with the potatoes. No one noticed the difference!

Gravy was always my mothers secret recipe. She never revealed what was in it & didn’t leave a recipe. Here is an easy recipe for gravy: How to Make Amazing Gravy from Scratch

Delish 2015 Thanksgiving Dinners is another great resource. It even has recipes for leftovers! My favorite page is 15 Easy Vegetable Side Dishes. I have some extra squash & I saw this great recipe for Roasted Garlic Squash with Crispy Sage Brown Butter. I also have an abundance of fresh sage in my herb garden. Not waiting for the “big day”, I am trying this one tonight I don’t see anything I would change except cut down on the amount butter suggested. I love Brussels sprouts & I just saw this recipe, Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Rosemary. Pancetta is an Italian bacon. As a vegetarian I would just leave that out. I wouldn’t need to replace it with anything, this recipe would be great without it.
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Vitamin C as a Cancer Therapy.
posted November 13th, 2015

Large_Oranges_PNG_ClipartThe history of Vitamin C & cancer therapy really begins with Linus Pauling; 1901-1994. Dr. Pauling won 2 Nobel Prizes: one for Chemistry (1954) & one for Peace (1962). Dr. Pauling had taken an interest in the importance of vitamins and health as early as the 1930’s. In the 1960’s he started looking at the biochemistry of nutrition. “Pauling later broadened this concept into orthomolecular medicine. The concept and term (meaning “right molecules in the right concentration”) characterized an approach to the prevention and treatment of disease and attainment of optimum health that was based on the physiological and enzymatic actions of specific nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids present in the body.” This led to his research on vitamin C and its varied roles in maintaining a healthy body. He was convinced that vitamin C in large doses could prevent or be used as a treatment for the common cold. In 1970 he published the book Vitamin C and the Common Cold. He also saw that vitamin C could be used to treat the flu, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infections, & the aging process. Dr. Pauling’s published works regarding nutritional medicine were met with doubt from the medical establishment & was called quackery!

“He maintained that biochemical individuality, molecular disease, or environmental stress may increase the need for certain micronutrients, such as vitamin C, considerably above the RDA. He also warned against overuse of such substances as sugar and chemical sweeteners. Unlike many advocates in the field of nutritional medicine, he considered orthomolecular medicine a crucial adjunct to standard medical practice and therefore did not rule out conventional treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, when considered appropriate.” Linus Pauling Institute.

In 1979 he wrote Cancer and Vitamin C. The research he and his collaborator, Dr. Cameron had done showing that Vitamin C in megadoses could kill cancer cells was called a mess & their methods came under scrutiny. Shortlly after their research was published, other scientists tried to copy it with negative results. Vitamin C as a cancer therapy was put on the shelf & derided. Because of this any researcher of importance knew better than doing studies with Vitamin C & cancer. It was considered a “career killer”.
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Enough with the meat already!
posted November 9th, 2015

LonghornThere has been an increase in research linking meats & disease. We saw in my last 2 posts the link between processed & red meat to colorectal cancer. This week studies have been published showing the links between meat & kidney cancer, diet & rheumatoid arthritis. As soon as these types of studies are published there is an outry by corporations & the public. The corporations because they will lose money & the public because no one wants to change their lifelong habits. You know, my greatest concern is that all of these studies will either scare people into doing nothing about their present eating lifestyle or they will make drastic changes that won’t be healthy & certainly won’t last.

What can we learn from these studies & how do we apply the information to our lifestyles? First, lets take a quick look at two of the latest studies. Additional links will be provided at the end of this post.

Studies Explore Link Between Diet, Rheumatoid Arthritis: “Those who ate a typical North American diet — high in red and processed meat, refined grains, fried food, high-fat dairy and sweets — were more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, poultry and fish, the study found. However, the new research only finds an association between healthy eating and lower odds for rheumatoid arthritis. It doesn’t establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship.” Once again the preliminary research is showing that the typical American diet increases the risk for the autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis of any sort causes joint pain, swelling, redness, heat, along with general fatigue, low-grade fever & a loss of energy. What do these symptoms have to do with diet? I will explain in a moment. Here is the next study.

University of Texas Study Links Meat to Kidney Cancer: “Another study has shown people who eat more meat have a high risk of cancer. This time, it’s kidney cancer, researchers reported Monday. And it’s not just people who eat red meat, as many other studies have shown. People who eat more so-called white meat, such as chicken, have the higher risk, too. The American/Western dietary pattern consists largely of red and processed meats, and the results of the current study suggest that the association between this dietary pattern and cancer may be in part explained by exposure to meat cooking mutagens,” they wrote.” This study is also preliminary & more research needs to be done. The study acknowledges the link between all meats, including chicken, & an increase in risk for kidney cancer. Their main focus is how the meats are cooked. The people in the study barbecued &/or grilled their meats. “Cancer experts have long known that grilling or barbecuing meat can make it carcinogenic. Burning or charring meat creates cancer-causing substances.” This is the link between cancer & meat this group is researching.
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Sugar, bacon, & low fat diets update.
posted November 2nd, 2015

Autumn-Me-e1446489222416-225x300Autumn is here already! Leaves are turning colors & the temperatures are dipping; at least where I live. As our NUT Elf Suzi said in an email to me, ~YUM! Love casserole season :o) ~ I want to start this post off with links Suzi included in the email. 18 Hearty Casserole Recipes, 16 Thanksgiving Casserole Recipes & 34 Delicious Vegan Recipes. Thank you Suzi! My favorite is the Green Bean casserole with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Smoked Paprika! My grandsons would be appalled to have their traditional Green Bean Casserole “ruined” 🙂 🙂

We discuss sugar a lot on this website. Invariably the first question I am asked by a new cancer patient is: “What is a healthy sugar substitute, agave or honey?” Sugar is sugar, no matter what form, is usually my answer. This is because the body metabolizes all sugars the same way. Some sugars do have health benefits, honey is one of them, but even too much of a good thing is not healthy. Cutting out added sugar can change the direction of your health.

My favorite news story this week is regarding the study that cut out added sugar from the diets of children for 9 days. The results of this study have caused controversy on what actually caused the children’s health to improve. The bottom line of this first article states: “While researchers obviously don’t agree on what caused the children’s metabolic health to improve, it is intriguing that a simple, relatively easy ingredient swap seemed to produce weight loss and improved metabolic health in children — all while keeping them full and happy.” Yep, it works for adults as well 🙂

Read the entire article here: These Kids Stopped Eating Added Sugar And Then They Got Healthier “Cutting out added sugar from one’s diet can result in weight loss, reduced blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity, according to a new study by researchers at University of California, San Francisco, and Touro University. The fascinating experiment, which swapped out added sugar in children’s diets for starchy foods — in effect, swapping fructose for glucose — hammers another nail into the coffin of the phrase, “a calorie is a calorie,” the researchers claim. Instead, it suggests that added sugars are exacting a unique toll on people’s bodies by making them prone to hypertension, diabetes and obesity, and that simply switching added sugars for starchy foods of equal caloric value results in better health.” To improve their health even more they could have switched to whole grains which metabolize slowly due to the natural fiber in them. But, I do see what their motivation was. Keep the diet of the children as close to their normal diet as possible so they would eat it! Well done I would say.
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Processed & Red Meat Raises The Risk For Cancer.
posted October 26th, 2015

Cattle-2The IARC, a group within the World Health Organization, published a new report on Monday, October 26th, stating that processed meat is carcinogenic and red meat is probably carcinogenic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is comprised of 22 scientists from 10 countries. They did a formal review of 800 studies showing a link between meat & cancer.

