Mary’s Reality Based Nutrition

“Let food by thy medicine.” ~ Hippocrates

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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, 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 Holiday season, returning January 8th!

Healthier Holiday Baking
posted December 18th, 2019

If this this holiday post sounds familiar it is because I am using some of last years post. This year it will only center around baking those wonderful holiday treats for yourselves, your family & friends. Memories of Christmas always brings back the smells & tastes of holiday baking; especially Christmas cookies. They are everywhere you go. Your friends & coworkers bring them to you or they are on offer on desks, in lunch rooms & even in your doctors office! Should we forgo the traditional taste of Christmas? I for one say no. Enjoy in moderation. This post is to help you to make healthier versions of old favorites or to try new ones to bring to your family, friends, coworkers & your health care team 🙂

The theme is: Enjoy the Holidays!

Holiday Baking:
Minimalist Baker: VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE GINGERBREAD MEN You can’t leave out the Gingerbread men!
Gathering Dreams: 25 Irresistible Vegan Christmas Cookies
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21 Day WFPBNO Challenge; What Did I Learn?
posted December 11th, 2019

I finished the Free UC Davis 21 Day WFPBNO Challenge just before Thanksgiving. WFPBNO stands for Whole Food Plant-Based No Oil. I would like to share with you what I learned & to introduce you to UC Davis Integrative Medicine program. As most of you already know, we were strictly vegan at home & usually vegetarian when we were out & about because it was easier. This challenge made us rethink that choice. Based on what I learned & the scientific research presented during the challenge we decided to be strictly vegan all the time & to transition into a no added oil diet. You may be wondering what no oil means. It means no added oil just like no added sugar. You get the fat you need from the diet; avocados, nuts, seeds, beans and more. You are not removing fat from your diet as it is essential to your health. I will say right now that I loved this challenge, learned so much & enjoyed the support along the way…
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Plant-Based Diet. Vegetarian Or Vegan Diet. One In The Same?
posted November 27th, 2019

When we talk about a plant-based diet or a whole foods plant-based diet, are we talking about a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet? I know it is confusing, it is for me too. I treat them as different ways of eating. My thought is that a plant-based diet is focusing on plants as the main source of food with moderate amounts of healthy animal protein, seafood & dairy. Vegetarian is the same without the animal protein & vegans eat only a whole food plant-based diet; no animal protein & no dairy. There is also a Whole Foods Plant-Based No Oil diet, WFPBNO, which is vegan without using added oil. In my research I found that 90% of Americans DO NOT get enough fruit & vegetables in their diets. I am not exaggerating, 90%! That is astounding when we know that they are available to most Americans & research shows that eating more produce lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, most chronic diseases & some cancers.

So what exactly is a plant-based diet & is it for your? Let’s see what the experts are saying…
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Thanksgiving for Two.
posted November 20th, 2019

My husband & I were discussing what we wanted for our Thanksgiving meal this year. Our children & grandchildren are all staying home so it is definitely dinner for two. This is the downside of living so far away from them. On the one hand they will be missed but on the other hand we can be more creative with our dinner. Being vegan makes us creative anyway but this year we are bucking tradition & going for something other than Tofurky & trimmings. So far vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with roasted veggies is topping the list. We both want brussel sprouts as a side dish. We will keep my homemade cranberry/cherry sauce. Don wants a vegan cheesecake made by Daiya, which is very good & I want a lemon meringue pie. I just found a really interesting recipe for a vegan version…
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Do Vegans Need These Dietary Supplements?
posted November 13th, 2019

This post is a reminder to anyone who is on a diet that restricts or eliminates food groups. It is not just for vegans. We all need to be on top of the nutrients our body needs. As a vegan there are certain vitamins that I need to consider supplementing with either fortified foods or with a nutritional supplement.

The one vitamin that I am concerned about is Vitamin B12. I use Braggs Nutritional Yeast which is fortified with Vitamin B12 every day in one of our meals. But is it enough? Our ability to absorb Vitamin B12 decreases as we get older. Vegan, vegetarian or not, you may want to have your level checked…
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Food Allergy, Intolerance or Sensitivity?
posted November 6th, 2019

Food allergy, intolerance & sensitivity. I hear these terms used interchangeably. I usually hear people say that they are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant. Sometimes they well say that they are lactose or glucose sensitive. Others tell me that they are allergic to yogurt or wheat. When I ask for a clarification they become confused & say that they just can’t eat dairy or wheat without having severe symptoms. Actually these terms are very different. It comes down to the immune system vs the digestive system. Diagnosing & treatments are are also different. Here is what you need to know about them…
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“An Apple a Day…”
posted October 30th, 2019

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

I received a 5 gallon bucket of apples this past week. They came off of our neighbors tree. This is an old 50+ year old tree so we don’t know what kind of apples they are. My guess is a Granny Smith variety. This is akin to harvesting all the zucchini at one time & being given more by a well meaning friend 🙂 What do you do with them all? Years ago, I had several 100 year old apple trees & they were very prolific. I found many ways to use them & applied that knowledge to my apple windfall this past week. Before I share them, I want to look at the nutritional value of eating apples.

The old adage of ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ originated in Wales in the late 1600’s to 1800’s, depending on the source you use. The old English word apple meant any round fruit that grew on trees. The meaning of the proverb was that if you eat a healthy diet you will not suffer from ill health & have to see a doctor. Sounds good to me.

Apple Facts from the University of Illinois is very interesting. Do you know how many varieties of apples grow in the USA? 2,500! It is similar to the potato, we only see a few varieties in our produce aisles. 7,500 varieties are known worldwide. The only apple that is native to North America is the little Crab Apple. This is a fun list of ‘everything you want to know about apples’…
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Chickpea Flour, gluten free!
posted October 23rd, 2019

Flour can be made from just about any food; nuts, grains, seeds, even fruits & starchy vegetables. Each one has to be cut up, dried & then ground into a fine flour. Each flour will behave differently in a recipe depending on the fat & the gluten content. In this article, SpoonUniversity: A Guide to Alternative Flours, By Renee Spillane, University of Virginia, the author has listed 14 different flours. Nuts are on the list in one category. She explains how to use each flour & has links to a recipe for it. I am excited to give some of these a try.

Another fact to consider when choosing a flour to use is what it’s Glycemic Index score is. I am not a diabetic but I am very sensitive when it comes to foods that raise my blood sugar quickly. I try to pay attention to what causes that feeling of a ‘sugar high’. I found an informative source for this information. 20 Healthy Flours from Lowest to Highest Carbohydrates, By Elisabeth Almekinder RN, BA, CDE. In addition to the chart the author also talks about each flour & what they can be used for. This is another bookmark for your resources.

Today I am going to delve more deeply into Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour….
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Gluten Free? Try Green Banana Flour.
posted October 15th, 2019

I am always looking for new, to me, foods to try. While shopping for flour I noticed a bag of Organic Green Banana Flour. I had never heard of it before. Yeah, I am behind when it comes to ‘hot new fad foods’. I simply can’t keep up & more importantly I don’t want to. This flour piqued my interest because I bake for a conservation group & some of them are trying to stay away from gluten. Since it was organic & was a brand I like I decided to buy it & bake something new. First I had to research it to find out how it is used in recipes. Do I use it in place of flour or mix it into another flour? What is it made of? Does it taste like bananas? Lots of questions.

Green banana flour is made from young, green, unripe bananas, not plantains. I bought Edwards & Son’s Let’s Do Organic, Green Banana Flour. As you can see it is grain free, gluten free, paleo friendly, vegan & kosher. The ingredient list: organic green bananas! Nothing else…
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Red Meat; To Eat or Not to Eat?
posted October 8th, 2019

When I saw the headlines that red meat is back on the menu I became very upset. Now who is giving out this lousy advice? This post is going to be short & to the point. I don’t want to give this study too much of my time. Research study results have to be looked at carefully & not taken as true just because they are in the headlines. This study is no exception. Who were the researchers, what is their background & do they have ties to any meat or dairy industries?

This is a very good article & covers the problems related to researchers & study results; this one in particular. New York Times: Scientist Who Discredited Meat Guidelines Didn’t Report Past Food Industry Ties,“The lead researcher, Bradley C. Johnston, said he was not required to report his past relationship with a powerful industry trade group.” By Tara Parker-Pope and Anahad O’Connor, Oct. 4, 2019 This lead researcher, Dr. Johnston, not only had ties with the meat industry, in 2016 he was the lead researcher in a study that tried to discredit International Health Guidelines recommending that people eat less sugar…
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All Things Pumpkin.
posted September 27th, 2019

October is here! Pumpkin time! We just finished eating more zucchini than I care to think about. Now it is time for all things pumpkin. I dare not say the word out loud as it is in my dog Mona’s vocabulary. A tablespoon of pumpkin mixed with her dry food helps her tummy when I see her eating grass. She loves it. Thinks it is a treat. I feel the same way. It is a treat that is so versatile; savory & sweet. We automatically think of pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. How about pumpkin pasta sauce or pumpkin soup?

I will begin with the nutritional data & the health benefits. Then I will share a few interesting recipes that I found. Since you fan buy pumpkin puree in a can then these recipes can be made all year around. Enjoy!

Pumpkin is a healthy choice as a vegetable. It is a major source for beta-carotene & fiber. The USDA’s new website FoodData Central shows the following nutrition data for 1 cup of mashed pumpkin:…
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Are We Getting Enough Choline in Our Diet?
posted September 24th, 2019

The lead story in all the health newsletters I received last week was about a choline deficiency in plant based diets. Being vegan I was taken aback by this claim. I started to worry that my diet wasn’t balanced as well as I thought. Choline is an important nutrient for a lot of reasons but especially for brain health. As I researched this problem I saw that yes, I had included the plant foods that contain choline in my daily diet. This shows you how important it is to have a balanced diet including all the food groups; vegetables, fruit, whole grains, protein, oils & dairy. Vegans are getting protein, calcium & other nutrients in dairy from plant based foods. This week choline will be my example of what happens when you exclude or limit a food group; in this case animal protein. It is also a good example of why you must be aware of the nutrients in the food group that you have excluded & how to replace them.

