Mary’s Reality Based Nutrition

“Let food by thy medicine.” ~ Hippocrates

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Nutrition Nuggets
posted June 21st, 2021


It has been a while since I have posted my Nutrition Nuggets. For those of you who are new to my Blog, I collect interesting articles & studies that I want to share with you. When I have several I post them as Nutrition Nuggets 🙂 This week the subjects are; the difference between a vegan & plant-based diet, a plant-based medicine cabinet, a vegan protein guide & U.S. statistics on alcohol-related deaths & women. I also added my favorite recipes of mine at the end.

Nutrition Nuggets: Vegan vs. plant-based diets…

Nutrition Nuggets: Plant-based ‘medicine cabinet…

Nutrition Nuggets: Alcohol-related deaths…

Nutrition Nuggets: All about protein…

Nutrition Nuggets: New recipes…

…continue reading each section in Mary’s Blog here!

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Plant-Based Milks
posted June 14th, 2021

Plant-based milks have become a mainstream product. Not too long ago you would have had to go to a ‘health food’ store to find a ‘nut milk’. You wouldn’t have had many choices; Soy Milk or Almond Milk. Today, most markets have an entire side of an aisle devoted to the many plant-based milk choices available. They are now called plant-based due to the influx of grain based milks; oat, & rice for example. I belong to several WFPB Facebook groups & I have noticed that when most people ask about switching it is because they need it for their coffee 🙂 It appear to be all about taste & texture.

Plant-Based Milks: Why the move away from dairy milks?
The dairy industry is being negatively affected by this change in consumer tastes. Why the move away from dairy? I am not going to debate cows milk vs plant-based milk. I will save that topic for another time. The following are the probable reasons for the consumers interest in switching from dairy to plant-based milks…
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Iron & Protein
posted June 7th, 2021


Iron & protein. Two common problems when in treatment for cancer are anemia & inadequate protein intake. This information is important for those of you in treatment & for those of you who want to maintain a healthy immune system before & after treatment. I will answer the following questions. How much iron do I need each day? What is iron deficiency anemia? How do you get enough iron & protein into your diet healthfully & where can it be found in foods?

Iron & Protein: RDA.
The RDA, recommended dietary allowance, from the National Institute of Health’s Iron Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Important to note that the RDA listed below is the minimum that your body needs to remain healthy…
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Spring Cleaning Safely
posted June 1st, 2021


This is an update of a post I did a few years ago. I was encouraged to do that post by the many emails I received asking if Spring cleaning can be done safely. The leading questions were; do cleaning supplies have to be harmful & can I make my own? The answers are yes, you can either buy safe products, they are easy to find, or make your own. Making your own is relatively easy to do with natural ingredients that you already have on hand.

Spring Cleaning Safely: Purchasing safe products
If you prefer to buy your cleaning products but want them without all the toxic ingredients then EWG is the website for you. It has always been my go-to for information regarding toxic ingredients in anything I use or consume. Their new Healthy Home Guide site has links to all their guides to help you with choosing safe products for your environment…
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WFPB When Traveling
posted May 24th, 2021


June is the beginning of travel in a ‘normal’ year. With the new CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people, I suspect that a lot of people will be on the road this summer. Cabin fever abounds! Before you pack check this website for information on local, domestic & international travel regulations. Remember that these new guidelines are for fully vaccinated people only; you are 2 weeks out from your 2nd shot of Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine or you are 2 weeks out from the one dose J&J Janseen Vaccine. Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, Updated May 13, 2021. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet I encourage you to do so. It is available for anyone 12 years old & up.

You are now ready to travel. What to eat when you are WFPB? …
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Gluten-Free Baking
posted May 17th, 2021


I enjoy baking for people & although we are not gluten-free we have friends that are. Is there a trick to gluten-free baking? Yes, there is and it begins with the flour. There seems to be more types of flour available in the baking aisle these days. It is difficult to sort through them to see what you actually need. Some are gluten-free, some are from legumes, others from grains. It is all so confusing. I asked my husband to buy millet for me, meaning the grain, but he thought I meant millet flour. Didn’t even know that it existed. Trying to use it, I substituted the flour in my vegan biscuit recipe for it; disaster! Lets take a look at the types of flour available.

***Just a reminder that I am not paid for the products that I link to.

Types of Flour: To bleach or not…
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Understanding Healthy Fats
posted May 10th, 2021


Understanding Healthy Fats. It is difficult enough to decide what is healthy to eat. We not only have pesticide lobbyists, beef industry lobbyists, dairy lobbyists & sugar lobbyists to name just a few; we also have diet gurus telling us what we should or should not eat. One subject that is always controversial is which dietary fats & oils are healthiest for us. One week it is okay to eat bacon or coconut oil & the next week it isn’t. The best way to wade through all the controversy is to be informed. I have put together definitions of types of dietary fats & oils plus a list of the most common ones that are used to help you navigate through the misinformation out there. Rather than worrying about how much fat we eat, we want quality.

Understanding Healthy Fats: Why do we need fat in our diet…
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Building a Healthy Immune System.
posted May 3rd, 2021


How can you help your body be prepared for the flu & any other opportunistic diseases that come along? By building a healthy immune system with diet & exercise. For those of you with a compromised immune system this is important. Going back to basics is the key to keeping your immune system strong and at the same time reduce the risk factors for chronic diseases including cancer.

Building a Healthy Immune system: Here is what you need to start with.

The list is pretty simple:

  • No smoking.
  • Restrict/omit alcohol intake.
  • Get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep when possible.
  • Exercise/walk 30 minutes a day. Does not need to be at one go. 3 ten minute walks during the day will give you the same benefits. Get up & move as much as you are able to.
  • A balanced, whole food-plant based diet. Start by making small changes each month by adding more whole grains, legumes, vegetables & fruits to your meals.
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WFPB Recipes
posted April 26th, 2021

This week I will share with you a few new WFPB recipes that I have discovered. These are now on my ‘do again’ list. I am the kind of cook who rarely follows the recipe exactly. Usually, it is because I don’t have the ingredient or I don’t like the ingredient that is listed. My favorite type of recipe is one that is versatile. Meaning different vegetables can be added & I can increase or decrease it, without affecting the flavor.