This report has caused some anger within the meat industry & confusion within the population of meat eaters. We can understand why this upsets the meat industry but what is causing the worlds confusion? Typically, it is caused by the way the media has presented the results.

The North American Meat Institute had their press release ready to run before the IARC report was out. “IARC Meat Vote Is Dramatic and Alarmist Overreach,” the statement was headlined. “IARC says you can enjoy your yoga class, but don’t breathe air,” the group added, apparently referring to an IARC report that found air pollution can cause cancer.” You can read the entire article by clicking here: Glee, Panic and Yawns: U.S. Reacts to Report on Meat and Cancer The American Cancer Society was quoted as well: “For years AICR has been recommending that individuals reduce the amount of beef, pork, lamb and other red meats in their diets and avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage and hot dogs,” said Susan Higginbotham of the American Institute for Cancer Research. “The American Cancer Society has recommended limiting consumption of red and processed meat specifically since 2002,” Susan Gapstur of that group said.” Let’s look at what the IARC did say…….

IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat. This is a link to the actual press release by the IARC. Here are the highlights from the report:

Red Meat: Classified as “probably carcinogenic to human beings”. This link to cancer was specifically found in colorectal cancer & “associations” were seen for pancreatic & prostate cancers.
Processed Meat: Classified as “carcinogenic to human beings” This was based on evidence that processed meat causes colorectal cancer. It was added to the IARC Carcinogen List of proven carcinogens to humans which includes asbestos, tobacco & air pollution.
Meat Consumption: For each 50 gram (1.76 ounces) serving of processed meat eaten daily will increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Recommendations: The larger the serving & the more often a person eats meat, the higher the risk for colorectal & possibly other cancers.

As you can see, the report has confirmed what we have already been told by other research studies regarding red & processed meats…
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Antioxidants Cause Cancer to Progress?
posted October 19th, 2015

medicina-dottore-archite-01-800pxAntioxidants are once again in the news. The use of antioxidant supplements by cancer patients has been a controversial subject for years. Note that I said antioxidant supplements; pills, powders, drinks etc. I did not say antioxidants in the diet. There is an important distinction here. The studies being done are using antioxidant supplements. Antioxidants in your normal balanced diet are safe to consume.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy &/or radiation have routinely been asked to stop all antioxidant supplementation during treatment. Here is a simplified definition of how chemotherapy & radiation therapies work: they destroy cancer cells by inducing free radicals and by promoting oxidation of the cancer cells. Added antioxidants were thought to block the oxidation process, consequently interfering with treatment.

In January of 2013, James Watson, PhD, & Noble Prize winner for discovering the DNA double helix, published a report regarding cancer therapies. In this report he said: “Everyone thought antioxidants were great,” he said. “But I’m saying they can prevent us from killing cancer cells.” Here is a good article about his stance; which, by the way, caused a huge uproar among researchers & oncologists. DNA pioneer James Watson takes aim at “cancer establishments” Dr. Watson also said that cancer cells produce their own antioxidants to block oxidation from treatments. Recent research has proven him right.

January 2014 in WebMD Could Antioxidants Speed Up Cancer Progression? “Smokers and other people at high risk for lung cancer could make matters worse if they take antioxidant supplements, a new study of rodents suggests. Antioxidants appear to accelerate cancer progression by short-circuiting one of the body’s key immune responses to malignant cells, researchers from Sweden report.” This article goes on to explain the process in the body to detect and repair cellular DNA damage. Antioxidants help with this, but in patients with cancer or precancerous cells this repair work “hides” the cancer cells, making them undetectable. Research done with people suggests the same outcome.

In July of 2014, Medscape published this article: Antioxidants Appear to Be Harmful in Cancer Patients “While alternative health gurus often encourage increasing antioxidants in the diet and the taking of antioxidant nutritional supplements such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and selenium, new research findings suggest that antioxidants could do more harm than good, especially in cancer patients.”…
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Tips for a Healthy Weight Gain
posted October 5th, 2015

In a society where obesity is a major health problem, gaining weight seems inconsequential. For many people gaining weight is as difficult as losing it. Weight loss has many causes, medical & non-medical. In this post I will discuss cancer related weight loss & nutritional tips to help with gaining or maintaining your weight during & after treatment. This information would also be helpful to anyone who would like to gain a few pounds.

Chemotherapy & radiation can lead to weight loss due to the following.
•Loss of appetite.
•Changes in your sense of smell.
•Changes in your sense of taste.
•Side effects of medications; nausea, constipation or diarrhea.

Under the Topics section of this website you will find an article I wrote: Nutrition Tips During Chemotherapy The article covers the above list in detail. In this post I want to elaborate on what you can do nutritionally.

Every bite counts. Avoid the advice of some “experts” when they say you should eat more ice cream, shakes, butter & cheese. These are all fine in moderation but they are also inflammatory. Unless the dairy is organic it will contain antibiotics & growth hormones. Organic or not it is also estrogenic. With a little planning you can consume more calories that are nutrient dense & balanced from non-dairy choices.

Sitting down to 3 large meals a day is counter productive. You will take in fewer calories because you will sit there pushing the food around on the plate & taking just a few bites. If you eat several ~6 to 8~ small snack type meals a day, in portions that you can eat in one sitting, you will consume more calories. As you can see in the food tips below, eating 8 small meals a day would give you a minimum of 1800 calories. Adding extra calorie dense choices would increase that. As your capacity for more food increases over time then you can increase the amount of food at each sitting.

Food tips: You want to make every small meal counts nutritionally. Here are some high calorie, healthy choices. An extra 500 calories a day = 1 pound weight gain per week. How many calories do you need per day is dependent upon your age, how much you weigh right now, activity & your gender. The Mayo Clinic has a Calorie Calculator that will help you…
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Flu & Cold Season~part 2
posted September 28th, 2015

Growing up in the 1950’s with a stay at home mother who loved to cook, bake, & garden, taught me to use what I have at hand. She didn’t drive so she couldn’t run to the drugstore when we had a sore throat, cough or a high fever. The phrase that comes to mind from those times is, “think simple”. Simple is cheaper & usually better.

There are many homemade remedies to treat the symptoms from a cold or flu. In this post I will share the ones that I use & that I know work. Each year more over the counter cold & flu remedies are pulled off the shelf by the FDA due to ingredients that are harmful to both adults & children. Sometimes over the counter cold & flu remedies make you feel worse because of the side-effects & the cost

If you don’t grow your own herbs then you can purchase fresh herbs like sage, thyme & rosemary in the produce section of the market. Fresh works the best, but you can use dried. Simply buy them in the spice aisle. There are many sage’s. The one to use medicinally is the culinary sage. At the end of this post is a list of resources. They are my well used & loved herbal reference books & websites.

Sore throats can be bacterial or viral infections. The majority of them are due to viral infections heralding the start of a common cold. Throat inflammation is an immune response to the virus & usually accompanies a runny nose & cough. The following simple remedies will relieve the soreness & calm the inflammation in the throat.
•Gargle with warm salt water. Water should be warm to the touch but not hot.