***Note: All this interest in Choline & the vegan diet started with a statement made by Dr Emma Derbyshire in late August of this year, she is a nutritionist in the UK who is a member of the Meat Advisory Panel. Since she made this statement the news outlets have had a field day claiming that Vegans were being brain damaged due to a lack of Choline in their diet…
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Should You Avoid These Herbal Supplements?
posted September 17th, 2019

Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay


I want you to read the title of this post again. Should you avoid these herbal supplements? I emphasize the word supplement because that is the crux of this question. It isn’t about the herbs themselves it is about taking them in a concentrated form; a pill, capsule or liquid, daily for a long period of time. Before we discuss the herbal supplements which may cause problems while you are in treatment, let’s take a quick, realistic look at the world of dietary supplements.

The FDA has a strict protocol for any drug that comes on the market. It is a long, costly process for drug companies. The process includes research & clinical trials. Here is a summary of that process. FDA: Development & Approval Process | Drugs
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Back to the top. A resource you need to know about.
posted September 10th, 2019

One of my favorite resources is the Environmental Working Group; Their tag line is “Know your environment. Protect your health”. I have talked about this site many times & yet I still get emails asking me what resource is best for sunscreens, makeup, cleaning products, pesticides in our food & water. EWG is a ‘one stop shop’. Let me introduce you to what they offer on this wonderful website.

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit 501(c)(3), non-partisan group, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles and is headquartered in Washington DC. It was formed to help people protect their health by understanding what is in their environment that can affect it…
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Rice, Oats & Flour, Oh My!
posted September 3rd, 2019

Rice, Oats & Flour. Why these three? Because I use them a lot & I had questions about their nutritional value. I wanted to know which ‘color’ of rice was better for me, are raw oats better than cooked & what is the deal with bleached vs unbleached flour? I want to share the answers I found in my research.

First of all, all three can be considered whole grains, depending on the process they have been through. OLDWAYS Whole Grain Council: Definition of a Whole Grain, “Following is the official definition of whole grains, approved and endorsed by the Whole Grains Council in May 2004: Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed. This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain…
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Is there a best diet for everyone? No, there isn’t.
posted August 27th, 2019

I recently came upon a study that showed how unique each of us are when it comes to reacting to individual foods. I know from my own experience that I react differently to specific foods than my husband does. He can eat popcorn all day without a problem. I really like the smell & taste of popcorn but when I eat it I become nauseous. I have digestive problems when I eat certain nuts, he doesn’t. When I eat more than 3 fruits a day I feel like I have been eating candy all day long; lightheaded, jittery. I have also noticed that certain combinations of foods make me feel ‘bad’…
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Ketogenic Diet Update
posted August 8th, 2019

The Keto diet continues to be in the health news as the ‘hottest diet trend of 2019’. This diet has grown in popularity not only among people who want to lose weight & athletes, but with people who want to live a healthy life. I will cover the new research & the history of the Ketogenic diet as well as the pro’s & con’s of being on the diet…
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Making a Healthy Veggie Burger at Home.
posted August 13th, 2019

Hello everyone. I just returned from a 2 week working vacation. To tell the truth, I am exhausted. I decided to take off this week to catch up on laundry, picking vegetables & berries from our garden & relaxing. To make up for my current rebellious behaviour, I am posting a link for a wonderful article on how to make a very healthy veggie burger…
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The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources by Joey Bruno
posted August 6th, 2019

When I returned from vacation 2 years ago, 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! The information is not just for vegan’s, it is valuable for everyone. I still feel this way, so I am sharing his article again.

Most Americans get more protein each day than is beneficial. 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…
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Healthy Oils & Fats Revisited
posted July 30th, 2019

© pixbay

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 we use to help you navigate through the misinformation out there. Rather than worrying about how much fat we eat, we want quality.

Since about the 1950’s there have been many, non-fat, fad diets introduced. It was the ‘thing’ to do; only eat non-fat dairy products & cut the fat off your meats. Yet we remain an obese nation with heart disease, diabetes & cancer on the rise. What we forget is that the body needs dietary fat to be able to function…
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What is in your burger?
posted July 23rd, 2019

Have you noticed the new, what I call, alternative burgers that fast food places are offering? I think it is about time that vegetarians, vegans & people who want to eat healthier have a choice at restaurants. I am not advocating fast food places but in reality they are sure handy when you are traveling. So what are these ‘burgers’ made of & are they healthier than an actual burger?

This past week I shared an article about the new Beyond Burger on the SDCRI Facebook page. This is a very interesting look at the industries definition of a meat substitute. Exactly What’s In the New ‘Meatier’ Beyond Burger and Is it Healthy? Written by Kimberly Holland on June 25, 2019 This burger substitute starts out red & turns brown as you cook it. It even has a marbled look & can ‘bleed’. According to the website the marbled areas are made from coconut oil & cocoa butter giving it, what I would call, a greasy burger taste. The bleeding is the result of the beet juice that colors the burger red…
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Medicinal Herbs in Your Pantry
posted July 9th, 2019

Last week I discussed the culinary & medicinal uses of spices. This week, as promised, I will discuss the culinary & medicinal uses of herbs. My medicine chest is nearly empty. We use herbs for common issues such as pain, indigestion & insomnia. I prepare these herbs in our meals or as teas.

The herbs I chose for this post can be used fresh from your garden or grocery store. You can also use them dried from the spice aisle or in the tea aisle. Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage & Thyme. They are also very easy to grow in pots if you are interested in growing them.

Before I talk about their uses, lets talk about the easiest way to get the medicinal benefits; an herbal tea. Preparing & drinking a cup of tea continues to be a ritual in countries like Japan, India & in the United Kingdom. The ritual of collecting my herbs, preparing them & making 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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Medicinal Spices in Your Pantry
posted July 2nd, 2019

Last weekend I went on an herbal walk sponsored by one of my favorite herbal shops. The walk was to identify wild medicinal plants. As I have said in past posts I have a passion for the healing properties of native plants, herbs & spices. I have a culinary & a medicinal herbal garden that I continue to add to. It is amazing how many common herbs & spices that we use in our cooking, without even a thought, have been used medicinally for centuries.

This week I will write about the medicinal spices in our pantries & next week I will write about the medicinal herbs…
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Summer Produce & Recipes
posted June 25, 2019

Our Farmer’s Market opened 2 weeks ago. Each week the produce stalls have added more organic veggies & fruits as they come into season. I look forward to going each week to see what is on offer. Last week it was strawberries. The first week in July our organic blueberry farm opens. Can’t get enough of them!

Now we need some new recipes for natures bounty. But first let’s see where your closest Farmer’s Market is.

Where are your Farmer’s Markets? Farm Bureau, San Diego County: Farmers Markets, “Buy Local San Diego Produce by visiting one of the Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFM) in San Diego County allows you to experience agriculture. Farmers’ Markets provide venues for farmers to sell directly to consumers and supports small farming operations.”
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Water! Why & How Much?
posted June 18th, 2019

June 21st, the Summer Solstice, is the official date for the beginning of summer & the longest day of the year. Warmer weather ahead; although it has already started this week with heat warnings given for most of California. It is time to talk about hydrating ourselves with water. As usual, there is a great deal of conflicting information about this on the internet. Some sites tell you to drink 64 ounces a day no matter who you are & some sites give you a formula to decide by age, height & weight. There is even an 8-8 rule making the rounds, 8-8 ounce glasses per day.

If you ask most people & even healthcare providers they will tell you that you should drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. 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; Nutrition for Good Health. 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…
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What are Ultra-Processed Foods?
posted June 6th, 2019

We talk about avoiding processed foods. Usually this means packaged foods. The latest health news is warning us that ultra-processed foods are associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart disease & colorectal cancer. Exactly what are processed & ultra-processed foods?

It isn’t easy to find a clear definition of processed foods. I believe this is because people equate the term processed foods to bad or unhealthy food. I tried to find information on the history of processed food. This conundrum led me to an interesting Blog post, A Brief History of Processed Foods, from Bar Harbor Food, Maine. In this post, the author writes that it began as early as the 1940’s. It sited that the introduction of the M&M candy started it all. M&M’s were sold exclusively to the armed forces because they ‘don’t melt in your hand’
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Cut carbs with Cauliflower?
posted June 4th, 2019

I don’t know about you but I happen to love cauliflower cooked or raw. It is a lot of fun to cook with because of all the amazing recipes you can find for it. You can chop it, grate it, rice it, boil it, steam it, saute it, roast it or eat it raw. But why would you want to?

Cauliflower is Fat free; saturated fat free; very low sodium; cholesterol free; low calorie; high in vitamin C; good source of vitamin K; a good source of folate & rich in anti-oxidants. Whats not to like about it?
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Bread Machines & Recipes
posted May 27th, 2019

Last week I wrote about my addiction to bread. I explored which were the healthiest breads & why. At the end of the post I wrote that I am interested in buying myself a bread machine & that I would report back to you about my research. Cost is one of my main concerns. I don’t need a ‘professional’ bread machine but I do need one that meets my ingredient criteria for a loaf of bread.

  • Organic ingredients
  • Sprouted whole grains 
  • No flour 
  • Total sugar 2 grams or less per slice
  • High dietary fiber
  • High protein 
  • Low sodium
  • Low or no fat
  • No dairy including eggs

It looks like I will have to compromise on the sprouted whole grains. I will have to use sprouted whole grain flour. Not a bad compromise for a healthier homemade loaf of bread. I did find recipes that use sprouted whole grains in the bread machine. When you do, you use the machine up to the point of baking & you remove the dough to bake it in the oven. Not a bad idea because the machine does all the hard work for you. Worth considering…
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For My Fellow Bread Lovers.
posted May 21st, 2019

I think it is safe to say that I am a ‘bread-aholic’. I have loved bread since I was born. It must be in my genes. I have memories of going to an Italian bakery with my little brother & my father to pick up fresh, hot loaves of bread. On the way home, much to my mothers dismay, he would pull off chunks for the three of us until we ate an entire loaf! I still have memories of the fresh yeasty smell.

White bread was never a favorite of mine. I have always preferred the heavier European type breads that are whole grain & dense. Today I buy only sprouted whole grain & flourless breads by Alvarado Street Bakery or Ezekiel. Bread fits into any balanced diet. Which breads are healthiest? Let’s take a look…
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Loss of Taste During Treatment.
posted May 5th, 2019

There are many common side affects individuals may encounter when undergoing chemotherapy &/or radiation therapy. As I have noted previously, you are unique, therefore your experiences in treatment will also be unique. You may have to deal with many of the side effects listed or you may have none or just one. I have reprinted the list & the tips that I have for these common side effects at the end of this post.