WFPB Recipes: Converting an old favorite
Converting a favorite to a WFPB recipe is not difficult. I have written about this in other posts. Tips to convert a favorite recipe & Baking & Cooking Ingredient Substitutes. Refer to them if you are wondering how to substitute an ingredient with a healthier one. The following recipe was one of our very favorites to have on hand for guests or to freeze for when we wanted a dessert.

WFBP Recipe: Dessert…
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Mary’s Reality Based Nutrition
posted April 19th, 2021


Last week I wrote about Healthy Natural Sweeteners? & which one was the healthiest for you. In this post, I will look at the most common types of artificial sweeteners plus 2 plant-based alternative sweeteners. If you have read my earlier posts you know that I am very distrustful of them. It isn’t that I believe that they are toxic or carcinogenic, it is because of the body’s response to them.

How the body controls blood sugar levels
Normally, blood sugar/glucose levels increase after you eat. When blood sugar goes up the pancreas releases insulin. The glucose is either turned into energy to use at that time or it stores it lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When your blood sugar is too low, the insulin decreases & stored glucose is released bringing your blood sugar back up to normal.

The same process occurs with these artificial sweeteners. Insulin is released mistaking the artificial sweetener for glucose. This causes…
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Healthy Natural Sweeteners?
posted April 12th, 2021


There have always been two sides to the sweetener debate. Some researchers claim that all artificial sweeteners are not toxic or bad for your health. Others say that they cause everything from fibromyalgia to cancer. Then there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not there are actually healthy natural sweeteners. Is cane sugar better than honey? Am I better off using maple syrup in my tea? Today I am going to look at healthy natural sweeteners.

The newest Nutrition Facts label on products has listed the entry “added sugars.” This addition does make it somewhat easier for the consumer. Sugar is found in most processed food in one form or another. Even if you check the ingredient list you may not see it. Why? Because there are at least 61 names for sugar. UCSF: Sugar Science: 61 Names for Sugar. Scroll down the page & look at the right side. This makes it all the more confusing. Let’s look at this from a WFPB point of view…
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A Mixed Dietary Family
posted April 5th, 2021


There are several WFPB pages that I belong to on Facebook. One of the problems most often posted is about being the only one in the family following a WFPB eating plan. The helpful & commiserating comments usually number close to 1,000. How do you manage a mixed dietary family?

Growing up in a household where my mother catered to everyone’s tastes made a lasting impression. I don’t know how she managed it; I wouldn’t eat meat, my grandfather was a roast, potatoes & creamed peas man, my father only liked spicy foods heavy on the pasta & cheese & my younger brother would only eat hot dogs for a long time! When I started my own family everyone ate what was on the table. I am very fortunate. When I met my husband…
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WFPB Nutrition in the News.
posted March 29th, 2021


It has been a while since I did a news update. Since WFPB Nutrition has been in the news several times in the last few weeks I thought it was time to remedy that.

WFPB Nutrition in the News: A culinary medicine program for patients & doctors.

This news story is a sight for sore eyes 🙂 Center for Nutrition Studies: Cooking Up Health Program Changes Lifestyles for Doctors & Patients, By Melinda Ring, MD, March 19, 2021 “Our culinary medicine program, Cooking Up Health (CUH)—an elective offered by the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University—educates medical students on diet, lifestyle, and nutrition; how they relate to disease; and how they can play a powerful role in medical practice.”

The program was built around 2 challenges…
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Whole Food Plant-Based Thickeners.
posted March 22nd, 2021

The Whole Food Plant-Based, WFPB, Facebook Groups I belong to always have interesting posts. This past week I noticed one about WFPB thickeners used in cooking. There are so many & it has never been clear to me which one to use when. Hence this post.

Whole Food Plant-Based Thickeners: How to use them.
Are you looking for a creamier feel to your favorite gravy, soup, salad dressing, a sauce you like or maybe in one of your deserts? Learning which thickener to use when also depends on the flavor a thickener imparts into the dish you are making. I don’t like using flour of any kind to thicken my gravy or soups. It leaves a ‘raw’ lingering taste to me & I don’t like the texture. I chose these because they are vegan, plant-based & easy to find in your local store….
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Healthy NUTS!
posted March 8th, 2021


Healthy Nuts! My pantry has canisters full of raw nuts that I use for snacks, baking & for my homemade nut butters. Walnuts are the ones that I use the most for baking & cashews are wonderful because they add a creamy texture to sauces. The one I use the most for nut butter is not really a nut but a legume; raw peanuts. My dog Mona & I are addicted to my homemade peanut butter; just raw peanuts, nothing else added. As soon as I bring out my food processer Mona is sitting right next to me looking very hopeful 🙂

Healthy NUTS!: Are they a healthy snack?
Yes, they are a healthy snack. I have noticed that in most of the articles about how healthy they are as a snack they include the phrase ‘along with a heart-healthy diet.’ In other words, if you are eating the typical SAD diet then nuts would add more fat & calories making your diet even worse. Especially if the nuts you are eating are salted & oil roasted &/or have added sugars. Always choose…
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Miso is more than a soup!
posted March 1st, 2021


I am in love with Miso! No kidding, it is my favorite ingredient next to Nutritional Yeast. I was introduced to Miso soup by my daughter many years ago when I visited her in Japan. I wasn’t too keen on it at that time. But now it is an important part of my cooking. Miso is more than a soup!