1 cup of water & 1/4 tsp salt. Swish & spit.
•Sore Throat Gargle by the herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. This one has a bit of Zip to it. Rosemary says that she is the first to admit that it isn’t her tastiest recipe but it works for both sore throats & laryngitis.

1 cup of apple cider vinegar ~I use Bragg’s~

1 cup of strong (triple strength) sage tea ~I use 3 tablespoons of fresh sage or you can use 3 teaspoons dried sage, bring 1 cup of water to boil, add sage & steep for 15 minutes~

2-3 teaspoons of salt

Pinch of Cayenne

Combine all of the ingredients. Gargle frequently as needed throughout the day. Don’t swallow, swish & spit.
•Sage Gargle. This is an old family recipe that Dr. Low Dog recommends for a sore throat. It works quickly.

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons of dried sage

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of water

Bring the water to a boil, add sage, cover & let steep for 10 minutes. Strain, pour into a tea mug, add the salt & stir.

Gargle every 1-2 hours, or as needed. Don’t swallow, swish & spit.

Dr. Low Dog notes that this gargle can be used along with antibiotics for strep throat.

Strep throat symptoms By Mayo Clinic Staff In general, signs and symptoms of strep throat include:…
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Flu & Cold Season~part 1
posted September 21st, 2015

Tea-1-2-1024x709The flu & cold season is upon us. What can you safely use for cold & flu symptoms before, during & after chemotherapy, radiation or surgery? There are literally thousands of over the counter remedies to choose from. I will talk about remedies that are natural & easy to find. I will also note if there are any drug interactions that you should be aware of.

Lets begin with ways to help stimulate the immune system to fight off colds & flu. Here are the obvious ones.
•Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Think Mediterranean
•Eliminate added sugar & processed foods.
•Alleviate stress with mindfulness programs or meditation.

There are also products that I have found useful. My husband is a substitute teacher for elementary grades. He is exposed to a lot of germs from those little people. Starting at the end of August I recommend that he takes the following…
•Vitamin C: 1000 mgm each morning. This is an anti-oxidant & you should check with your health care team if you are taking chemotherapy or radiation.
•Elderberry Syrup: Black elderberries are anti-viral & will relieve flu symptoms. They are also protective if taken every morning during the flu season. Sambucus Syrup by Nature’s Way is a good, safe brand to use. Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup is another good, safe brand. This is an anti-oxidant & you should check with your health care team if you are taking chemotherapy or radiation.

Herbal Teas are wonderful to help with cold & flu symptoms. Taken in tea form two or three times a day they will not interact with medications. Check with your health care team when in treatment. Here are 2 safe brands of herbal medicinal teas I use & recommend. I have also included a few that you should know about for other problems

Traditional Medicinals Seasonal Teas: These are the teas that I have personal experience with. Traditional Medicinals are organic teas. Herbal teas should be steeped for 10 minutes. Follow the directions on the package…
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Dispose Of Expired Medications Properly, Turn Them In On National Drug Take Back Day This is happening on September 26th nationally. Read the article to see what they will take back. It also tells you how to dispose of these unwanted medications & over the counter drugs at home. Wonderful public service.

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Powdered caffeine??? & other news.
posted September 14th, 2015


My love of coffee is well known. I love the smell of the coffee beans when I open the canister. Making a cup of coffee is a morning ritual for me: grind the beans, set the water to just before boiling, lovingly put the grounds in a French Press, add the water & mindfully 🙂 wait for the 4 minutes brewing time. First sip is pure bliss! I drink coffee for its flavor first & as a “wake me up” secondly. By the way, unbeknownst to most of you, I feel the same way about tea. Again, the process of making a pot of tea or coffee is a beautiful ritual not to be missed.

7 Healthy Perks of Coffee “Your morning just got better: Drinking coffee can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, according to a report recently presented at the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation’s 2015 meeting.” When you read this article I want you to read the whole thing. When you get to the weight loss section take note of what the author has written. “Researchers can’t seem to agree on coffee and caffeine’s effects on weight loss; while compounds such as chlorogenic acid and quinides in coffee may potentially aid in weight loss, excessive intake has been linked with weight gain. Either way, if you don’t load your coffee with cream and sugar, coffee can be a healthy part of a calorie-controlled diet, Koullias says. After all, an 8-ounce cup of black coffee contains a single calorie.” So, more is not better! Enjoy one or two cups a day. More than that can contribute to health problems. Moderation 🙂

I have had emails asking about the safety of using caffeine laden drinks to boost energy; which leads me to the headline I saw last week; FDA issues new warnings to distributors of powdered caffeine, calling products ‘dangerous’ “The FDA noted in its letters that a single teaspoon of pure, powdered caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 28 cups of coffee. It noted that consuming as little as a teaspoon of the stimulant has been associated with nausea, vomiting, anxiety and heart palpitations, while consuming a tablespoon can result in more serious problems, such as chest pains, irregular heartbeat, seizures and, in some cases, death.” This is another example of marketing a single “property” of a whole food. In this case it is marketed to those who want the caffeine high. One tablespoon of this powder could be lethal. It is sold in large quantities! In another article, F.D.A. Warns 5 Producers of Powdered Caffeine, it states that a 100 gram package, 3.5 ounces, is equal to 400 tall cups of Starbucks coffee, 1,250 cans of Red Bull, or 3000 cans of Coke. Last year 2 healthy young men died from this product…
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Losing weight safely.
posted September 7th, 2015

In my last post we discussed the direct link between obesity & cancer. Now you know the health risks of being obese & even overweight. If you are a cancer survivor or a person interested in decreasing the risk of cancer here are some questions you should be asking. How do you SAFELY lose weight? How do you MAINTAIN your weight loss or your present healthy weight?

A recent headline, from NYC Today, caught my eye. PHYSICIAN ADVICE COULD HELP OBESE PATIENTS LOSE MORE WEIGHT: Findings of researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD, suggest that people who participate in weight-loss programs under supervision of certified physicians have better chances of losing weight than those who follow their own program. Having a good relationship with your healthcare team has been shown to have a positive effect on the outcome of your illness. Having that healthcare team be the driving force behind a weight loss program only makes sense. This is what Integrative or Functional Medicine is all about. Treating the entire patient including his lifestyle & diet choices. Unfortunately there are not many weight-loss programs with a physician at the helm. There are not many physicians whose strong point is nutrition

Most commercial weight-loss programs do not include a physician. US News & World Report listed the best diet programs of 2015. Best Weight-Loss Diets: “The best diet for losing weight is Weight Watchers, according to the experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. HMR Diet, Biggest Loser and Jenny Craig came in close behind. Other diets performed as well or better in enabling fast weight loss, but long-term weight loss is more important for your health.” Take a look at the list. I won’t go over all of them but I would like to comment on Weight Watchers.

The article summarizes the Weight Watchers Program: “This popular points-counting diet helps dieters drop pounds and keep them off. In experts’ ratings, Weight Watchers bested all other ranked diets for both short-term and long-term weight loss. That doesn’t guarantee it will work for everyone, of course. Its average rating of “moderately effective” for long-term weight loss reflects the difficulty dieters have in staying on the wagon, even when using the best weight-loss diet available. Counting points rather than calories, learning portion control and being given choices of foods to eat, is why this program is popular & easy to follow. Weight Watchers does sell processed, &, frozen meals, that you may use. But this is a choice. I have used this program with great success & it is my fall back program when I am “stress eating” again I like its versatility. I choose only those foods that are organic & fit into my vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. The leaders of the meetings have always been supportive & there are booklets to help vegetarians navigate the program. When you are finished with the program & see a few pounds creeping back it is an easy program to do on your own. I use this app: Pro Tracker It is not from Weight Watcher but it is cheap & easy. It has the points for every food you can imagine & it allows you to add your own individual food or create a recipe & the points are automatically counted. If you are a Weight Watcher participant or have been then take a look at this app.