One of the most common is the loss of taste &/or a metallic taste when eating. Usually this change in taste is temporary & will get better over time. Loss of taste or the metallic/chemical taste in foods will cause a loss of appetite which in turn can cause weight loss. It is important to maintain your weight during treatment so this problem needs to be addressed…
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Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
posted May 7th, 2019

I honestly thought that ‘going gluten-free’ would be a short lived fad. It isn’t. More & more people are looking at their diet & cutting back on or cutting out gluten. I have asked people I know & some I met while shopping, why they are so down on gluten. The answers are always the same; bloating, tummy pain, fatigue, headaches, diarrhea & sometimes they complain of constipation. Just using my own interviews & observations I would say that for some reason gluten sensitivity is on the rise.

Why non-celiac gluten sensitivities are on the rise is a hornets nest of opinions. The most prevalent being the changes in environmental conditions & foods. Scientists postulate that the newer varieties of wheat may have more gluten. Some scientists are looking into the ‘gluten gene’; people of European decent may carry a sensitivity to gluten or even be predisposed to celiac disease. Another theory is that there is more gluten in our foods hence we are eating more of it. None of these ideas have been proven without a doubt through research. This is an interesting article about the genetic link to Gluten sensitivity from Pathway Genomics: The Growth of Gluten Sensitivity and the Genetics Behind It, by Melissa Darcey on November 22, 2017
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New Spring Recipes.
posted April 30th, 2019

Our vegetable garden has been giving us healthy salad greens all year long thanks to the Asian greens my husband, Don, so lovingly planted. We also augmented the salads with wild onions, dandelion leaves, mint leaves, nettle & chickweed foraged from our yard. The garden is now starting to grow our veggies. The pea plants are climbing the stakes, the potatoes are beautiful green plants, the fennel continues to give us tasty fronds & we have lots of artichokes. The tomato & cucumber plants in the greenhouse are getting bigger & this is the first year we can harvest asparagus. What bounty!

I love to try new recipes. I have learned to copy them down in a binder lest I forget where I got them from. Not good when Don asks me to make something he enjoyed & I have no clue where I found the recipe  Due to all the homegrown produce coming my way soon I thought it would be fun to find some new recipes for Spring & share them with you. Don’t forget to bookmark the websites!
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What is Intuitive Eating?
posted April 23rd, 2019

I believe that it is fair to say we are all beleaguered dieters, whether we are dieting for weight loss or simply for our health. There is a new diet fad every week & studies to prove or disprove whether it works or not. Many of these studies, even when focused on one diet, contradict each other as well. I have discussed, ad nauseaum, the Mediterranean diet. I still feel it is the best way to eat & the easiest to follow. What if we used it as a guide to better eating while using our innate intuition as to what we want to eat & when. What does intuitive eating look like?

Intuitive eating is nothing new. It has been around forever. It is how humans ate as they progressed in this world. That is until the diet craze started which led to our confusion as to what to eat, when to eat & how much to eat. Somehow I missed out on the idea of using my intuition for healthy eating
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Poor Eating Habits are Killing Us.
posted April 16th, 2019

Our eating habits are much more important than we think. They may in fact be killing us. It doesn’t matter where you live as this is a global problem. What are we doing wrong?

In this article about a global study the author states that the biggest risk factor responsible for more deaths worldwide is not what you think; smoking for example. It is in fact a poor diet. It isn’t that people are largely choosing unhealthy foods, it is the absence of healthy foods in our diets & too much salt. CNN: What we aren’t eating is killing us, global study finds, By Sandee LaMotte, CNN, Wed April 3, 2019 This is a must read!

The study compares 15 known dietary risk factors with a diet that has few healthy foods included. What I found interesting is that more than half of the deaths globally, in 2017, were caused by just 3 risk factors; eating too much salt, not enough whole grains & not enough fruit. The greatest risk in the USA was the lack of whole grains in our diets.

This article is about the same study. I included it because of the added information. Make sure you check it out. BBC: The diets cutting one in five lives short every year,By James GallagherHealth and science correspondent, BBC News, 4 April 2019
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Nutrition Nuggets: Sodas & Plates
posted March 26th, 2019

Time for some Nutrition Nuggets that I have been saving; a different look at popular diets, cancer fighting foods, a study on diet beverages & one on sodas. At the end of the post I list some of my favorite healthy beverages.

What a great way to look at all the different diets out there! I wish I had thought of it. WebMD: Popular Diets, Plate by Plate Each diet is shown in a slide show with a picture of what your ‘plate’ would look like. There is an explanation of the diet with a breakdown of the percentage of carbs, fat & protein in the diet. Interesting.

My favorites are still the Mediterranean, DASH & MIND. They are the easiest to follow, they are balanced nutritionally & the easiest to sustain over a lifetime…
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Update: The safest seafood & fish to eat right now.
posted March 19th, 2019

Our oceans are becoming warmer & our water ways are polluted. This affects the environment within the waters & the life that depends on that environment. Because of this & other factors worldwide the seafood & fish that people eat are diminishing in numbers & some are unsafe to consume. This is the reason that I feel frequent updates regarding what seafood & fish are sustainable & which are safe to eat are needed.

What is the difference between seafood & fish? Fish can be from fresh or salt water. Seafood is any fish or shellfish from the sea/salt water used for food. Shellfish all have a shell, like lobster, crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels. This is an important distinction when discussing toxicity & sustainability. It varies by where each species lives & where it is on the food chain; fresh water, salt water or farmed…
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Easy portion control for home & eating out.
posted March 12th, 2019

Finding the right eating plan is just part of a healthy diet. You have learned to divide your plate with healthy food choices using My Plate; 1/2 veggies/fruits, 1/4 protein & 1/4 grains. Next you have to look at how much you are actually eating. This isn’t just about weight loss, it is about maintaining a healthy weight. If you have been losing weight during treatment you can use these ideas to increase your food intake as well.

I find that portion control is really important for me. I can eat more than I should without realizing it. I have a lot of ways to keep myself on track…
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How to Buy & Store Bulk Foods
posted March 5th, 2019

I buy a lot of my staples in bulk. It is cheaper to do so but I am very careful which items I do buy this way. Dried beans, nuts & grains make sense because I use them often. My favorite herbal teas & my English Breakfast tea I buy in bulk for the same reason. I do not buy spices in bulk because they don’t have a long shelf life & you don’t use very much in a recipe. The same goes for flour.

How do I store these items? I use different types of glass canning jars & I recycle glass jars that are the right sizes to store them in my pantry. I keep rice & flour in the freezer. I learned this from my mother. It keeps it bug free & it lasts longer. The Natural Food store that I frequent allows me to bring in my glass containers to put my bulk items in. They weigh them empty before I shop. I also bring mesh or cotton bags for items like beans & nuts rather than use plastic bags. I can transfer them into my jars when I get home. They are inexpensive & I can wash them each week. I bring them with me for all my veggie & fruit purchases as well. By the way, my store also encourages people to bring in their empty spice jars to refill from the bulk spices…
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New Foodie Websites & Recipes.
posted February 26th, 2019

There are so many new foodie websites on line that I can’t keep up. Some are for specific diets or lifestyles & some are for every diet or lifestyle. I found these links to help us to explore some of them. I don’t know about you but I Google a recipe by diet &/or by ingredient when I need a quick recipe for dinner. It is so easy! I also have a number of favorite vegan websites that I have either bookmarked or I have subscribed to their newsletters. Let’s take a look at some new sites with healthy, innovative recipes.

The following websites come from EcoWatch: 8 Detox Salad Recipes to Kick-Start Healthy Eating, Healthline, Feb. 11, 2019. I shared this link last week. The salads are wonderful & so are the websites for each of them. Enjoy!…
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What’s new with anti-inflammatory diet plans?
posted February 19th, 2019

Part of the reason that I became a strict vegan was to reduce the chronic inflammation in my body. I have lupus & anything that contributes to the inflammation can send me into a lupus flare; joint pain & flu like symptoms. I have always read that nightshade plants; potatoes, all peppers, & eggplant are highly inflammatory. Unfortunately they are also some of my favorite foods. I have, over the years, excluded them from my diet & then added them back one at a time in various amounts, raw & cooked, to gauge my reaction to them. As with most foods when I eat them in moderation I have no reaction. If I eat dairy in any form, or amount, it is another story.

The rule in our house is that we are strictly vegan at home & can be vegetarian, which includes dairy, when we go out to eat. We rarely do this anymore because there are so many vegan choices now. Yesterday I went out for lunch with a friend to a brewery that serves 99% meat & fish. Their vegetarian dishes were salad, fries & cheese pizza. I chose a salad with fries. Of course the salad came with a wonderful blue cheese dressing & the fries had Parmesan cheese on them. I woke up this morning with puffy eyes & face, a gunky cough & joint pain. Yep, it works that fast! So today is about eating clean & drinking lots of water to help my kidneys flush out my system. Was it worth it? …
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Detox Diets, Friend or Foe?
posted February 12th, 2019

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get at the beginning of each new year is to recommend a detox diet. I don’t recommend any because there is no evidence that detox diets actually work by eliminating those ‘toxins’ from your body. You are probably shaking your head & saying that you sure felt better after using a popular detox diet. You had more energy, your skin cleared up, your bloating went away…

The reason you felt better is because you eliminated added sugars, processed foods & more from your diet, not the diet itself. Your body is set-up to do it’s own detox 24/7. Your kidney’s & your liver are filtering out those toxins. So the simple answer is…
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Nutrition Nuggets
posted February 5th, 2019

I haven’t written a Nutrition Nugget post for quite awhile. I decided that today is a good day to catch up. I subscribe to numerous nutrition newsletters from varied sources, plus I am sent articles by you, my NUTs. This last month saw articles about the “Planetary Health Diet”; Flexiterian diet; Mediterranean diet; Sugar, Alcohol & Caffeine; New Canadian Food Guide; a new cancer project by EWG & of course I have some new, quirky, recipes…
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California Nutrition Assistance Programs
posted January 29th, 2019

My grocery shopping turned into an interesting & informative day that led me to writing this post. It is meant for everyone whether you need financial assistance with your groceries or not. If you know someone who does you can pass on the information.