Miso is more than a soup!: What is it?
Simply put, Miso is made by mixing cooked soybeans with a starter culture. First Koji Mold (Aspergillus) is added to a steamed grain such as rice, barley or soybeans. This starter culture is called Koji. The Koji is then mixed with salt & water. This mixture is then fermented for several…
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Nutrition & Hair Health
posted February 22rd, 2021


We all want that luxurious head of hair no matter what age we are. Did you realize that nutrition plays a large role in hair health? Nutrition isn’t the only factor that determines hair growth & loss; hormones play an equally important part. I will touch on this briefly & I will cover what you can do nutritionally to keep your hair healthy.

Nutrition & Hair Health: Hair growth
It is important to know how your hair grows to understand how to care for it nutritionally. Here is my simple explanation of the life of a hair 🙂 …
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Mastering Healthy Eating on a Budget, by Chef Jessica
posted February 15th, 2021


This weeks is a reprint of an article that my friend Chef Jessica Leibovich wrote & I posted on July 13, 2019. I decided to ‘recycle’ it because it seems that every time we go grocery shopping our bill is higher. Are you noticing the same thing?

If you are like me you have a list of staples that you buy each week or month. Those are easy to track. I doubt it is due to the extra ingredients I purchased for that special recipe or a new food item that we decided we needed to try. Neither of us are impulse buyers so it isn’t that either. I think the prices are higher due to the pandemic.

Let’s see what we can do to keep that food bill at least stable if not less…
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Aquafaba
posted February 8th, 2021

Aquafaba is very popular with vegans. Do you know what it is & where to find it? It is actually the thick liquid that you cooked your beans in or the thick liquid in the can of beans that you purchased. Most recipes tell you to rinse the beans to use in a particular dish. Vegans save the liquid.

Aquafaba: Its History.
Credit is given to French musician, Joël Roessel for discovering a use for the liquid aquafaba. In 2015, an American vegan food aficionado, Goose Wholt, who was searching for an egg white replacement, decided to try the bean water Roessel had been researching. He named it Aquafaba; Latin from aqua=water + faba=bean. After posting his results on Facebook it caught on quickly with other vegan chefs & vegans in general…
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WFPB Diet & Caffeine
posted February 1st, 2020

WFPB diet & caffeine. There are conflicting ideas on whether caffeine should be included on a WFPB diet or not. From what I have read it is really dependent on two things; how much caffeine you drink a day & health problems which are exacerbated by caffeine.

What are the health benefits, the health risks & does caffeine belong in a WFPB lifestyle. My disclaimer is that I love the smell & taste of coffee & I love sitting down to a cup of black tea. Coffee makes up one of my favorite food groups, besides dark chocolate. That said lets look at caffeine.

WFPB Diet & Caffeine: What is it?
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It is naturally present in more than 60 plants, for example in coffee beans, tea leaves, yerba maté, cola nuts, and cocoa pods. Caffeine is the most commonly used ‘drug’ in the world…
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Nooch!
posted January 26th, 2020


Nooch! I bet that got your attention. Nooch is a nickname for Nutritional Yeast. Nooch has a long history of use with vegetarians & in particular with vegans. According to one article that I read it gained stardom in the vegan diet after publication of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook in 1975. It has an entire chapter about Nutritional Yeast & recipes for its use. Nooch has been a staple in my pantry for decades.

Nooch!: What is it?
There are different types of yeast which are not interchangeable. Bakers yeast, brewers yeast & nutritional yeast are the ones that you have heard about the most. Each of these have specific uses. Nutritional yeast is the only one that you can eat sprinkled on foods or use in recipes for that vegan cheezy taste. Brewer’s yeast is specifically used for brewing beer, & other drinks. Baker’s yeast is for baking only.
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Salt, Sugar & Fat.
posted January 18th, 2021


My intention for this post was to write about why we should be concerned about the amount of salt, sugar & fat in our diets. After researching the subject I decided that all the information we needed was in one article. Before I introduce this article let me explain why I chose it.

Salt, Sugar & Fat: Comprehensive article
Salt, sugar & oils/fats have been vilified for years. Sometimes with good reason but in reality without knowledge of how they are used by our bodies. We see in the news or on social media that ALL sugar is ‘bad’, salt causes heart disease & fats play a role in obesity & other chronic diseases. Is this true? Do we need to purge our diets of the 3 in question? Dr. Campbell clears this up based on scientific research.
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2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines
posted January 11th, 2020


The 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines; I am impressed with some of it. You would think scientific based information would be taken into consideration when drawing up dietary guidelines. Not the case with past Dietary Guidelines & not the case this year. What did they get right? What did they get wrong? Let’s see…

2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines: Main points from the Executive Summary.
To read the entire Executive Summary click on the link. The guidelines cover every age group or as the USDA puts it: …
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Fun Recipes for 2021
posted January 4th, 2021


Happy New Year! My resolution is the same each year; a healthy & happy new year. That is a resolution that is non-threatening & attainable. It is especially important for 2021. It does not mean we can’t try some fun recipes for 2021 that are easy & healthy!

For this post I decided to share some fun recipes that I have tried. As you should know by now, I love to cook & bake new things. I am always on the lookout for something WFPB & different. This first recipe definitely fits that description.

Fun Recipes for 2021: Favorites
Plant Powered Wellness: Plant-Based Bacon Bits. These are so easy to make! They are also addictive. I think it is that combination of the sweet, smoky salty taste. The ingredients are simple; …
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WFPB Christmas Cookies.
posted December 21st, 2020


Christmas this year will look a lot different for most people due to the pandemic. Hopefully, all of you will be having a safe Christmas at home with just your household family. Which brings us to Christmas cookies 🙂 WFPB Christmas cookies are a healthier version of standard holiday fare.

WFPB Christmas Cookies: Converting that cherished recipe.
I have several cookie recipes that I have loved since childhood. One of them, Snow Balls, is mostly butter. Since I am not using added oil this one is tough to convert. Easier to use someone else’s inspiration! If you would rather just use an existing version of your favorites then skip to the next section.