Programs such as Jenny Craig are set up around their pre-packaged foods that you eat while on the program. The problem with these types of programs is weaning you off their products & back to your own regular diet. Even though they provide counseling people find it difficult to return to the “real world”. These types of programs are quite expensive…
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Obesity & Cancer Risk
posted August 24th, 2015

“Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes can help you lose weight.” Mayo Clinic.

I want you to note that according to the Mayo Clinic, obesity is a complex disorder. Cancer patients know that weight gain, even obesity, can be due to chemotherapy, steroids & the cancer itself. Obesity is also linked to genes, environmental factors, inactivity, stress, depression, unhealthy diet, individual behavior & lifestyle choices.

Today I will be discussing cancer risk & risk of re-occurrence linked to dietary obesity. Obesity is either measured by your Body Mass Index~BMI~and/or your waist measurement. Simply put you are taking in more calories than you expend with exercise.

Measure your waist by placing the tape measure about an inch above your belly button. For women, a healthy waist measurement is less than 31.5 inches, and for men, it’s less than 37 inches.

Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Your body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m) squared. This chart is easier to check than doing all that math 🙂

***BMI doesn’t know the difference between body fat & muscle. Muscular athletes would be under the obese category. Children, pregnant women, & nursing mothers can’t use this chart either.

Check with your doctor before deciding you are at risk.


We know that about one third of the most common cancers can be prevented through diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercise…
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Stop the Presses! Updates!
posted August 18th, 2015


I enjoy wading through sensational headlines about nutrition to get to the heart of the matter. Usually they are misleading and are not based on research. This past weeks articles surprised me. They are based on research although two are misleading.

Let’s explore these latest headlines regarding diets & food choices: Coca-Cola, the Paleo diet, the Low Fat vs. Low Carb debate & spicy foods. My favorite is what Coca-Cola is trying to sell to the public. So let’s look at that one first.

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets “Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.”

Coca-Cola is funding obesity research with a biased message, nutrition experts say “Coca-Cola came under fire Monday for donating millions of dollars to a nonprofit that has been spreading the message in medical journals and through social media that the blame for America’s obesity epidemic is not about diet but a lack of exercise. The issue, the New York Times reported, is that the view is misleading and meant to deflect attention away from recent studies about sugary drinks and their link to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

The non-profit that has come under fire for accepting a $1 million dollar donation from Coca-Cola is The Global Balance Energy Network. This is an interesting non-profit. It’s mission statement: “The Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) is a newly formed, voluntary public-private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to identifying and implementing innovative solutions – based on the science of energy balance – to prevent and reduce diseases associated with inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. It is a premier world-wide organization led by scientists working on the development and application of an evidence-based approach to ending obesity.” Their mission statement sounds good but after reading the rest of the website I am not impressed. Energy balance is a term that in reality means a healthy, balanced diet, exercise & stress reduction. At least that is what evidence based research has shown us! GEBN’s definition is vague. On the website it states that they have received a lot of emails criticizing their mission statement & their acceptance of the donation. Their answer is that they will have a statement later this week & that they are taking this very seriously. I would hope so.

As stated in the second article, money for government research is dwindling & scientists are accepting corporate money to do much needed scientific research in all areas. I understand the problem but it does raise the question concerning undue influence & compromise regarding the study results. I doubt very much that Coca-Cola wants to hear that increased sugar use is contributing more to obesity than inactivity.

I agree that balance between activity & diet is important, but the diet has to be a healthy one to combat disease. I had friends in my youth that exercised, ate Doritos & drank Diet Tab to lose weight. It worked! They were thin but they certainly were not healthy. It is not only what you eat on a diet that influences your health but more importantly it is what you are no longer eating; junk food. In other words the typical standard American diet; SAD but true 🙂
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Being Vegan
posted August 10th, 2015

The simple definition of a vegan (vee-gun or vee-gn) is a vegetarian who omits all animal products from their diet.

But this is not a new concept & it didn’t begin in the 1960’s Hippie Era. It was actually defined in the early 1940’s by the The Vegan Society: “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. From ‘junk food vegans’ to raw food vegans, and everything in between, there’s a version of veganism to suit everyone. Yet one thing we all have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.”

In this post we will be discussing the vegan diet & not the vegan lifestyle. What does a vegan diet look like, what are the benefits & the pitfalls.

Oldways website has this wonderful graphic of a vegetarian/vegan pyramid. Note at the tip of the pyramid are the options for a vegetarian. These foods would be omitted on a vegan diet. Pay attention to the bottom of the pyramid; exercise, share meals with family & friends. I like this website because of the wealth of information & recipes for every type of lifestyle. It has information regarding the Mediterranean diet as well.


Here is a simplified version of a vegan plate by Ordinary Vegan This website is a good resource for easy to fix vegan recipes. Other websites for vegans tend to use a lot of ingredients that are hard to find & the recipes are unusual to the average person.

The section labeled legumes is actually the section for vegan foods higher in protein. Don’t make the mistake of using this section to add “meat substitutes”. I have mentioned in previous posts about using vegetarian hot-dogs, bacon, burgers, cheese etc. These are not necessarily better choices than grass-fed, antibiotic & growth hormone free meats. Meat substitutes are highly processed & contain sugar, sodium, preservatives & those hard to pronounce chemicals. They are also expensive. Read the labels & check the ingredient list before buying. Don’t be a “junk food vegan”…
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Cleaning up your plate.
posted August 3rd, 2015

end-of-your-forkCleaning up your plate is not as difficult as you think. It doesn’t mean getting rid of foods that you like. It doesn’t mean becoming someone you aren’t. It means looking at your choices & “tweaking” them to fit onto a healthy plate. I will be writing about your “plate” but I want you to think about it as a symbol of what your entire day of eating looks like. We will look separately at breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks. What the possibilities are and what the reality is.

The changes you make in your eating habits should be done gradually; over weeks, days or even months. The changes will become a permanent part of your routine when added slowly & with thought. The optimal plate or day you are striving for looks like this.

Vegetables: Potatoes can be eaten occasionally. Choose red, purple or gold potatoes for greater nutritional value. French fries are a treat to be enjoyed, just not daily 🙂
Fruits: When eaten as a whole food they are full of fiber which slows down the sugar entering your system. I limit my fruit to 3 a day. More than that & I feel like I have eaten candy all day. Pay attention to how fruit affects you.
Whole grains: So many to choose from! Like the potato, avoid white grains. They are denuded of nutrition. Rice for example comes in red, black, brown, and more. Each one has a different texture & fiber. My daughter loves white sticky rice with her Asian food. That is fine, another treat!
Protein: Limit your protein to the size of the palm of YOUR hand. Vary the protein you do eat because the nutritional value differs in types of protein. If you eat meat then plan at least 2 vegetarian meals per week. Tempeh is a good choice because it is simply a cake of fermented soy. American tofu is very processed. When I buy tofu, which is no more than once a month, I choose sprouted, organic tofu. It is less processed & a healthier choice.
Oil: See the post on oils a few weeks ago.
Dairy: All dairy is inflammatory & should be avoided or eaten in moderation. Cattle are given shots of a growth hormone & antibiotics. Buying organic dairy guarantees that it is hormone & antibiotic free but it does contain estrogen. Cows are milked while pregnant so their estrogen level is high.
Drinks: Water should be your drink of choice. Limit fruit juice to 4-6 ounces a day. It is very high in sugar & the body treats it like any other sugary drink. Milk is not a drink.