First of all I met a woman at my local natural foods store. She was holding up a fresh turmeric root & asked me if it was ginger. She needed to make ginger tea for her nausea & pain. We bonded over a fresh, plump ginger root. I had a wonderful time showing her how to make the tea & we talked about what foods were inflammatory & nutrition in general. She was grateful for the information. As I was checking out the cashier said that the woman had told her that the store should hire me as a consultant. After a good laugh I explained about our Nutrition website. The cashier told me that she worked for a local agency that helped people, like my new friend, who couldn’t always afford medical care or groceries. She then told me about the website …
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A new Superfood! Wait, I know this one…
posted January 21st, 2019

I get several emails a month asking me about a new superfood on the market. The enquirer usually asks me if they should take it as a supplement, if eating it would give them the same results and lastly what do I think about it. Each month you will see a new superfood being touted as a cure all for everything. Some are new to the American market & some are old favorites, like blueberries, making the rounds once more. We would like to believe that eating these superfoods or taking them concentrated in supplement form will make us healthier, reduce the risks of chronic diseases & hopefully cure the diseases that the marketing expert has listed. Most of them are very nutritious & would be a good addition to your diet but not the cure all it is marketed as. Ahh, but there is one exception to that…
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Best Diets 2019
posted January 15th, 2019

It is that time again! The USNews & World Report has published their list for the 2019 Best Diets. This is the 9th year they have published this list. I always find it fascinating to see which diets make the top three & where they rank vegetarian & vegan diets. I will start with how they come up with the rankings & then move on to the list itself.

U.S. News Best Diets: How We Rated 41 Eating Plans. “With help from a panel of diet and nutrition experts, U.S. News unveils new 2019 diet rankings.” By U.S. News Staff, Jan. 2, 2019 “A panel of nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease reviewed our profiles, added their own fact-finding and rated each diet in seven categories:
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Your Theme for the New Year & Celebrating Veganuary!
posted January 8th, 2019!!

Have you made your New Years Resolution? I gave up on that a long time ago. I felt like I was setting myself up for failure even though they were lofty goals that I set for myself. Maybe too lofty. I received my newsletter from one of my favorite food blogger’s Dawn Jackson Blatner this week. Her idea for the New Year is to set a theme rather than a resolution for the year. FORGET RESOLUTIONS, YOU NEED A WOTY, I love this idea. WOTY = word of the year. Read her article. It makes so much sense. My WOTY is Health. I used this theme for 2018 as well. It was my focus for the year, rather than focusing one goal; diet, exercise & learning to say no. I focused on my health & did things that made me feel healthy & happy.

Once you have decided on your WOTY, incorporate the following into your daily routine.

  • Smile! Laugh! Even when you don’t feel up to it.
  • Look for the Miracles in nature & in your life. They are there, you just need to look. Embrace them with gratitude.
  • Be mindful when you eat. Honor all those who brought that food to your table starting with the farmer who grew it. We then begin to appreciate each mouthful.
  • Exercise. Move your body during the day. It can be as simple as a walk or a stretching exercise. Dance around the living room to your favorite music.For more inspiration take a look at this list from the Harvard Medical School’s Newsletter:
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Mary took a break from December 19th through January 7th for the Holidays!
Feel free to browse the archives above for important information and great recipes!

Healthier Choices for Holiday Baking, Hors d’oeuvres & Drinks
posted December 18th, 2018

Memories of Christmas always brings back the smells & tastes of holiday baking; especially Christmas cookies. They are everywhere you go. Your friends & coworkers bring them to you or they are on offer on desks, in lunch rooms & even in your doctors office! Should we forgo the traditional taste of Christmas? I for one say no. Enjoy in moderation. This post is to help you to make healthier versions of old favorites or to try new ones to bring to your family, friends, coworkers & your health care team 🙂

New Years Eve is all about hors d’oeuvres & toasting the new year in. I have included a section on healthy hors d’oevres & drinks. Indulge in moderation & you won’t have to have “lose weight” as #1 on your New Years Resolutions list. Instead, make #1 Gratefulness…
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Are You Living a Healthy Lifestyle?
posted December 11th, 2018

I saw an article in the BBC Health news about the percentage of people in the UK who live unhealthy lifestyles. I then googled to see what percentage of Americans live either healthy or unhealthy lifestyles. It brought up an interesting article written in January this year that stated 55% of Americans consider themselves living a healthier lifestyle in 2017 than the year before. What was really interesting is that 90% of Americans reported that their lifestyle is either ‘somewhat healthy’ or ‘very healthy. As stated in the article ” it seems consumers’ definition of healthy living and their day-to-day reality does not always align.” Self reporting is never accurate & does not conform to the reality of our lives.

Here are the articles…
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Dietary Supplements Update
posted December 4th, 2018

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. They turn to dietary supplements to replace what they are not getting in their diets. There is a long list of reasons why people use supplements, among which are; to help boost their immunity, relieve pain & anxiety, decrease cancer risk.

Three commonly used supplements have been in the news recently which led me to once again question the use of any dietary supplement without the knowledge of your healthcare team. I will start with recent studies regarding the safety & effectiveness of vitamin D, fish oil & green tea in supplement form. Then I will discuss the following very important questions. What are dietary supplements, are they safe & are they effective?..
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(There will be no post for week of November 26th! Happy Thanksgiving!)

Thanksgiving the Vegan Way
posted November 19th, 2018

Thanksgiving at my house will be strictly vegan again this year. My daughter & grandsons will be here to celebrate with us. They are used to being vegetarian & eating vegan never phases them. There will be one exception to this, Green Bean Casserole. More on that nonsense later 🙂

Last week I looked at a more balanced approach to Thanksgiving giving you recipes for everyone. This week will strictly be for the Vegans among you or for anyone who would like to try including a few vegan recipes in their menu. The number of people going to a more plant based diet, especially vegan, is amazing! Being vegan is becoming as mainstream as being vegetarian.

Vegans & vegetarians don’t look for a protein to be the centerpiece of the meal. It is usually a side dish. For a vegan this is especially true since we don’t eat any animal products; dairy & eggs included. We do cook with the intent of having nutritionally balanced meals. Making sure we get all the nutrients needed to stay healthy including protein, fat, fiber etc.

What do vegans eat on holidays? I am going to use some of the information from last years post on a vegan Thanksgiving & add a few new ideas. I will focus on a more traditional Vegan Thanksgiving meal.

Let’s start with some ideas for those of you who don’t have the time or energy to cook a Thanksgiving meal.

This article is helpful. Bustle: 12 Vegan Thanksgiving Items At Trader Joe’s To Up Your Holiday Feast, By KAITLYN WYLDE, November 8, 2018

Here are a few companies who provide organic healthy options to make your meal healthy but easy to put together.

  • Tofurky: Take a look at their roasts. They also have a holiday package with all the trimmings.
  • Field Roast: These are a bit too ‘meaty’ tasting for me but they get very high ratings. This site also shows their holiday roasts.
  • Earthbound Farms: Frozen organic vegetables. How about simple steamed green beans for a side dish.
  • Arrowhead Mills: Stuffing made simple. You could also add fresh or frozen onions & mushrooms for example or you could serve as is.
  • Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes: Easy to make mashed potatoes. Substitute a nut milk & vegan butter or coconut butter & coconut milk for a different flavor.
  • Pacific Organic Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce: And…it comes in a box. No plastic or cans to dispose of. Pacific is one of my favorite brands.
  • Pacific Organic Vegan Mushroom Gravy: The other gravy they sell is not vegan.

For those of you who have the time & energy to cook your Thanksgiving meal here are some recipes I have shared before & quite a few new ones…
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Thanksgiving Dinner
posted November 13th, 2018

I am going to quote myself from a previous post at this time of year: “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 with 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.”

If you really think about it a homemade Thanksgiving meal is heavy on the veggies, whole grains & turkey; or Tofurkey in my case. The only portion of the meal to eat in moderation is the desert. The key word there is in moderation, not skip the desert 🙂

In one of my Thanksgiving posts I also shared this from Rodale’s Organic Living : 5 Ways Gratitude Starts at Your Table. “Gratitude is healing. And here is how you can tap into that healing power this Thanksgiving.” Unfortunately the link to the article no longer works & I couldn’t find the original. Here is what I considered the essence of the article.


Recipes & tips.

  • Olive & Tomato: 7 Mediterranean Cooking Tips to Make Your Holiday Meals Healthier and Happier
  • Taste of Home/MSN: Here’s every Thanksgiving Recipe That You Will Ever Need, Nicole Doster, 9/26/2018
  • Elena’s Pantry: This is a Paleo website. I happen to like Elena’s recipes even though I disagree with the diet as a whole. These are really tasty recipes that are very healthy. Paleo Thanksgiving Menu, November 9, 2018. “Every fall my sweet sister reminds me that she uses my Paleo Thanksgiving Menu for the holiday. She counts on me for healthy Thanksgiving dishes that are super easy to make. My sister, like me, has Celiac Disease and sticks to a 100% gluten-free diet. Did you know that my mother also has celiac disease? So does my son.

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“Total Diet” & It’s Impact on Your Health
posted November 5th, 2018

In my posts on diet I have emphasized the importance of whole foods versus their constituents. An apple as opposed to its vitamins or minerals. Research on diet in the past has focused on one component of a whole food or one whole food itself. An example of this is research on sugar & what it does to the body. Another example would be what the benefits & risks are of resveratrol instead of looking at the whole grape. The studies overlooked the synergistic effects of what you have eaten in one meal, in one day or your diet plan as a whole.

Our bodies are amazingly complex. It takes all the vitamins, minerals & nutrients it needs from the foods we give it. If we don’t give it what it needs it becomes ill. If we give it too much it either excretes the excess, or it stores it for later use. It doesn’t get sick because we have indulged in a piece of cake after dinner one evening, but it does if we indulge everyday in added sugars & processed foods with chemical additives. How the body functions is dependent on a whole food balanced diet, exercise & a healthy lifestyle over a lifetime not just one meal or one week of eating clean.