Another favorite of mine for Holidays are Old Fashioned Ginger Snaps from my Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Here is how to convert the recipe:…
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Whole Grains
posted December 14th, 2020


There should be no debate over the health benefits of whole grains. They are well documented. The problem lies with the ‘diet gurus’ lumping all grains together & calling them ‘bad’. There are whole grains & refined grains. Their actions in the body are different. Not all grains are good for everyone; those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or irritable bowel syndrome for example.

This time of the year it is easy to add nutritious & filling whole grains to your diet. Most holiday meals have at least one whole grain on the menu. The USDA recommends that adults eat 6-8 servings of grains daily & suggest that half of those servings be whole grains. WFPB lifestyle recommends consuming 4-6 servings of whole grains & very few servings of refined grains per day…
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Healthy Ways to Gain Weight
posted December 7th, 2020


You are probably thinking that this is an odd post for the Holiday season; healthy ways to gain weight. Especially when there have been headlines about weight gain during the pandemic’s stay at home orders. They call it the Covid 15. So why am I writing about this?

Weight loss can be a difficult side effect for cancer patients to deal with. I have seen & heard the information given to patients on how to gain weight during treatment. It starts with; “Eat more ice cream, butter, whole milk, cheese & high-calorie fats.” I cringe when I hear this. You will gain weight eating these things but they can lead to other health problems in the long run…
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Sweet Potato or Yam?
posted November 23rd, 2020


Sweet potato or Yam? Whenever I write sweet potatoes on our grocery list I am not sure what my husband is going to bring back. The Garnet, the Japanese sweet potato or the yam. So what is the difference & are they interchangeable? Why are they so popular? There are two reasons that I can think of right now; they are incredibly versatile to use in recipes of all kinds & they have many health benefits. Which one of those long tapered tubers are sweet potatoes?

Sweet Potato or Yam. How can I tell these tubers apart? …
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Tips to convert a favorite recipe to WFPB
posted November 16th, 2020


We all have recipes that we turn to for comfort, for holidays or just because our family loves them. When changing our eating habits one of the hardest things to give up are those recipes. Good news! You don’t have to. There are many ways to convert a favorite recipe to WFPB. First let’s take a look at substitutes for the major ingredients & then we can look at a few recipes that I will convert to WFPB.

Tips to convert a favorite recipe to WFPB: Oil…
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WFPB Thanksgiving
posted November 9th, 2020

It is time to think about a Whole Food Plant-Based, WFPB, Thanksgiving menu. This year it will be a bit trickier for most of us; no big family dinners. This also means that you don’t have to bake that weird pie for a family member you don’t even like 🙂

You can convert the family favorites to WFPB or try something entirely new. Take time to decide what you and your immediate family would like to eat. How about choosing a theme; Italian, Indian, Mexican or just finger foods. The ideas are endless. My husband & I are going for a WFPB (no added-oil) vegetable lasagne this year. Salad greens from our garden & homemade salad dressing; some type of easy roll or bread to bake & of course cranberry sauce. To complete the menu a WFPB Pumpkin Cheesecake for dessert.

There are so many recipes on line to look at! I haven’t decided which ones to use yet but I did find several to share with you that look really tasty…
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Plant vs. Animal Protein.
posted November 2nd, 2020

Plant vs. animal protein. Whenever I tell anyone that we eat a WFPB diet they ask about protein. Do I get enough? Is plant protein as good as animal protein? These are valid questions & concerns. Is one better than the other?

Plant vs. Animal Protein: A little history.
Proteins, plant & animal sources, were discovered by the Dutch chemist Gerardus Johannes Mulder in 1838-39. Jacob Berzelius, a Swedish chemist, named the substance ‘protein’. The word protein comes from greek; ‘proteios’ which means ‘first, foremost or of prime importance.’ This was a major breakthrough in what was known about nutrients at the time.

The idea that animal protein was healthier & of a higher quality than plant protein started to emerge in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s…
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Cooking Without Added Oils
posted October 26th, 2020

Cooking without added oils is not as difficult as it sounds. I will share some ways to substitute the oil in recipes you already have & some new recipes to get you started. I guess I would be called a ‘creative’ cook, meant in a good way, so I found cooking without add oils a fun challenge!

Cooking Without Added Oils: Vegetables
Parchment paper has become my best friend. I don’t own any pans or baking sheets that are non-stick. This is just my personal preference. Instead of preparing the baking pans with oil you can use parchment paper. This makes the clean-up much easier too 🙂

Sauteing or stir-frying without added oils…
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Added Oils
posted October 19th, 2020

When you read about the Whole Food Plant-Based, WFPB, eating plan you will see that added oils are avoided. What are they & why should they be avoided? We already know that animal fats have been connected to most chronic diseases. Plant oils have also been shown to cause problems with heart disease, diabetes & obesity. I am going to focus on added oils or as they are called; ‘plant-fragment oils.’

Added Oils: Where are they?…
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Healthy Eating Habits
posted October 12th, 2020

Healthy eating habits everyone. I have finished the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate Course at eCornell presented by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Center for Nutrition Studies. It is an amazing course backed entirely by scientific research from all over the world. It not only verified what I already knew about the link between diet & disease, it went even further to show which was the optimal diet for everyone; WFPB (Whole Food Plant-Based).

I am updating this post to conform to what I have learned. If you have questions please contact me.

Healthy Eating Habits: WFPB
These nutrition tips are for everyone; patients, family & friends…
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Cold & Flu Season 2020
posted October 5th, 2020

Cold & Flu Season 2020 is a bit different than previous years. The problem of course is Covid-19. When you get the sniffles, sneeze or have flu like symptoms, like the rest of us, you wonder if it is Covid-19 or not. This is important. You should not self diagnose or self treat. You should call your health-care provider & get tested. If it comes back negative & your doctor diagnosed you with a cold or flu then read on. If it comes back positive then do not use the following natural remedies unless you get it cleared with your health-care team. We do not know what works or what makes the Corona Virus worse. Don’t take a chance.