Cleaning up your plate.

Breakfast: This meal is very important. You are breaking the fast since you last ate. It is also setting you up for the rest of your day.

You can be very creative with your breakfast or fall back on routine.
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Clean Eating & the Price of Eggs
posted July 27th, 2015

Wayne Dyer said in his blog post: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” This simple observation of Dr. Dyer’s is really quite profound. I am going to use this idea as it applies to our eating habits.

Two posts that I read this week have stuck with me. My wonderful assistant, Juli, & her friends were lamenting the price of eggs. They have gone up & are expensive. The other was a comment by Samantha Adams: “My new motto is count chemicals, not calories.”


Using Dr. Dyer’s observation let’s look at the “price of eggs”. One afternoon several years ago I was buying produce at Jimbo’s when I overheard a woman complaining that a head of organic romaine lettuce was $2 & she refused to spend that much. I looked in her cart & saw 2 Green & Black organic candy bars…$3.89 a bar at that time. If we are willing to spend $4 for one candy bar then why aren’t we willing to spend money on organic produce? Today’s average price per egg is $0.22, it has 58 calories, 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein & NO SUGAR. The average price of a 3 ounce Snickers bar is $1.00 & it has 215 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein & 20 grams of SUGAR. Look in your cart & see what your Snickers is 🙂 Let’s begin our grocery shopping list with the mindset that organic produce is the healthiest food item we can eat & compare each purchase to our “Snickers”.

The Dirty Secrets of ‘Clean’ Labels Samantha Adam’s quote can be found in this very good article about the ingredients found on labels. The authors explore how & why the big corporations & the FDA have changed labeling. Why these changes? “It boils down to one thing: Consumers don’t trust companies anymore,” says Lynn Dornblaser, director of Innovation and Insight for the market research firm Mintel. Mintel recently surveyed grocery shoppers. Only 38% said they trust what companies say about their products on food labels. “That’s 62% who don’t,” she says.” Wow, 62%! This is great news. Companies are only hurt when their bottom line~$$$~is affected. Then, & only then will they make changes in our favor. This is why your buying habits matter. You vote every time an item is scanned at the checkout counter.Label-300x300

Again using Dr. Dyer’s observation; what are you looking at when you buy products with labels? Are you checking the Nutritional Facts Label for sugar, calories, fat or fiber? Maybe that isn’t how we should be looking at these labels.

I happen to agree with Samantha, I only look at the ingredient list. I am looking for chemicals & “things I can’t pronounce”. When I buy peanut butter I expect to see only peanuts on the ingredient list with maybe a bit of sea salt. Jiffy Creamy Peanut Butter’s ingredients: MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR…
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Updates & New Recipes
posted July 20th, 2015

My favorite posts to write are the updates. Each week there are many new health & nutrition articles in the news. This week I want to share an update on coconut oil, avocados, sunscreen, coffee:), & restaurant food vs. fast food. I will also share some new recipes that I think you will like.

Coconut oil is always in the news & posted on Facebook as a “super-food”. If you Google it you will find websites with lists for the many uses of coconut oil. Some of them are just comical! So, what is the story with coconut oil?

I mentioned coconut oil in the post on Healthy Oils/Fats a few weeks ago.

Monounsaturated: 6% | Polyunsaturated: 2% | Saturated: 92%
Flavor: Light coconut flavor
Uses: High heat. Baking, stir fry, roasting & for popping popcorn!
Problems: None. This saturated fat is not a problem because it is a medium-chain triglycerides which in research is seen as heart healthy.
Health benefits: There is not a lot of research that suggests it is a “super food”. It is a good choice when cooking but shouldn’t replace better choices such as Olive Oil. Here is a good article: What are the health benefits of coconut oil This is a fair assessment of coconut oils health benefits.

I added the link above to give you a fair assessment of coconut oil. Here is another article, dated 7/7/15, on the Forks over Knives website that our NUT Elf, Suzi, brought to my attention. Is Coconut Oil Healthy or Hazardous? The article begins as follows: We are not quite sure why people think there is something magically healthy about coconut oil. We think it is because it tastes good, and therefore the misinformation is easier to swallow. For several years now, coconut oil has been marketed as the new wonder oil, a cure-all with health benefits ranging from antimicrobial properties (such as fighting viruses and bacteria, including HIV), to fighting cancer (by supporting our immune system), to reducing heart disease (by reducing cholesterol and benefiting our arteries), to promoting weight loss, to treating hyperthyroidism, to many other things. Its uses are also varied—it’s a cooking and baking oil, an ingredient in many packaged foods, and a component used in biodiesel fuel, soaps, and skin products. I like this article because the authors, two M.D’s, bring up information that you don’t see on other websites or in other articles. Click on the link above to read the entire article. Here is the last paragraph: “In light of this information, coconut oil seems better served in our cars and on our skin, and really should never be used in our food. Having said that, if you enjoy the taste of coconut, or if a little bit of coconut is helping you stay on this healthy new diet and lifestyle, then using a little bit of the whole plant food, not the oil, once in a generous while, is okay.” I agree with all the research & information the authors site. But~I would say that coconut oil can be used “once in a generous while” in place of Crisco. I use coconut oil to season my cast iron pans, I use it when making my families old biscuit & pie crust recipes that call for Crisco & my husband uses it once in a great awhile to make popcorn taste “buttery”. My oil of choice is Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is the only oil in my cupboard for general cooking.

Avocados may hold the answer to beating leukemia 6/15/15 “Rich, creamy, nutritious and now cancer fighting. New research reveals that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer…
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Water: Part 2
posted July 6th, 2015


Last weeks post discussed why our bodies need water. This week I will look at water quality, filters, containers & bottled water. We, in the United States, take our drinking water for granted. We simply turn on a tap in our home & there it is. 750 million people around the world, 1 in 9, do not have access to safe water.

According to “In most developed nations, we take access to safe water for granted. But this wasn’t always the case. A little more than 100 years ago, New York, London and Paris were centers of infectious disease. Child death rates were as high then as they are now in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It was sweeping reforms in water and sanitation that enabled human progress to leap forward. It should come as no surprise that in 2007, a poll by the British Medical Journal found that clean water and sanitation comprised the most important medical advancement since 1840.” ***1840 & still… “2.5 billion people ~about 1 in 3 -~don’t have access to improved sanitation.”

The Environmental Protection Agency & each states Department of Public Health requires a Drinking Water Quality Report. In California it is required yearly. The most recent, 2013 City of San Diego’s Annual Drinking Water Quality Report gives you an idea of what they test for and how it is rated. Click on the link for the entire report. Here is an excerpt that I feel is important to understand.