There was a time when vegetarians were told to combine certain foods to insure that they consumed the right combination of amino acids to have have a complete protein. This was found to be unnecessary because at the end of the meal or day the amino acids in the whole foods eaten made up a ‘complete protein’. What mattered was the diet as a whole, not it’s components.

Are we able to change aspects of how the body uses what we feed it on a chemical level? An example of this is the idea of the “alkalizing” diet. This idea has been around for a very long time & continues to gain in popularity. Looking at the body as a complex, precision “instrument” you can see why this is a myth. Here is a wonderful article from Dr. Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies explaining what I mean. The Myth of Alkalizing Your Body, By Robyn Chuter, October 10, 2018 Once again we see that it is a holistic look at our diet not focusing on components.

Does looking at a diet as a whole, in a holistic way, teach us to live a healthier life & to decrease the risk of cancer instead of worrying about individual vitamins, minerals & other constituents of a whole food? Wayne Dyer said “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Science & researchers are finally doing just that. This is a very good article about this shift in research from the NIH, National Cancer Institute: Studying “Total Diet” and Its Impact on Health, Including Cancer Risk, October 25, 2018, by Jill Reedy, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D. “Does what we eat and drink affect our risk of developing cancer? Many studies have asked this question, but answering it is challenging…”
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Update: Soy & Cancer
posted October 30th, 2018

I believe that the confusion as to whether soy is good or bad for cancer patients, especially hormone driven cancers, comes from the use of the word soy. When I Googled the word soy I got “about 545,000,000 results (0.60 seconds)”. That can be very confusing unless you narrow down your search. The Oxford Living Dictionary defines the word soy as:

  • Protein derived from the beans of an Asian plant, used as a replacement for animal protein in certain foods; soya.
  • The widely cultivated plant of the pea family which produces soya beans.

I place soy into 4 different categories; each category has it’s own risks & benefits.

  • Whole Soy Foods
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Soy Condiments

Whole Soy Foods: Current research shows that whole soy foods are safe for hormone driven cancers.

Organic or non-GMO whole soy foods are the healthiest & safest options for consuming soy. Whole soy foods are miso, tempeh, tofu & edamame beans. One to two servings a day are recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Take a minute to listen to this audio: Does soy increase breast cancer risk? Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute, July 18, 2018

If you are worried about eating whole soy then you should definitely read this well researched article. This excellent article tackles the history of soy’s reputation beginning in the 1940’s to current research. CNN:Where do we stand on soy? By Jacqueline Howard, CNN, March 29, 2018

Another good article from Dana Farber Cancer Institute: Soy & Breast Cancer: Is There a Connection,January 22, 2018

A serving of whole soy foods & the amount of protein in each serving is as follows:

  • 3 ounces or 1/2 cup of tofu = 6 – 10 grams of protein depending on it’s firmness.
  • 1/2 cup in-shell edamame beans = 9.2 grams of protein
  • 3 ounces tempeh = 16 grams of protein
  • 1 tablespoon of Miso paste = 2.2 grams of protein
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk = 7.5 grams of protein
  • 1/3 cup or 1 ounce of roasted soy nuts = 10 grams of protein

Soy Protein Isolate & Soy Lecithin: Not enough research on the overall safety of these two soy by-products…
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The Flexitarian Diet
posted October 23rd, 2018

Flexitarian is a relatively new name for people who want to reduce their meat intake, especially red meat. The term started in the 1990’s. It was introduced into the Oxford Dictionary in 2014: ” A person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish.” In 2018 this diet was ranked #3 in Best Diets Overall on the Best Diet list put out by the US News panel of experts. Why am I bringing it up now? Because not only is it a healthier way to eat but it has been shown as one of the best diets for the planet in a new study from the University of Oxford.

Putting aside the fact that it is good for the planet, I want to look at the Flexitarian Diet more closely to show you why it is good for you as an individual. If you are interested in the study here is a very good article for you. BBC: ‘Flexitarian’ diets key to feeding people in a warming world, By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, 11 October 2018

I laughed when I read this question in an article; are flexitarians just lazy vegetarians? The answer is no. They are simply people who are moving toward a more plant based diet & reducing their meat intake. Their goal is to have a healthier diet for them which includes some animal products & fish, including seafood. According to the US News: What is the Flexitarian Diet? Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner coined the term in a book she wrote in 2009; “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life” You may recognize her name. I have sent you to her website many times for recipes & sound nutrition advice. She says that you don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to have the same health benefits. You can have that hamburger or steak once in awhile while still eating a more plant based diet most of the time. This idea makes it much easier to eat a healthier diet while still being able to add that red meat occasionally. The Flexitarian diet received 2nd place in the Easiest Diets to Follow category. The Mediterranean received #1 🙂

In Healthline’s article: The Flexitarian Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide, the author has stated that“The Flexitarian Diet has no clear-cut rules or recommended numbers of calories and macronutrients. In fact, it’s more a lifestyle than a diet. It’s based on the following principles:

  • Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
  • Focus on protein from plants instead of animals.
  • Be flexible and incorporate meat and animal products from time to time.
  • Eat the least processed, most natural form of foods.
  • Limit added sugar and sweets.

Due to its flexible nature and focus on what to include rather than restrict, the Flexitarian Diet is a popular choice for people looking to eat healthier.”

Make sure you read the entire article. It talks about the health risks as well as the benefits. Since there are no hard & fast rules for this way of eating, some people may choose to eat more meat than others. This would decrease the overall benefits. Moderation is the key…
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Full Spectrum CBD Oil
posted October 16th, 2018

During the midterm elections, in November, 4 states will be voting on legalizing marijuana. They will be joining the 46 states that have already legalized medicinal marijuana, 8 of them have also legalized the use of recreational marijuana. In California both medical & recreational marijuana are legal.

Marijuana and hemp are varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has industrial & medicinal uses. The cannabis known as Marijuana has recreational & medicinal uses. Did you know that there is a legal difference between CBD oil from the marijuana plant & CBD oil from the hemp plant? CBD oil derived from hemp has only 0.3% THC in it. That means that it has no psychoactive effect. Because of this CBD oil from Hemp can be sold & purchased legally in all 50 states.

Full Spectrum CBD oil is being recommended more than CBD isolate. Let’s look at the differences between the two & explore the Full Spectrum CBD oil more thoroughly.

This is a very good article from Marijuana Break: What is Full Spectrum CBD Oil? [Complete Guide], Jeff Yauck / Updated on September 12, 2018 There are over 100 compounds that have been isolated in cannabis sativa. Full spectrum CBD oil from hemp includes most of these compounds. A study in 2015 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah School is cited in the article. This study showed that full spectrum CBD oil had better & longer lasting anti-inflammatory & anti-pain properties than CBD alone. This article is one of the best that I have found on this subject & I recommend it highly.

I subscribe to Today’s Practitioner’s newsletter. It always has interesting, scientifically based, information about integrative care. These short videos are very informative regarding full spectrum CBD oil; it’s uses, side effects, safety & more. Today’s Practitioner: “Full-spectrum hemp is gaining a remarkable reputation among clinicians as a fundamental and safe botanical for a variety of clinical purposes. In these short videos, Derrick DeSilva, MD and Rob Lutz, founder of Today’s Practitioner, reviews the safety, side effects and clinical uses of full-spectrum hemp (cannabidiol).”

  • Clinical Fundamentals of Full-Spectrum Hemp with Dr. Derrick DeSilva, Part 1 & 2, September 18, 2018, by Kim Stewart
  • Dr. Derrick DeSilva: Endocannabinoid System Clinical Uses, Dosage of Full-Spectrum Hemp Part 3 & 4, October 3, 2018 by Kim Stewart

EcoWatch: 8 Science-Based Benefits of CBD Oil, By Stephanie Garr, October 3rd, 2018 This is a very thorough article about CBD oil isolate & CBD oil full spectrum.

If you have been following the laws surrounding medical & recreational uses of Cannabis Sativa then you are aware that it remains illegal from the federal standpoint. Right now the DEA, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, is not enforcing the federal laws concerning Cannabis Sativa.

Cannabis Sativa in both forms, as hemp & marijuana, remain on the DEA’s Schedule 1 list…
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Our Eating Habits in the News.
posted October 9th, 2018

What are our eating habits doing to our health, our children’s health & the planets health. I have collected some interesting articles & information regarding these questions. In other blog posts I have written that interest in healthy ingredients in our food has increased in the past few years. I have also mentioned the fast food industry & their efforts in offering healthier options on their menus. Have these efforts paid off?

I found these first two articles especially interesting. The first one is from Bloomberg: American Eating Habits Are Changing Faster than Fast Food Can Keep Up, By Leslie Patton, September 11, 2018 This article points out that 82% of meals are prepared at home in the USA. The reasons for this may stem from being able to watch movies on Hulu or Netflix, buying groceries on line & have them delivered, debt &/or wanting healthier food. Going out to eat at a restaurant or even a fast food place has become more expensive. According to this article prices at fast food places have increased, driving more people to eat out less often. Good read.

Even though this one seems to contradict the first one, it doesn’t. Fast food places are offering healthier choices but children & their parents are not ordering them. EcoWatch: More U.S. Children Eating Fast Food, Despite Health Concerns, By Olivia Rosane, Sep. 28, 2018 The University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity study published a study this month from online survey’s in 2010, 2013 & 2016. In each survey parents were asked if they had bought food for their children at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s or Subway in the past week. The results showed that those who answered yes, rose from 79% to 91% in 2016. The most intriguing part of the study was that parents who bought a healthier option for their children’s drink didn’t change from 59%. The parents who bought a healthier side dish for their children went down from 67% to 50% in 2016.

Most parents stop at fast food restaurants because it is easy, fast, cheap & as the study indicated, it was their child’s choice. The article says that fast food places & restaurants don’t promote these healthier choices. Read the article to see what the authors of the study have to say. My personal opinion is that when most people take their children or grandchildren to a fast food place or to a restaurant it is either for convenience or as a special treat. You allow them to order what they want.

This article reports on a study that breaks down who is buying this fast food by income, age group & ethnicity. EcoWatch: More Than 80 Million U.S. Adults Consume Fast Food on Any Given Day, By Olivia Rosane, Oct. 04, 2018 I liked the comments by health officials not involved in the study. One commented that we will stay out of the water when there is a shark sighting but we don’t stay away from fast food when we are told how unhealthy it can be I was also surprised to see that the consumption of fast food decreased with age but increased with higher incomes. Very interesting article.