A question that I have asked myself & others have asked me is, “Should I get a flu shot this year?” A valid concern. The CDC recommends the following:…
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Exciting News!
posted September 16h, 2020

Hello everyone. I am in the middle of the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate Course at eCornell presented by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Center for Nutrition Studies. It is an amazing course backed entirely by scientific research. The research studies are from all over the world. I can’t wait to share what I have learned with you…
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Soy vs Dairy in Breast Cancer
posted September 9th, 2020


Soy vs Dairy in Breast Cancer. I recently shared this article on our Facebook page: Center for Nutrition Studies: Study Finds Dairy (Not Soy) Skyrockets Breast Cancer Risk By Switch4Good, August 21, 2020 The article is well written & all of the research cited. There is no reason to doubt the authors facts & conclusions.

Let’s look at the actual study.

Soy vs Dairy in Breast Cancer: Study, authors & funding…
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Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption
posted September 2nd, 2020

For years I have wondered why the American Cancer Society would say that it is safe for women to limit their alcohol intake to 1 serving per day & men to 2 servings per day. To me it was giving everyone permission to consume alcohol even when the research showed otherwise. Their newest guidelines on alcohol consumption are: “It is best not to drink alcohol. But if you do, women should have no more than 1 drink per day and men should have no more than 2. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.” This is a step in the right direction but it still does not reflect current research on alcohol & cancer…
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Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption
posted September 2nd, 2020

For years I have wondered why the American Cancer Society would say that it is safe for women to limit their alcohol intake to 1 serving per day & men to 2 servings per day. To me it was giving everyone permission to consume alcohol even when the research showed otherwise. Their newest guidelines on alcohol consumption are: “It is best not to drink alcohol. But if you do, women should have no more than 1 drink per day and men should have no more than 2. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.” This is a step in the right direction but it still does not reflect current research on alcohol & cancer…
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Veggie Container Gardening
posted August 26, 2020

Have you thought about growing your own food even without a yard or flower bed? You can grow crops on your windowsill or on your balcony! It is called container gardening. If you do have room for a garden bed you will also like this post.

Veggie Container Gardening: Seeds
Recently my husband was online to buy vegetable seeds for our garden & nothing was available. The stock at most sites was weeks behind. Since the lockdown, many people are growing small vegetable gardens in their yard or in pots on windowsills, balconies or even on their porches. Here are some of the seed companies that my husband & I like:…
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Plant-Based Recipes
posted August 19th, 2020

I read another article this week about how people are coping with the pandemic. Focusing on food was number 1 again. It is true in our home. Trying new recipes with the produce at hand has been my theme. I thought it would be fun to research some new sites to share with you that feature plant-based recipes . Just a reminder, plant-based or plant-forward does not have to mean vegan or vegetarian. It means that vegetables, fruits & grains take up the majority of your plate.

Plant-Based: What is it exactly?
For an in depth answer to this question see my Blog post from March, 2018: Plant-Based Diet: What is it exactly? “The USNews & World Report publishes the Best Diets Rankings at the beginning of each year. They have what I consider the best working definition of a plant-based diet: …
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Obesity & Covid-19
posted August 5th, 2020

This is a topic that needs to be addressed; Obesity & Covid-19. This pandemic with the staying at home order exacerbates obesity. We all want to feel safe. One way to do that is to return to eating comfort foods from our childhood. Sitting on the couch with our digital toys & snacking as we watch videos, play games or Zoom. Choosing processed foods because they are easier to serve & have a longer shelf life. Exercise is more difficult & must be planned into our new normal. This causes a no-win situation. The bottom line is obesity can be caused by the pandemic & it is a risk factor for Covid-19.
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Spice Tips
posted July 29th, 2020

Our vegetable garden has been producing a lot of Sugar Snap Peas & Swiss Chard. Our Potatoes have been doing well & the Squash are threatening to overwhelm us. Being on a plant-based diet this is welcome news. As the cook, this means coming up with new recipes. Maybe I don’t need new recipes, I need to learn more about which spices go with which produce. Spice tips for old recipes equals new flavors!

Spice Tips: Buying & storing.
I have a good selection of spices in my pantry. I usually buy them from the bulk section to keep the prices down & they seem to be ‘fresher’ than the spices you buy in bottles. The bulk spices in our store smell wonderful & are full of flavor. Unfortunately, during this pandemic, all the bulk foods have been taken down. Overhead closed bins that you pull the handle to fill your bags are now back. This leaves out my spices for the time being because they are in jars…
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Junk Food Junkies
posted July 22nd, 2020

In my last post, Supplements to Boost Your Immune System?, I mentioned that it is easy to become Junk Food Junkies with all diets. We tend to target the SAD, standard American diet, as the only one with junk food eaters. No so.

Junk Food Junkies: Labels
As a vegan I read labels to make sure I am not getting any surprises in my food choices just as adherents to a gluten-free, keto or vegetarian diets do. It is no surprise then that the junk food industry has picked up on this & have marketed products targeted to specific diets.