“Why is There Anything in My Water? The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. ***Note that this includes bottled water sources. Department regulations also establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that provide the same protection for public health.”

Contaminants that may be present in source water include: ***This is true of water that is collected anywhere in the United States.

• Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.

• Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, that can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.

• Pesticides and herbicides that may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.

• Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals that are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems.

• Radioactive contaminants that can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities…
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Water: What should your daily intake be?
posted July 6th, 2015

If you ask anyone, part of your health care team or even a person on the street, what your daily intake of water should be, you will get the same answer. 8-10 cups a day. Where did this guideline come from & is it correct?

There are many reasons why this is a tricky question for anyone to answer. I will address the most important reasons as well as why we need water, what the consequences are of not having consumed enough & measures to take to prevent dehydration.

The history of this guideline is very interesting because it is difficult to pin it down to one person. It may have been just a footnote in the 1945 & 1948 U.S. Dietary Guidelines or it may have been popularized by a book written in 1974. Regardless, these recommendations are no longer part of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines because researchers don’t know how much water an individual should drink daily.

This is a good article to read. How much water should we be drinking? Science doesn’t have a clue.

As a Registered Nurse I would record a patients intake & output, I&O, to make sure they were not losing more fluids than they were taking in. Why was this important?

The USGS Water Science School: “According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%. Each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters per day. Some of this water is gotten in food. This article makes a good point here; it varies according to age & gender as well as how & where someone lives. I would add it also varies according to their health status & diet. The article continues…..Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going: …
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Healthy Oils/Fats
posted June 30th, 2015

There have been quite a few conflicting articles this week regarding the 2015 FDA Dietary Guidelines that will be approved in a few months. These guidelines will also dictate school lunch guidelines as well as what is on the labels of processed foods. Rather than the benefits being discussed they are being politicized. It is difficult enough to decide what is healthy to eat. Now, we not only have pesticide lobbyists, beef industry lobbyists & climate change naysayers to name just a few; we also have politicians making unscientific claims about the guidelines. What do we do with all this misinformation? We ignore it! We trust what our bodies are telling us to eat.

I have put together definitions of types of oils/fats plus a list of the most common ones that we use to help you navigate through the misinformation. But first, here are a few of the headlines from this past week that I wanted to comment on.

Fat is back: New guidelines give vilified nutrient a reprieve “We wanted the emphasis to be on fat quality rather than total fat, because the evidence really emphasizes that saturated fat is the driver of risk rather than total fat intake,” said Barbara Millen, president of Millennium Prevention and chair of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.” Hmmm, that makes sense. So the headlines stating that bacon is back may be “a bit” misleading. Rather than worrying about how much fat we eat, we want quality. That leaves bacon in the eat once a month category 🙂

Since about the 1950’s there were many non-fat, fad diets introduced. Yet we remain an obese nation with heart disease, diabetes & cancer on the rise. We now know that blood cholesterol levels are not affected by diet choices ~except for those who are diabetic~ & that the body needs fat to be able to function.

High-Sugar Diet Can Impair Learning And Memory By Altering Gut Bacteria “The typical American diet is loaded with fat and sugar, and it may be hurting not only our physical health, but also our ability to think clearly. New research from Oregon State University finds a high-sugar, high-fat diet causes changes in gut bacteria that seem to lead to significant losses in cognitive flexibility, a measurement of the brain’s ability to switch between thinking about one concept to another, and to adapt to changes in the environment.” The crux of this article is that the typical American diet is laden with…
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Chocolate & Nutrition in the News
posted June 22nd, 2015

Chocolate is in the news again! It is so nice to be validated. 🙂 Trans-fats, a diet to mimic fasting, a great guide for transitioning to a plant based diet and more exciting news. Of course we will begin with chocolate.

A Little Chocolate A Day May Keep Cardiovascular Disease And Strokes At Bay “In the back-and-forth debate over whether chocolate is good for you or bad, a new study found people who regularly consume a reasonable amount of chocolate had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes compared to people who didn’t consume any.” I guess they had to say “a reasonable amount~same as that M word~moderation. 🙂 The article does say that you should stick to dark chocolate. With all the reading I have done regarding health & chocolate, I recommend 80% & above. The darker it is the less sugar & dairy is involved. I still love the 90% Lindt makes. I eat one square in the evening for my chocolate fix.

The FDA is banning the use of trans-fats in processed foods over the next 3 years. The FDA takes step to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods, “Based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products.” 3 years? It is not like this is new news. Studies on trans fats have been going on for years.

Remember when they were added to the nutrition label on processed foods? 2006! At that time the FDA said: Trans Fat Now Listed With Saturated Fat and Cholesterol “As of January 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to list trans fat (i.e.,trans fatty acids) on Nutrition Facts and some Supplement Facts panels. Scientific evidence shows that consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels that increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, over 12.5 million Americans suffer from CHD, and more than 500,000 die each year. This makes CHD one of the leading causes of death in the United States today.”
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posted June 15th, 2015

Smoothies have been a popular drink and/or meal replacement since the advent of the refrigerator & blender. I remember making them in the 1960’s. They actually date back to the 1930’s in the U.S.A. but have been a part of the Mediterranean cuisine for several hundred years.

I will show you my basic smoothie recipe which is not only packed with nutrients but is also tasty! This recipe can be easily customized according to your needs; higher protein or higher calories for example. I will discuss protein powder choices, spices, whole foods, liquids, & extras to add to your smoothie.

This recipe makes approximately 12 ounces depending upon what you have added to it.

For a nutrient dense, high fiber, balanced smoothie, you should try for 20-25% fruit & 75-80% vegetables. Quit making faces! You can’t taste the vegetables unless you use a strong flavored one like kale or arugala. The fruit & spices will give you the flavor you want.

Liquids: 1 cup or more to adjust the thickness of the smoothie. This choice is dependent upon what tastes best to you.

Water works as well as any other liquid.
Nut Milks are easy to make for the base of the smoothie. Add 1 cup of water into your blender & throw in about 1/4 cup of nuts & blend. Instant nut milk! No need to strain out the “bits” because they add to the flavor & won’t be noticed. My preference is raw cashew nuts. Roasted nuts give a nuttier flavor to the smoothie & adds calories due to the oil.
Coconut Water or Coconut Milk adds a coconut flavor for the base. I like it but it is expensive. Check the labels when buying either one. Pepsi owns O.N.E & Coca Cola owns ZICO.
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Boost Your Immune System With Nutrition
posted June 8th, 2015


We hear a lot about having a strong immune system to help our bodies ward off common illnesses & diseases in our environment. There is the “flu season”, “cold season”, childhood disease crises, etc. The best way to keep your immune system operating optimally is to give it a consistent supply of balanced nutrition. What is the immune system & how does it work?

The simplest definition I found was on “The immune system, which is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs, defends people against germs and microorganisms every day. In most cases, the immune system does a great job of keeping people healthy and preventing infections. But sometimes problems with the immune system can lead to illness and infection. The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.” The immune response includes the thymus, spleen & lymph system.

In the past 5 days there have been many articles concerning the discovery of a connection between the brain & the immune system. This is an amazing discovery…
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Nutrition in the News
posted June 1st, 2015

The nutrition news this past week has reaffirmed what we already know about what to eat, but also held a few surprises. We will look at the articles & studies that I felt were newsworthy enough to share.