“It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.”
― Margaret Mead So true!

What do our food choices have to do with saving the planet?…
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2018 Cold & Flu Season Is Here!
posted October 1st, 2018

The downside of autumn thru Winter is the cold & flu season. I write about this every year to remind you that there are natural ways to cope with the symptoms.

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 to 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 ingredients that will interact with medications & may have side effects. I will talk about the remedies that are natural, safe & easy to find. I will also note if there are any drug interactions that you should be made aware of.

***Just a note to remind you to speak with your health care team about getting a flu shot.

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.

These are the remedies that I use in my house to ward off those colds & flu starting in October this year.

  • 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. ***If you are interested in making your own Elderberry Syrup, as I do, email me & I will share the recipe I use.
  • Sipping a cup of Elderberry tea twice a day is another good preventative remedy…

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Latin American Diet/La Dieta Latinoamericana
posted September 25th, 2018

This week we will look at the Latin American diet. My favorite cuisine is Latin American, primarily Mexican. The spices & flavors are so present in the dishes & the aroma’s from the kitchen. To understand the cultural diversity of Latin American food I am turning to one of my favorite websites, Oldways. They have a wealth of information about this cuisine this month.

Latin Americans include those from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central & South America. That covers a lot of territory & very different uses of the native foods & spices. Oldways has brought together all the information in the form of a Latin American food pyramid.

“This Latin American Diet Pyramid illustrates how to eat the healthy and traditional Latin American Diet. It is an educational guide that promotes a diet of richly flavorful, affordable, and easy-to-prepare foods, and reflects the great range of culinary traditions, foods, and flavors of this vast area.”

On this site, Oldways: The Latin American Diet, you will find more information. There are several sections to explore including the ‘tastes & flavors’ of the foods. This next chart shows some foods that you will recognize & some that you may not. It is intended to expand the information on the pyramid.

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Healthy Protein/Energy Bars
posted September 18th, 2018

I was looking for a protein bar, or what some people call an energy bar, to grab at the market on a busy day. I was confronted with so many choices I just walked away. I didn’t have the time to check all the nutritional facts & ingredients on each of the products that claimed to be healthy. I admit that I am not a shopper. I bring a list & stick to it; lots of choices just make it more stressful for me. 🙂 I decided that I needed to research which of those hundreds of bars are actually healthy. Next time I will know which one to grab!

On my first day of research I was looking for some sort of guidance on nutritional values. I knew that I wanted to buy bars with only whole food ingredients & at least GMO free if not organic. I found this article on Livestrong with a slideshow: The 7 Best Protein Bars and 3 to Avoid!, BY CAROLINE KAUFMAN, MS, RDN JULY 11, 2018 The very first slide tells you what to look for in an energy bar. This was the best guideline I found to follow.

  • Calories: 150-250
  • Protein: 7+ grams Between 6-12 grams.
  • Fiber: 3+ grams The higher the better.
  • Sugar: less that 13 grams The lower the better.
  • Ingredients: Whole foods You don’t want artificial sweeteners, soy isolate, carrageenan or anything you can’t pronounce. The list should be short with only whole foods.

I continued to research other sites to see what they recommended & why. I think what surprised me the most was that all the old stand-by’s were not on their lists. The newer brands were the ones going for whole foods as the main ingredients. Here are the top picks from my research using the guidelines above when looking at these bars.

  1. Skout Trail Bars: Non GMO • Vegan • Kosher • Gluten Free • Grain Free • Dairy Free • Soy Free These bars are generally 260 calories with impressive organic ingredients.
  2. RXBar These hover around 200 calories. Simple, whole food ingredients listed on the front of the package.
  3. Evo Hemp Bar Great company, pure organic ingredients. I like this product. ***My husband just bought a bar called Cookie Dough. This one bar does have erythritol in it! It is blended in with the monkfruit extract. Look at the ingredient list. Not all the bars contain this.
  4. Health Warrior Protein Bar Lower calories, good ingredients….

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Being Vegan; Will it Make You Healthier?
posted September 10th, 2018

Ordinary Vegan

Before I begin, I want to reassure you that my blog will continue to look at all healthy diets, lifestyles & the published scientific based research surrounding them. News items concerning cancer & nutrition will continue to be an important part of my posts.

For those of you who want to try a vegan diet, to support those of you who are already vegans & to keep us all up to date on the scientific research supporting the vegan way of eating, I am introducing a new section on this website; Being Vegan. Take a look at the menu across the top of the page. Run your mouse over the tab Being Vegan & you will get a drop down menu with resource choices.

I am not alone, based on current research, in thinking it is the healthiest way to eat. According to the demographics, in the USA, being a vegan is no longer a Hippy trend. It has become a mainstream lifestyle that is now big business. Vegan restaurants have opened across the country & vegan products have become easier to find in your local grocery stores.

This article in Forbes is very interesting as it addresses the rise in interest in being vegan from a business standpoint. Here’s Why You Should Turn Your Business Vegan In 2018 By Katrina Fox Contributor “I write about vegan and plant-based business.” The author notes that plant-based food sales increased in the U.S. by 8.5% in the last year & that plant-based dairy alternatives are probably going to rise to 40% in the next 3 years. This is a good article to read.

If your interested in demographics regarding vegans worldwide & in the USA by state, by city, by religion & by political party take look at my resources at the end of this post. The graphs are fascinating & in many cases unexpected!

Is being vegan the best choice for your overall health; for longevity? The simple answer from recent research is yes, it is the healthiest diet choice & no, you won’t live longer than omnivores. Now for the longer answers.

I want to highlight 2 very good articles from the BBC 2 series, Trust Me, I’m a Doctor & one from Medical News Today. An important distinction drawn from these articles is the difference between a ‘healthy life’ & a ‘long life’. Which are you going for? …
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Plant-Based Diet & Your Budget
posted September 4th, 2018

It seems that every time I go grocery shopping my 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. It may be the extra ingredients I purchase for that special recipe or a new food item that we decide we need to try. Neither of us are impulse buyers so it isn’t that. Let’s see what we can do to keep that food bill at least stable if not less.

Two years ago I posted a wonderful article by my friend Chef Jessica Leibovich: Mastering Healthy Eating on a Budget. Her advice still applies.

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: I recommend all breakfasts (breakfast out is almost never healthy), 5 lunches, and 5 dinners all be made from home. That gives you 4 meals a week to eat out. This is the most I would suggest. To me, this is a lot! Does this sound challenging to you? If so, you are probably spending too much on food and not eating as healthy as you could. We limit our eating out to an early dinner when the prices are lower & to a maximum of once a week.
  2. Shop from the circular: Before you even head into the grocery store, you should read the circular or weekly ad and find out which items on sale you would like to buy. You can view it online or grab one in the store before you start to shop. I will often plan my meals from the circular. This alone will save you a ton of money! A lot of the circulars are online these days. You can check them & print out the coupons before you leave the house!
  3. Go to more than one store to find the best price: Often different stores have different items on sale. Finding what stores or farmers market vendors have the best prices for your favorite item is the most cost efficient way to shop. Limiting this to two stores will minimize time constraints as running all over town will defeat the purpose. In my community of Carlsbad, I love Sprouts for meat and produce, Costco for a few staples, and Farmer’s markets for additional veggies. Personally I hate going to more than one place to shop for anything. I am not a shopper. I have a rule that I will stop twice & that is it  Our routine is to go to our natural food store, Wild Rivers, once a week with a trip to Safeway once every two weeks. Farmers market every Saturday during the season & our local organic farm stand every Saturday during the off season. That one I don’t mind. Lots of healthy fresh produce.
  4. Keep a rotation of favorites and plan your meals: Honey Chicken Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Flank Steak Wednesdays, Dad’s Famous Chicken Sundays, etc. They don’t always have to be on the same day if something is not looking fresh at the store or another item is on sale but having a solid 5-7 meals that everyone loves on a weekly rotation will ensure you have many of the pantry items available which saves time and money. It also is less to think about when answering the big question “What’s for dinner?”. I used to keep a list of meals that we liked so I could refer to it when ‘stuck’ for what to prepare. Jessica’s idea is a good one. I will have to start doing that again.
  5. Shop seasonally: Asparagus is $1.97 a pound in the Spring but $4.99 in the Fall. Often shopping seasonally will naturally happen if you shop from the circular but by shopping in the season you are using nature’s bounty to your advantage. This is an important idea. Not only is ‘in season’ produce cheaper but they are usually local so they are fresher & ready to eat. Right now we are pigging out on eggplant from our local organic farmer once a week. We do the same thing when asparagus is in season  
  6. Be Mindful of your portions: When food goes into the trash that is just like throwing money away. Try shopping more often like two or three times a week, each trip just getting what you need for the next few days. If you have a stocked pantry, you will mostly be filling up on fresh items such as produce, meats, dairy, and nuts. Using smaller plates for meals, especially for dinner will not only help you keep your weight optimal, it will reduce waste of food. Take smaller portions and if you want seconds, go for it, but if not, use the leftovers as the lunch for the next day. This will save you money as well. We should all be mindful of our portions, it is a healthier way to eat. Since it is just the two of us I place all the dishes on the sideboard, buffet style. If we want seconds we have to get up to get it. Makes me more mindful of the amount of food I am consuming. Easier when cleaning up also; added benefit…

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New Low-Carb Diet Study & Is Coconut Oil Poison?
posted August 27th, 2018

There are two interesting subjects in the health news right now. A new study on low & high carb diets & the health risks of coconut oil. I honestly thought we had heard the last word on both of these. Wishful thinking on my part  

A 25 year study centered around the popularity of low-carb & high-carb diets was published in The Lancet 2 weeks ago. It raises the same old questions regarding eliminating or restricting carbs along with replacing them with a higher intake of animal based proteins & fats versus a balanced plant-based diet.

Although this study is ‘observational’, it is important. The study followed 15,000 people, ages 45-64, from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds across the USA for 25 years. The information was gathered from food diaries & questionnaires. This is why it is called an ‘observational’ study. As I have said before, this type of study has it’s faults, but it can’t be discounted.

These are my take-away’s from reading the study.

  • Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit and sugar but the main source of them is starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals.
  • Higher risk of death was found in people who ate less than 40% of their calories from carbohydrates or ate more than 70%.
  • A low-carb diet can shorten life expectancy by 4 years.
  • The sweet spot, where carbs made up 50-55% of a person’s diet, offered the lowest risk of death.
  • A moderate intake of carbs along with plant-based proteins & fats is the healthiest.
  • A moderate intake of carbs along with red meat, fowl, pork & animal fats is not as healthy.
  • Short term use of a high or low carbohydrate diet does show they are beneficial for weight-loss.
  • Long term use of a high or low carbohydrate diet is detrimental to ones health & has a higher mortality rate than a moderate carbohydrate diet.
    •A typical fad diet that restricts carbohydrates usually results in a lower intake of vegetables, fruits, & grains and leans heavily toward eating more animal proteins and fats, which have been linked to chronic inflammation and ageing.

Resources on this study:

  • The actual study published by The Lancet, Public Health: Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis, Published: August 16, 2018
  • CNN: Low and high carb diets increase risk of early death, study finds, By Meera Senthilingam, August 17, 2018
  • BBC: Low-carb diets could shorten life, study suggests, By Alex TherrienHealth, 17 August 2018..

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Add More Vegetables to Your Diet
posted August 21st, 2018

Last week I discussed the abundance of vegetables & fruits at this time of the year. You certainly don’t have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to enjoy the bounty available. How do you add more vegetables & fruits to your diet? Here are some ideas along with recipes to help you begin a friendship with your produce

During cancer therapy you are sometimes asked to avoid raw foods; fruits, vegetables & sushi for example. You may even have been told to go on a neutropenic diet. This is a preventative method to protect you from food-borne infections. At the end of this post is information about current research regarding these recommendations. Are they necessary?

I think that the most obvious solution is to add a vegetable or fruit side dish to your lunch or your main meal. You can add a simple tossed green salad or a more prepared salad. Some can be made ahead in a larger quantity. My favorite salads are the ones I can build on by adding whatever I have on hand. Potato salads & Waldorf salads are a good example & last in the fridge for about 5 days.

  • This is a healthier version of the old fashioned potato salad we grew up with. All Recipes: Healthier Old Fashioned Potato Salad
  • Cookie & Kate: Herbed Potato Salad No mayo in this one. She makes a very healthy sauce to add to it instead. I am definitely going to make this one.
  • greenblender: 9 Healthy Potato Salad Recipes That Are Actually Delicious There is a recipe for everyone on this list. Even an avocado potato salad that sounds delicious.
  • Sugar-free Mom: HEALTHIER MAYO FREE WALDORF SALAD: VEGETARIAN & GLUTEN FREE Nice recipe using walnuts & pecans plus Greek Yogurt.
  • NTK: SKINNY CHICKEN WALDORF SALAD, October 30, 2012 by Christal This recipe adds grapes along with the more traditional apples. It also uses Greek Yogurt + Lite Mayo.
  • Health: Updated Waldorf Salad. I use cranberries rather than raisins in my Waldorf salad as they do in this recipe. They also add grapes & apples. Good way to get in your fruit for the day.

I noticed that under healthy Waldorf salads you find most of the recipes add pecans, cranberries, grapes & even pears. Vegetable wise you see celery in some; I use celery in mine. Be Creative.

Other side dishes can be simple, like corn on the cob. I wash & dry the husked corn & rub it with olive oil & add a few spices. Using my toaster oven, I lay them in a row & put the oven on “toast” for about 20 minutes or until they are hot & are beginning to brown. You can also use the broiler in your oven. The best way, I think, is to grill them on the Barbecue. Using any of the above methods, the corn is more flavorful & chewier than when you steam or boil it plus it retains more of its nutritional value…
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An Abundance of Tomatoes & Okra
posted August 14th, 2018

This is my favorite time of the year for produce. Such an abundance of choices. Our fig tree is 3 years old & this is the first year that the figs ripened before the rainy season started. Our back fence is 3/4 blackberry bushes among the morning glories & English ivy. The blackberries have gone crazy this year. We stand out there eating handfuls. None have made it into the house. Our little blueberry bushes have had a larger crop this year, the strawberries not so much. Huckleberries & Salal berries are very tiny & hard to pick but so yummy when you take the time. And the vegetables; fresh salads every night.

My friend & colleague Dana, brought me bags of fresh vegetables from her garden in North-central California. Vegetables that we can’t grow here due to the weather. I felt like I was in veggie heaven! My challenge was to use the abundance of tomatoes & okra that she sent.

One of the bags contained about 10 cups of beautifully colored cherry tomatoes: red, purple orange & yellow. They are so sweet it is like eating a juicy candy. What to do with all these little gems? I decided to roast 2/3 of them. I checked all my recipes & came up with my own. The result was amazing. Still a little bit juicy, but oh so much sweeter. It was all we could do to not eat the entire batch right then & there. Here is the recipe.

My Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • 6 cups of Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half.
  • 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • Bragg’s, 24 Herbs/Spices, Sprinkles to taste.
  • Lemon Pepper & Salt to taste.

Toss the cherry tomatoes in olive oil, herbs/spices, lemon pepper & salt. Place on a baking sheet. I use parchment paper instead of oiling the pan. Roast for 1 hour 10 minutes. They will be soft with darkened edges. Not the same as dried tomatoes, juicier.

These can be added to a fresh salad, a mixture of cucumbers & scallions or add to a stir-fry or stew. Be creative!

For other ideas on how to use all those cherry tomatoes take a look at these links:

  • Rachael Ray Every Day: 21 Cherry Tomato Recipes, GRACE RASMUS, JUN 21, 2018. “Cherry tomatoes are small but mighty! They go way beyond a simple salad toss-in — you can roast ’em, burst ’em, dress ’em up or eat ’em raw. Check out some of our favorite ways to cook with cherry tomatoes below.” Her Wild Rice and Black-Eyed Pea Salad looks so good. I really love salads of all types. Take a look at the other 20 recipes.
  • Epicurious: 16 Ways to Cook With Cherry Tomatoes, ANYA HOFFMAN, 06.21.16 This has a quirky list of ways to use your cherry tomatoes. For example: “BAKE INTO CRAZY SAVORY COOKIES, Tomatoes and tart cherries are cooked down into an oniony jam, and then spooned into flaky, Parmesan dough to make these singular thumbprint “cookies.” & my favorite idea; “TAKE THEM CAMPING, Make foil packs of polenta topped with cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, and eggs for the best campfire breakfast you’ve ever had.” Of course I would use tempeh bacon & tofu instead of eggs
  • Saveur: CHERRY AND GRAPE TOMATO RECIPES, JULY 7, 2014 “Cherry and grape tomatoes are a farmers’ market treasure.” Hmmm…CHERRY TOMATO AND CHERRY COBBLER or GRILLED OCTOPUS WITH CHICKPEAS, TOMATOES AND ANCHOVY VINAIGRETTE Not too sure about these two. Take a look at the other ideas…

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Locavores & Apeel
posted August 7th, 2018

Locavores are changing the way Americans eat. A locavore is someone who supports locally sourced foods. They carry this ethic with them when visiting or traveling. If they are in New York, Los Angeles or even London or Paris, they want to try the local foods. In some grocery stores you will see signs saying “Grown Locally”. This usually means that it was grown somewhere that took only one day to transport; 150 miles being the distance that I have been told is considered local.

Eating locally grown foods also means eating seasonal foods. I just came from our Farmers Market & the eggplant grown by our local, 10 miles away, organic farmer is out. I will pig out on eggplant until it’s season is over Makes you appreciate seasonal fruits & vegetables more.

Locavores: The word “locavore” was coined by Local Foods Wheel co-creator Jessica Prentice. In 2005, she and two other San Francisco Bay Area women, Dede Sampson and Sage Van Wing, had hatched a plan to challenge Bay Area residents to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco for the entire month of August. They came up with a catchy name, launched a website, and the movement grew like a zucchini in the summer (Locavore was even the 2007 Word of the Year for the Oxford American Dictionary!).

The Farm Bureau San Diego County has a Seasonal Harvest Calendar on their website. Look at the menu on the left side. It has a section called Buy Local. This section lists the reasons to buy local & in season:

  • Local produce is fresher. This is an important reason for me. Instead of picking under ripe produce or growing only produce that transports well long distances, you get ripe, freshly picked produce.
  • Local food supports local farmers. We have one local organic farmer. He & his wife are young with 2 adorable children. They recently opened a farm stand so we can buy their fresh produce more often than just at the Farmers Market. We need to support our local businesses.
  • Buying local protects the environment. No brainer here. “Food, on average, travels 1500-2500 miles from farm to table.” Buying local = less pollution.
  • Buying local preserves diversity. Buying locally encourages small farmers to grow heirloom, culinary, ethnic & specialty produce.

Farm Flavor has a seasonal chart for all of California. The Menu at the top has a drop down menu that lists all the states for their agricultural information. This site also has a tab for recipes

This is by far my favorite article about eating locally & in season. It describes the locavores strongly held ideology & how their core beliefs are the same everywhere they studied locavores. “In other words, locavores are their own tribe.” Eco-Watch: Meet the Foodies Who Are Changing the Way Americans Eat, By Joshua T. Beck and Brandon Reich, from The Conversation, Jul. 11, 2018 I am very excited about this data that they shared: “Even more impressive, from 2007 to 2014 there was a 430 percent increase in ‘farm to school’ programs that aim to educate kids about food nutrition and serve locally sourced food in kids’ meals.” Take time to read this article…
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What Are Functional & Anti-Angiogenic Foods?
posted August 1st, 2018

I have been reading about functional foods for a very long time. What are they & are they worth adding them to your diet? Or are they already a mainstay in what you eat each day. Another moniker for a food with health benefits for cancer patients is ‘anti-angiogenic foods’. What is that exactly? Read on to find out.

This abstract was written in 2002. The information it contains is very important when discussing functional foods. Functional foods: benefits, concerns and challenges-a position paper from the american council on science and health. Here are the key points I took away from the abstract:

•Functional foods are whole, fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that provide health benefits beyond what their vitamins & minerals provide.
•They need to be eaten regularly & in the amounts that are considered to provide these health benefits.
•The health claims surrounding functional foods should be based on scientific evidence.
•Functional foods are the most intensively investigated health food claim due to the promotion of foods that are labeled as functional foods with no scientific evidence.
•Just because some functional foods do provide health benefits they can’t make up for poor eating habits.