Picking up a product & reading all the information on the front is not helpful. The wording is usually misleading. You will see small icons showing if the product is gluten free, vegan, keto, organic, non-GMO & more. Those help guide your choice but they aren’t guaranteeing that the product is actually healthy. Turn the product over & look at the Nutrition Label on the back along with the Ingredient List. That is where the information is that you need…
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Supplements to Boost Your Immune System?
posted July 15th, 2020

Dietary supplements have been a leading topic in the news over the last few weeks. They are being recommended to boost your immune system. The questions addressed are usually the same: what supplements boost your immune system, which brand should you buy & where should you 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 even eat a healthy, balanced, diet, never mind plant-based. The reasons for this are many. The sad part of this for me is that right now is the perfect time to change to a healthier diet & a healthier lifestyle, yet few are taking advantage of it…
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Vanilla Extract
posted July 8th, 2020

I guess you could call this a revenge post. I am getting a little bit annoyed that the prices for staples are getting higher since the pandemic began. I figured out ways to substitute cheaper & more obscure types of flour in my baked goods & I am not angry when toilet paper is missing from the shelf every other week. But, $30 for a small bottle of Vanilla Extract & no other brands available to compare it with? Now that pushed me over the edge this week 🙂 …
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Does Sugar Feed Cancer Cells?
posted July 1st, 2020

Does sugar feed cancer cells? This is one of the most common questions I was asked when I taught nutrition to cancer patients. The simple answer is yes. Sugar does feed cancer cells, just as it feeds all cells in your body. Our bodies do not have a mechanism to give sugar, glucose, to just healthy cells.

The most common reaction to this news is to cut out all sugar from your diet. This includes complex carbohydrates like grains. This radical way of trying to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells can lead to malnutrition & other disorders. In the process of cutting out all sugars you are also cutting out essential nutrients that keep your body functioning & your immune system strong. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute article: Does Sugar Feed Cancer? explains this in more detail…
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Diet & Quality of Life.
posted June 24th, 2020

People are living longer lives. In some areas of the world they live into their 100’s. This sounds good but it is only good if the quality of your life is worth it. How can we live longer & have a healthier quality of life? By changing our lifestyle; exercise & diet are the 2 most obvious determining factors. Can diet really determine your quality of life?


Diet & Quality of Life: What does quality of life mean?
Living longer does not necessarily mean your life is fulfilling & that you are healthy & happy. Quantity does not equal quality…
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Food & Travel
posted June 10th, 2020

Food & Travel. The coronavirus has changed how we travel, where we can travel to & how to get food while traveling. We received a notice from Toyota that there is a recall on on the airbags system. The closest Toyota service centers to us are either 2 hours south or 2 hours north in Oregon. Either way we will need to think about so many things before we make that simple appointment.

Food & Travel: CDC Recomendations
We are all aware of the restrictions in our own cities. Our Public Health Department recommends that we do not drive outside of the bordering counties…
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Summer Salads
posted June 3rd, 2020

My favorite part of lunch & dinner is the salad. A fresh salad with a light dressing on it is the best. Summer produce provides lots of opportunities to make interesting salads & as you know I like to experiment with recipes. Salads are really fun to be creative with. Here are some ideas along with my favorite salad & salad dresing recipes.

Summer Salads: The green leafy kind.

Here are some ideas for a tossed green salad. So many to choose from!
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Pesto Magic!
posted May 27th, 2020

In the early 1980’s I was introduced to the magic of a simple pasta sauce called pesto served over Linguini. I was amazed at the full flavor of such an effortless dish. Pesto sauce is easy to make & easily adapted to any diet plan. This is why I call it Pesto Magic.

Pesto Magic: History
The area of Italy that is associated with pesto is Genoa the capital of Liguria. This is where Genovese Basil is grown. Liguria is in north-western Italy bordering France & the Mediterranean Sea. Pesto is their regional treasure.

Pesto has been traced back to Ancient Roman cuisine because of a similar dish of the time, moretum. It is also linked to Genoan cuisine during the Middle Ages because of a popular dish called agliata; crushed walnuts & garlic. The traditional basil recipe was first published in a cookbook in 1863 by Giovanni Battista Ratto. It is now enjoyed worldwide.
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Mental Health & Your Diet
posted May 20th, 2020

May is Mental Health Awareness month & this week is Mental Health Awareness week. This post is meant to be a reminder that diet can improve your mental health. The diet that research shows is best for your brain & your mental health is the plant-based Mediterranean diet. If you are interested in exploring this diet then go to my May 6th, 2020 post: Plant-Based Diet Updated. Why this way of eating in particular? Let’s see what the research says.

Mental Health & Your Diet: The research.
This is a very good article. It explains how the food you eat affects your brain function which in turn affects your mental health. It cites research to back up this theory of food as ‘brain fuel’. Harvard Health Publishing: Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food, POSTED NOVEMBER 16, 2015, UPDATED MARCH 26, 2020, Eva Selhub MD, Contributing Editor

Several research studies & a meta-analysis about diet & depression are cited in this article…
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Recipes: Plant-Based
posted May 13th, 2020

Everyone I Zoom with, text with or phone tell me that they are cooking up a storm during this shutdown. They are enjoying trying new plant-based foods using the ingredients they can buy. Each time my husband ventures out to do our grocery shopping I don’t know what he will be able to find. The most interesting is the shortage of flour. I am learning to bake with rice flour, almond flour, rye flour & many others.
Because I have had to be creative with new ingredients I decided to dedicate this post to a few new plant-based recipes & websites I have found. I will share some of my favorite recipes that I have discovered which have become regulars on my meal rota…
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Plant-Based Diet Updated
posted May 6th, 2020

I wrote this post, Plant-Based Diet: What is it Exactly, in March, 2018. I am updating the information as interest in a plant-based or plant-forward diet has increased. The words “plant-based diet” have been bandied about for a few years now. We know that this is the healthiest diet to follow to reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes & other chronic diseases. This is based on scientific research. I have recommend a plant-based diet or moving towards a plant-based diet on this Blog many times. So what exactly is this diet & what does plant-based mean?