I have also included two new recipes from our NUT Elf, Suzi, & myself; links to websites with great recipes from our Ms. Helen & Eubie & one of my favorites. So much to cover!

Many Probiotics taken for Celiac Disease Contain Gluten From the New York Times. Colombia University doctors, in 2014, noticed that people with celiac disease who use probiotics felt worse. What is Celiac Disease? Mayo Clinic: Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. This is a serious disease & patients have to avoid ALL gluten.

I chose this article because many of you take probiotics & also avoid gluten in your food. According to this article, half of the probiotic supplements they looked at contained gluten; even the ones labeled “gluten free”…
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Healthy Recipe Ingredient Substitutions & Other Helpful Tips.
posted May 25th, 2015

Recipe not going to happen I decided to bake a batch of corn muffins to go with our vegetarian chili. I didn’t have the milk or the shortening that were called for in the recipe. I also didn’t want to use that much sugar. What to do? I am not the only person with this problem. That same day I received an email from our NUT, Ms. Helen & Eubie, asking for a recipe for healthy, dense breakfast muffins that can be frozen for future use . Ms. Helen also asked how to freeze fresh berries. Hence the topic for today’s post; Healthy, Recipe Ingredient Substitutions & Other Helpful Tips.

I have included, both below & on our Recipe page, 2 links to websites with lists of substitutions. One is for everyday ingredients & the other is much more creative & interesting! Let’s begin with my corn muffin problem, helping Ms. Helen at the same time.

Here is my basic recipe for corn muffins. I will show you how to swap the ingredients I lacked for healthier ones & how I added ingredients to make it more dense…my substitutions are in red. This can be done with any of your favorite recipes.

Corn Muffins from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal…
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Healthy Eating on a Budget; Making Choices
posted May 19th, 2015

I don’t think that I know anyone who is not on some sort of a budget. We all have to eat end-of-your-forkand to feed our families. It is tough to make healthy choices on a strict grocery budget. Grocery bills are high whether they are Organic or not. I was thinking about this dilemma because I have the same problem.

The truth about the choices we need to make came home to roost when Alessandra posted an article on Facebook; What to Eat When You’re Broke from the Eat Local Grown website. This is written by a mother who finds herself having to make difficult choices to feed her family which includes a small child. I will reproduce parts of this article that I think are relevant to us and comment on them. You can read the entire article by clicking on the title above.

The article starts with a couple of facts that affect all of us. “The lower your income is, the more difficult it is to be particular about what you feed your family.” & “Food manufacturers that target lower income shoppers with more affordable products tend to include more GMOs and toxic ingredients in their offerings.” ***You just need to read labels on processed foods to see this in action! Both statements are true and hard to swallow because we expect more from our government than the lack of oversight they show in the production, availability &

cost of healthy food.

This is the list the author gives of what she generally tries to avoid. Sound familiar?

“It just isn’t possible to stick to my usual food restrictions. Generally speaking I avoid…”
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Spices of Life
posted May 11th, 2015

“The history of spice is almost as old as human civilisation. It is a history of lands discovered, empires built and brought down, wars won and lost, treaties signed and flouted, flavours sought and offered, and the rise and fall of different religious practices and beliefs. Spices were among the most valuable items of trade in ancient and medieval times.

As long ago as 3500 BC the ancient Egyptians were using various spices for flavouring food, in cosmetics, and for embalming their dead. The use of spices spread through the Middle East to the eastern Mediterranean and Europe. Spices from China, Indonesia, India, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were originally transported overland by donkey or camel caravans. For almost 5000 years, Arab middlemen controlled the spice trade, until European explorers discovered a sea route to India and other spice producing countries in the East.” The Spice Trader

Most of us use spices every time we cook or bake without thinking about them. They are just a part of the recipe. Spices can add color & taste to your food but they can also be anti-inflammatory, help with nausea, have a calming affect, aid in digestion, & more. Spices are safe when used as intended, added to foods. Using them consistently on a daily basis in your meals will give you…
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5 Medicinal Herbs for Your Windowsill
posted May 4th, 2015

My sunny kitchen windowsill is getting crowded with pots of my favorite medicinal herbs. It is Spring, time to purchase them from garden centers or even from Natural Food stores. Garden centers, Jimb

o’s, Whole Foods, & Trader Joe’s sell organic seeds & starts. Here are 5 of my favorites which can treat minor health challenges immediately.

Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Peppermint, & Lemon Balm are easy to grow in pots and can be used in cooking and for medicinal teas. Preparing & drinking a cup of tea continues to be a ritual in countries like Japan, India & in the United Kingdom. Collecting my herbs, preparing them & the tea mindfully has a calming effect all on its own. Sitting down with my cup of herbal tea adds to that state of calm or even bliss. Ahhhh….
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Diet Pepsi, Silicone Bakeware, Non-dairy Milks & Cookies!
posted April 27th, 2015

I found several good articles in the news again this week. I was also sent links to two I missed; thank you NUT Elves, Suzi & Deborah! In addition, I had a request for cookie recipes with no added sugar. Oh, and by the way, I have written an informative page: Medical Marijuana, (Cannabis Sativa), and posted it under Topics to help clear up the confusion regarding its use.

Okay, let’s get started! This article was on BBC news Sunday morning: Pepsi to drop artificial sweetener aspartame. “A controversial artificial sweetener is being removed from Diet Pepsi in the US amid consumer concerns about its safety. Aspartame-free cans of the drink will go on sale from August in America, but not in Britain. Regulators in the UK and the US insist aspartame is still safe to use in soft drinks. PepsiCo says its decision is a commercial one – responding to consumer preferences.”

I was happy to see this corporation taking action due to consumer preferences. Take note when you read the article: Pepsi thinks Aspartame is…
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Exercise & Cancer
posted April 21st, 2015

When I am asked what is the most important thing to focus on during cancer treatment, my reply is always the same; diet, exercise & stress reduction. In reality they are all 3 related. A plant based diet reduces stress on the body, strengthens the immune system, stabilizes weight, increases energy, alleviates depression & more. Exercise reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, stabilizes weight, increases energy, alleviates depression, increases mobi

lity & more. Stress reduction? Same list. A healthy diet plus exercise is the ticket to physical & mental well-being before, during & after cancer.

Is there science behind exercise while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation &/or surgery? Yes, there is. There have been recent studies conducted on mice that show that exercising can enhance the treatment you are currently on; chemotherapy, radiation & post surgery…
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Mental Health, Super-bugs & Diet Pills
posted April 13th, 2015

I had a difficult time trying to decide between so many health news articles that came out last week. I finally chose three. Here are the subjects I chose. Diet and Mental Health (no brainer..LOL!), 1,000 year old Onion & Garlic Recipe Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Super-bug & FDA Drops the Ball on Weight Loss Supplements.

An article on line by the Huffpost caught my eye Diet May Be As Important to Mental Health As It Is To Physical Health. I guess the reason I looked at this article is because it seemed so ridiculous to me. Anyone who has changed their food intake from junk food to whole foods knows that not only did they have more energy but mentally they felt better as well. The brain fog from too much sugar, salt & fat lifted as soon as they quit eating that way. They felt more alert, less depressed and more focused within a day or two. I always notice a huge change in outlook by the third day of a plant based, whole foods diet. I attribute the change to getting the nutrients from fresh foods that were lacking in processed & junk foods.