Plant-Based Diet: Definition…
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Mindful Eating
posted April 29th, 2020

I saw a funny quote on Facebook that said “If you wear your jeans 5 days in a row, they become all baggy & it looks like your losing weight. Follow me for more quarantine tips.” I started to laugh when I realized that I have been wearing sweats most days. I rushed to my closet to try on my jeans. They fit but were a bit tight! This led to me looking at how I am eating, not what I am eating. Our vegan diet has been at its best during this shut down. No junk food in sight! I realized that I was eating more often & not paying attention to my thoughts while eating. I needed to go back to mindful eating…
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Should I Disinfect All Of My Groceries?
posted April 22nd, 2020

(C) Prawny, PixbayI have seen a lot of videos & articles regarding disinfecting groceries after shopping. Should I disinfect all of my groceries? What are you doing with yours? My husband has been doing all our grocery shopping during the shelter-in-place order. He follows the CDC Guidelines for Essential Shopping & the World Health Organization Guidelines for shopping in a grocery store & at a farmers market. He has been diligent about using hand sanitizer & wearing a mask. When he arrives at home with 2 weeks of groceries we have a routine that started out very strict but has loosened up a bit with the latest recommendations.

Should I disinfect all of my groceries? My routine…
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Baking & Cooking Ingredient Substitutes
posted April 15th, 2020

We should all have a handy chart for baking & cooking ingredient substitutes. I have been having difficulties finding flour & yeast for baking. Our stores are completely out of all-purpose flour, both bleached & unbleached. It is also difficult to find Whole Wheat flour. Baker’s yeast is another problem. I found 3 packets of regular dry yeast in the back of the butter keeper in my fridge. They expired March 30th. Back to Google I went to find out what other flours I can use in both baking & cooking as well as how long I can continue using expired yeast…
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Depression Era/WW2 Cooking
posted April 8th, 2020

In last week’s post, Shelf Life of Foods, I mentioned that we could learn a lot from Depression Era/WW2 cooking. A few years ago I was looking through my mother’s & grandmother’s recipes, for one that 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 11, which explains a lot. When I was young I was told to clean my plate. I was also told to “waste not want not” (which actually goes back to the 1700s & possibly earlier). In my grandparents’ era these admonitions were meant to stop wasting food.

I wrote an article about this in 2016 & I thought it would be fun, once again, to explore some cookbooks & recipes from this era. Since we are still hunkering down & gazing at our pantry to decide what we could make, why not try something new & easy that uses fewer of our supplies…
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Shelf Life of Foods.
posted April 1st, 2020

Another week into sheltering-in-place & I am wondering about the shelf life of foods. Since I am vegan I don’t have meat & dairy to worry about but you may. We have stocked up for 2 weeks as instructed by our local Public Health Department. How long are my potatoes going to last? How should I store them? Let’s find out from some experts.

Shelf life of pantry foods.
This is my favorite article with a printable chart that lists common pantry food items. The chart lists how long these items will last in your pantry. I really like the resources they offer. For example you run out or your baking powder has expired, the resource is to a link to show you how to make your own!

I have a ‘kitchen binder’ that I put together years ago. In the front section are charts that help me remember how to cook legumes or how to substitute ingredients. The rest of the binder has recipes that I have found online, made & they were a keeper. I have included this invaluable list

TheSpruceEats: Shelf Life Chart of Pantry Foods, Written by Erin Huffstetler, Updated 06/25/19 “Learn how long foods stay fresh in the pantry, and you’ll know just how much to stock up on…”
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Freezing Food While Sheltering-in-Place.
posted March 26th, 2020

Before I introduce this post, Freezing Food While Sheltering-in-Place, I want to give you two links to sites that explain the safety of buying groceries, especially produce. I know we are all concerned about staying healthy during this pandemic & that means eating a healthy diet that includes fresh produce. Don’t let the fear win, read these links. The C.D.C. & W.H.O. have the same information on their sites.

Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Live Science: Can You Catch Covid-19 from food? By Rachael Rettner – Senior Writer

I realized after writing last weeks post, Simple steps to strengthen your immune system, if we are busy or ill we will want easy things to prepare. As I was about to make dinner, chili with quinoa, I decided to cook twice the amount of pinto beans & quinoa so I could freeze them for a quick, nutritious meal when needed. I have frozen quinoa before & it was wonderful having it available. I wasn’t sure about the beans so had to look that up. That led me to wonder what else I could freeze to have on hand when needed. Thus this post; Freezing Food While Sheltering-in-Place
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Simple steps to strengthen your immune system.
posted March 17th, 2020

There are some very simple steps that you can take right now to strengthen your immune system. Under normal circumstances, we think about our lifestyle & what we need to do to be healthier. Presently everyone is discussing how a healthy immune system can keep us healthy & help to fight off any opportunistic diseases. Those 2 ideas are actually one and the same. A healthy lifestyle leads to a healthy immune system. The following simple steps to strengthen your immune system are also valuable for those of you with a compromised immune system. What can we do right now to place us on the path to a stronger immune system? Simple!

The majority of the country is either sheltering-in-place or self-isolating. I realize that some of you may have a difficult time finding fresh produce. Buying frozen or canned vegetable & fruits are just as good for you. Read the labels to get products that have less salt & no added sugar or oils. The store’s own brand is usually the best option & it is cheaper too. If you need to buy frozen meals or microwavable meals to make it easier when your not feeling well, just read the labels & get the healthiest option. This is not the time to go for junk food…
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Distracted By Health Claims on Packaging?
posted March 11th, 2020

Are you distracted by health claims on packaging when you are grocery shopping? When I was shopping at our local natural foods market I overheard several women discussing how healthy a product was. The discussion was based on the health claims written on the front of the packaging. They made their decision to buy the packaged item without looking at the Nutrition Facts Label & Ingredient List on the back. This is distracted buying. Relying on the marketing claims on the front of a package can impact your health. Investigate these claims by taking a look at the Nutrition Facts Label & the Ingredient List…
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Meaty March 2020?
posted February 26th, 2020

Meaty March 2020? It appears that the meat industry is reacting, not responding, to the success of Veganuary. There will be an online campaign to promote eating meat & it’s health benefits. The dairy industry reacted in the same way with Februdairy. That one fell flat. I didn’t hear about it until I was researching MeatyMarch 2020. Why are they reacting at all? There has been a significant interest in plant-based ways of eating in the last few years. The 2020 Veganuary Challenge saw 400,000 people worldwide sign up to try eating vegan for the month.