The article starts with…
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Artificial Sweeteners
posted April 6th, 2015

I thought I should revisit this subject and give a more balanced view. I have

never felt that artificial sweeteners were the answer to cutting back on sugar intake. I have also felt that they were not the best choice because they are highly refined and made of chemicals & sugar alcohols. My other objection is that they are not scrutinized very closely by the FDA. More importantly, you don’t learn anything about a healthy diet and a healthy intake of sugar when consuming low calorie or no-calorie foods.

Artificial sweeteners and “natural” alternatives such as Stevia come with side effects & problems when overused. Regularly consuming highly refined Stevia for example has side effects; feelings of nausea, bloating, and a decreased appetite to name a few. It can also cause hypoglycemia, lower blood sugar, when used with diabetic medications. Years ago I did a finger stick on myself, for a diabetic workshop I was co-teaching, after drinking a diet 7up and found that my blood sugar had dropped to 40! No wonder I always felt so tired in those days! Overuse of some artificial sweeteners can cause…
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Exactly what do I eat?
posted March 30th, 2015


The majority of the emails I have received in the last week have asked me the same question, “What exactly do I eat? I have read your recommendation for a Mediterranean

or DASH diet, but what do I eat?” This is a fair question.

Even if you have read “Mary’s Nutrition Guidelines” in our Topic section you would be asking me the same thing. Simple question, complicated answer. What you eat is dependent upon on so many factors but most importantly, how you feel at the moment. Are you preparing a meal and don’t know where to start? Are you laid out on the couch just returning from chemotherapy? Did you just come from a Zumba class with Alessandra? Do you live alone and you are preparing a meal just for one person or do you have a family of 5 picky eaters. Lots of scenarios to work with. I will try to help sort this out. Lets start with a food pyramid….
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Omega 3’s & Omega 6’s
posted March 23rd, 2015

We hear about the importance of eating fish for Omega 3’s and to stay away from Omega 6’s. What are they and why are they important?

Omega-3’s & 6’s are a form of polyunsaturated fat that the body gets from food. They are called essential fatty acids because the body needs them to maintain health. The body can’t manufacture either of these essential fatty acids (EFA’s).

Omega-3’s come primarily from fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna, as well as from walnuts, hemp, chia and flax seed. You get Omega-6’s as linoleic acid from plant oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil, as well as from nuts and seeds.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that “Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be…
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Technology: Blessing, Curse or Both?
posted March 16th, 2015

Technology can be a blessing as well as a curse. I love technology because of the extraordinary amount of information that is at our fingertips! It is also a curse because of the extraordinary amount of information that is at our fingertips! Yet, we can use the technology to our advantage.

Apple and Android apps are a good example. I started thinking about this because of an email from our NUT Elf, Deborah P. She sent me a link to a new idea for an app for breast cancer patients and thrivers…
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Chronic Inflammation
posted March 9th, 2015

Chronic Inflammation has been linked to cancer for quite sometime. It was noted that chronic bowel inflammation sometimes led to cancer of the colon. This led to research looking for a link between other cancers and chronic inflammation.

Most chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and auto-immune conditions are now considered inflammatory diseases. This is important for prevention and lowering the risk of recurrence….
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Nutrition Guides you need to know about.
posted March 3rd, 2015

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” ~ Hippocrates

Good Day to everyone! Our NUT Elf, Suzi, has been very busy sending me wonderful nutritional guides that you should know about. I want to share them with you.
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U.S. Food Panel Recommendations.
posted February 23rd, 2015

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, made up of medical and nutritional experts which meets every five years, has recommended a diet high in vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish & low-fat dairy. Does this sound familiar? Mediterranean Diet come to mind? The committee has stated that these guidelines are “more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact” than the current US diet, which is high in meat.
They have also stated in their report that “no food groups need to be eliminated completely to improve sustainability outcomes”. So they are not recommending…
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Cholesterol: Bacon & Eggs Are Back!
posted February 17th, 2015

Hi NUTs,

Bacon & eggs are back? Don’t get too excited. Our health is about more than cholesterol levels. ABC has a great video and article about the changes that the USDA is considering. I provided a link to their video and article. I have also added the article below with my notes…
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Coffee & Herbal Supplements Updates
posted February 9th, 2015

If you have been following the health news this week you have seen the newest study on coffee. “Coffee May Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk” ‘Women benefited from drinking about 4 cups daily, study suggests’ Most of you know how much I love coffee. I am also an avid tea drinker but I do need my coffee everyday. A headline with coffee in it always attracts my attention. This is an interesting study. If you will click on Topics on the menu above and click on coffee on the dropdown menu you will see the entire article and my comments.

I also want to update you on my “Bogus Herbal Supplements Fail Ingredients Test” post. Dr. Low Dog commented on this situation on her Facebook page. She brought up a good point about the testing the FDA used when it made these allegations. I agree with her…
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Vitamin D update!
posted February 2nd, 2015

Hi NUTs,

Once again Vitamin D is in the news. As most of you know, I am not an advocate of taking any supplements unless blood work by a reputable physician shows a deficiency. Getting vitamins & minerals in your diet is the only way to be sure of it being safe and bioavailable.

Having said that, I have been following the ups & downs of Vitamin D for several years. Based on the research and listening to Vitamin D advocates at conferences, I believe everyone should be taking 1,000 – 2,000 IU’s every day; tested or not. I also believe that Vitamin D plays an important role in the health of our immune system. This makes it an important vitamin to take for cancer patients to…
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Quest for fresh produce!
posted January 26th, 2015

How & where to shop for organic products and the freshest organic produce when you are on a budget? How do I cook them? How do I store them? These are questions I have had to ponder whenever I moved to a new place. This move is not any different. I hope my quest gives you the incentive to look around where you live.

Living in Crescent City has again changed the way I shop. Unlike San Diego, we have one natural food store, a discount grocery store, Walmart & Safeway. The closest Trader Joes is in Medford, Oregon, 100 miles away! I followed the advice I gave you in group. I checked availability & prices in each store; checked for local Farmer’s Markets & stands; farms & ranches. Here is what I learned…
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Antioxidant Update
posted January 20th, 2015

Hello NUTs,

Antioxidants are back in the news. “Extra Antioxidants may make little difference in lifespan

This study and earlier studies are important for you to know about. The studies were conducted with supplements. This means that the subjects were given the individual antioxidant in a concentrated form. Why is this important? Because when you isolate one chemical, vitamin, or mineral you lose…
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Back to Basics!
posted January 12th, 2015

Good Morning NUTs,

Last week I decided to do some baking. I opened the oven and nearly fainted! DIRTY is a nice way of describing its condition. When we bought this house I tried the cooking elements to see that they worked (electric stove) but didn’t look inside the oven. What to do….buy toxic oven cleaner or turn to my old standby…vinegar? I decided to…
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2015: A year of new beginnings
posted January 7th, 2015

Hello NUTs,

2015 is a year of new beginnings for me and for our group. As many of you know, I have moved to the northwest corner of California. Our move went smoothly with the help of my daughter and my two grandsons. We are unpacked but still arranging and rearranging our “Blue House”.

Even though I am 825 miles from Encinitas I will continue to keep you up to date on nutrition research, news and answer any questions you may have. This website is now public so feel free to share it with family & friends.

Even though I have been packing and moving I have kept an eye on the health news. Lots to share!

Let’s start with Dr. Oz….
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