Interest in plant-based diets soars.
The interest in plant-based diets increases each year. Who & why are people interested? This article has answers to both questions…
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Starbucks Introduces Plant-Based Drinks
posted February 19th, 2020

Starbucks Introduces Plant-Based Drinks. Starbucks has introduced 3 new plant-based drinks for their 2020 permanent menu. It used to be my favorite place to grab a cup of coffee when on the road. I did know that I could ask for a nut-milk instead of cream for my coffee, but it was a problem finding a vegetarian sandwich or snack at Starbucks. Since we decided to stick to being vegan, even when out, it became impossible to get a snack there so we stopped going. Instead, we have discovered little coffee shops in out of the way places that cater to vegans too. Since I was no longer a patron of Starbucks, I was surprised to see a headline in the news that Starbucks is offering plant-based drinks. I went to their website to see what changes they were making.

Starbucks plant-based drinks for 2020…
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Do You Follow Social Media Nutrition Influencers?
posted February 12th, 2020

Do you follow social media nutrition influencers? How do you fact check their information? When I do research for my Blog posts I come across links to people on Social Media; FaceBook, Instagram & Pinterest that are promoting a brand, a product or themselves. Most of the time I just skip over those links but sometimes I follow them to see what is ‘trending’ in nutrition. I have always been aware that there is a lot of misinformation out there about nutrition; some even downright dangerous. I was not aware of how many ‘influencers’ there were & of how many followers they have. Facebook alone, as of October 2019, had 2.41 billion active users monthly, worldwide! The statistics are staggering. The ones I am interested in are called food or nutrition influencers. What is frustrating about these influencers is that they have thousands of followers who hang on every word! Take a look at this small picture: Influencers Trustworthiness STATS. According to Dictionary.com, the noun influence means: “…the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.” This definition is important enough for you to go back & reread it several times. Where do you get your nutrition information from & where do you fact check this information?
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In Defence of Pasta.
posted February 5th, 2020

Each year brings a new diet fad or a revived old diet fad. I get nervous when I read headlines touting ‘superfoods’ or bashing food groups. Carbs have been the center of attention for a very long time; low carb diets, high carb diets, NO carb diets. First of all we need to look at carbohydrates. Define what they are and how they act on the body once eaten. It is not as complicated as it sounds.

The macronutrients that we consume are a part of one of 3 groups; protein, fat & carbohydrates. Each group is needed to maintain a healthy body long term. The National Academies of Health & Medicine recommends the following intake of the 3 macronutrients that adults should get from their diets daily…
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Kombucha; The ‘Elixir of Life?’
posted January 29th, 2020

Why Kombucha? Simply because it has been the subject of several nutrition conversations that I have had recently. I have noticed that the cold drinks area in our grocery stores & at gas stations have entire sections just for Kombucha. So I am not surprised people are asking me about it. What is it & how is it made? Kombucha is said to be the ‘elixir of life.’ Is it? Is it safe for everyone to drink? What about those who are immunocompromised?


Basically it is a fermented, sweetened black or green tea. The process of fermentation involves a ‘scoby’, which is a culture medium made up of bacteria & yeast. It is naturally carbonated during fermentation. Kombucha has a history that goes back to 220 BC in ancient China. Its popularity grew through the centuries & spread throughout the world…
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Safe Products for Spring Cleaning
posted January 22nd, 2020

Even though it is raining & cold at this moment, my thoughts are on Spring cleaning as I see the gray grunge on the walls around our wood stove & the grey tint to my off white drapes. We love using our wood stove but it does wreak havoc on the walls & drapes. Time to start making a list of what needs to be ‘deep cleaned’ & what safe products can be used. I don’t want to clean the walls with chemicals that will be in our air for the rest of the season. I also want to find something that is a ‘gentle’ cleaner that will remove the oily grunge without bleaching out the drapes or taking the paint off of the wall. My day to day cleaning products are DIY. This year I suspect that deep cleaning may require a stronger solution 🙂
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New Plant-Based Meats Target Flexitarians
posted January 15th, 2020

The newest trend in late 2019 & into 2020 is plant based meats that mimic meat in texture & taste. Vegans & vegetarians were excited by this because they can order these ‘burgers’ in fast food places & this year in many restaurants. But are they for vegans & vegetarians? The industry says that they are targeting meat eaters who want to eat less meat & have a healthier diet; flexitarians. Appealing to vegans & vegetarians was a side effect. CNBC: An unintended consequence of meatless burger boom: Vegans’ lives got easier. PUBLISHED SAT, OCT 28 2019, By Amelia Lucas

The problem arises when these plant based meat alternatives are being grilled on the same grill as meats with the same oils…
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Nutrition Nuggets: Diet Obsession & Moderation
posted January 8th, 2020

While I was perusing the Health News on the last day in 2019, this article from the Center for Nutrition Studies caught my eye. When ‘Healthy Eating’ Becomes Bad fo Your Mind. By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, November 27, 2019. It started me thinking about the mindset of those who not only stick to a very strict diet but who continue to become more & more restrictive in what they eat based on what they see on the Internet or self-help diet books. The idea of becoming healthier with a healthy lifestyle turns into an unhealthy obsession. In this article the author says that there is a fine line between being ‘health conscious & health obsessed’. As she points out, this obsession can lead to anxiety & burnout. She has a list of ways it becomes socially & personally destructive. Read this article & see if you fit the description…
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(Mary took a break for the 2019 Holiday season, returning January 8th, 2020!)


Go to the posts of previous years:
Reality-Based Nutrition Archive 2019
Reality-Based Nutrition Archive 2018

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