The question is, what exactly are these functional foods & should we make sure to include them in our diets. As explained in this next article, the food items labeled ‘functional foods’ that are fortified, enriched or enhanced are expensive & tend to be packaged & processed foods. Functional foods that are whole plant foods are what we need to increase in our diet, not enriched, enhanced or fortified foods.

Take a look at the examples in this article. OldWays: Food as Medicine: Understanding Functional Foods: “Functional foods tend to have a scientific allure about them and are heavily featured in marketing campaigns. However, the reality is that many ordinary ingredients (especially whole plant foods) are actually functional foods because they are linked with tangible health benefits, like healthier cholesterol, or lower rates of disease.

“All foods are functional to some extent because all foods provide taste, aroma and nutritive value,” suggests Dr. Clare Hasler, former founding director of the Functional Foods for Health program. However, generally speaking, functional foods are foods that have health benefits beyond the nutrients they contain.”

Some examples of whole foods that they give are
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Asian Diet
posted July 24th, 2018

I just received my Oldways Newsletter & the topic this week was an updated Asian Diet Pyramid along with new recipes. Cooking with typical Asian ingredients is a lot of fun. The dishes tend to be simple & the layers of spices give it that “heat” & full flavor we associate with this cuisine. Like the Mediterranean Diet it is extremely healthy! No problem finding Asian vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, seafood & fish recipes.

I am currently in love with Thai food. Our local Thai Restaurant features vegan & vegetarian dishes on the menu & will make most of their dishes vegan if asked. All their curries are made with coconut milk rather than cream. Their Thai Iced Tea & Iced Coffee can also be made with coconut milk if asked. You can see why this is a popular place to eat in my house 🙂  Let’s explore what an Asian Diet plan looks like.

Oldways: Asian Diet: “Asian diets are as varied as the Asian continent is large. Although each Asian country and region has its distinct flavors and cooking styles, there are many unifying characteristics, such as high consumption of plant foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, herbs and spices.” The Asian Diet Pyramid is plant based with an emphasis on fish, shellfish & seafood; recommended twice a week. A very healthy diet. Scroll down on this site for more information & recipes.

Oldways:Introducing the Updated Asian Diet Pyramid “Many ingredients recognized as “superfoods” today, like green tea, seaweed, kimchi, and mushrooms draw their roots in traditional Asian diets. With a geographical base including countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, the traditional Asian Diet covers a lot of territory, in both a geographical and a culinary sense.”

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A Bad Hostess & New Mediterranean Recipes
posted , 2018

We have had quite a few visitors this year. I love seeing family & friends. So many beautiful places to show them here on the Redwood coast. Feeding them is another story.  Half of them were vegetarians, so that was easy. The other half were not. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem except that this half didn’t have any experience with the vegan/vegetarian cuisine.

I chose recipes that I thought would be sort of neutral; homemade granola, hummus, quinoa tabbouleh, real egg salad, a spinach dip & pesto on pasta. The problem was that I used vegan ingredients & no added sugar. The granola was not sweet enough, the real egg salad didn’t have real mayonnaise in it (I used Pesto Veganaise), the spinach dip was made with silken tofu & the pesto was vegan with nutritional yeast, walnuts & lambs quarters rather than all basil with Parmesan & pinion nuts. They were all good sports & tried everything; it just didn’t taste quite right. The Wayfare Butter made from butter beans did pass the teenage test; so the English muffins were a hit. Fortunately they all loved Mexican food & Pizza at our local restaurants. That saved the day!

Next time I will use more traditional ingredients & ask ahead of the visits what their likes & dislikes are. It may sound like a no brainer for most of you, but when 80% of your family & friends are vegetarians you just don’t think that there are people out there who not only eat meat but have no idea what vegetarians do eat.  Today’s post is all about wonderful new Mediterranean websites with healthy recipes that include meat, fish & seafood in them.

My new favorite website is OliveTomato: “Join Elena Paravantes, an award winning Greek-American Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian and Writer specializing in the Mediterranean Diet. She provides a lifetime of experience -being raised on the Mediterranean Diet-, tried and tested family recipes, guidance on how to follow the Diet and the latest research. I really like this site. The recipes are based on Greek Mediterranean dishes. She has recipes with pork, beef, chicken, fish & seafood. You can also browse by diet types including gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian & vegan. Explore them all!

This Blog at The Mediterranean Dish is written by Suzy; “I am a true daughter of the Mediterranean, born and raised literally blocks away from the Mediterranean Sea in Port Said, Egypt. Port Said stretches 19 miles across the Mediterranean Sea; just short hours away from places like Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. It is also a strategic port, Egypt’s main gateway to the Red Sea and the Middle East. I consider myself blessed having grown up in a vibrant part of the world that has allowed me to develop culinary passions far beyond my hometown’s cuisine.” Lots of wonderful recipes & she also has a free, printable download for a Mediterranean Diet Shopping List. Love this!

Cooktoria is another Mediterranean Blog that I like. “HELLO FRIEND! My name is Tania. I cook quick and healthy recipes with Mediterranean twist. Let’s get to know each other, shall we?” I am going to try out her Ultimate Zucchini Salad this week. Looks so light & tasty. Good way to use all those zucchini!
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The Blue Zones Project. It is all about balance.
posted July 10th, 2018

It is all about balance. The Blue Zones Project was first reported by Dan Beuttner & his team in the National Geographic Magazine in 2005. This was an 8 year project looking at areas on the planet where people were the healthiest & living the longest; 100 years or longer. The key areas included Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece and Loma Linda, California. Born from this project was a lifestyle & diet based on the project teams findings. Since that time, Dan Buettner, has written several books about the Blue Zones Diet, and has become a very popular speaker.

The reason I became interested in this diet is because of a video on BBC. This video talks about Naples, Florida, promoting the Blue Zones Diet & lifestyle for their community. They have seen some spectacular results in the overall health of their population. BBC: Simple steps that could help you live to 100. “Naples in Florida is trying to help more of its residents live to 100 by adopting ways of life from parts of the world where people live the longest.” A film by Nick Holland for BBC World Hacks.

This is an amazing project. Take a look at the map to see which cities are involved. Healthways is a Blue Zones partner who is developing Blue Zones communities in the United States. Blue Zones Project by Healthways Promoting a healthier lifestyle & diet by a city is fantastic. Can you imagine living somewhere where the entire town & businesses are concerned about your welfare? I love the idea.

Here is a good overview of what the Blue Zones Diet looks like. DietSpotlight: Blue Zone Diet-Nine Things You Need to Know. By Summer Banks on May 14, 2018 The diet is based on the foods that the longest living people eat in common. It is a plant based diet Check out the entire article but especially the diet summary. “Bottom Line: The rules of this diet are simple to remember: eat mostly plants, beans, nuts, whole grains, whole foods and water and avoid meat, fish, sugar and dairy.” Gee, sound familiar?

NPR: Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zone. April 11, 2015, By ELIZA BARCLAY “Why should we pay attention to what the people in the relatively isolated Blue Zone communities eat? Because, as Buettner writes, their more traditional diets harken back to an era before we Americans were inundated with greasy fast food and sugar. And to qualify as a Blue Zone, these communities also have to be largely free of afflictions like heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes. So clearly they’re doing something right.” Very good article. The author talks about the foods eaten by each region which are in the Blue Zones. I love it that Loma Linda, California is a Blue Zone…
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Seafood & Fish; Mercury & Sustainability.
posted July 3rd, 2018

My post about the Pegan diet brought up questions about which seafood & fish are safe to eat. Concern about mercury in them is at the top of the list, followed by sustainability. I will address both concerns.

What is the difference between seafood & fish? Fish can be from fresh or salt water. Seafood is any fish or shellfish from the sea/salt water used for food. Shellfish all have a shell, like lobster, crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels. This is an important distinction when discussing toxicity & sustainability. It varies by where each species lives & where it is on the food chain; fresh water, salt water or farmed.

Livescience: Facts About Mercury. “Mercury is a very toxic element. It can enter the body through an open wound or by inhaling or ingesting it. It can then cause damage to nerves, the liver and the kidney, as well as a number of other symptoms.” Mercury has many uses due to it’s reaction to temperature, ability to conduct electricity & its fluidity. Thus it has been used in thermometers & electrical switches. If you have an interest read the article for more information about the uses of Mercury.

Mercury is also a pollutant of our lakes, streams & oceans due to industrial activity. This is a very good article that explains how mercury gets into our food chain. Scientific American: How Does Mercury Get Into Fish?

The website they cite for a list of which fish to avoid is this one: Environmental Defense Fund: Seafood Sector. The list includes seafood & fish. Look at the headings; Best Choices, OK Choices & Worst Choices. Click on a heading that you are interested in. Now you click on the seafood/fish picture & it will show you the mercury risk, Eco-rating, omega 3’s, amount of safe servings per month & more as you scroll down. If you click on the headings “Seafood” or “Sushi” you will see a drop down menu with a list of seafood & fish. Click on its name & it takes you to the same information.

That has to be my favorite “fish” website; very user friendly. Make sure that you book-mark it. It is an excellent resource. Don’t forget to read the “About This Guide” section too. It takes you through how they came up with the information to rate the seafood/fish. It also gives you a list of other resources.

Another good resource is the Monteray Bay Aqaurium Seafood Watch. Their section, Seafood & your Health, gets their information from the Environmental Defense Fund. They also have a printable guide to take with you when shopping: Seafood Watch Guide
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The “Pegan” Diet?
posted June 26th, 2018

I am skipping this months Nutrition Nuggets to take a look at an interesting way of eating. It is called the Paleo-Vegan or Pegan (pronounced ‘peegan’) diet. It is the brainchild of Dr. Mark Hyman. I must say that I am intrigued by this combination.

I think that this way of eating is something most of you would benefit from. Remember that one diet does not fit all people. It is dependent upon your current health status. Talk it over with your healthcare team before making changes in the way you eat.

Mayo Clinic: Paleo diet: What is it and why is it so popular?, By Mayo Clinic Staff “A paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.

A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. A paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. These foods include dairy products, legumes and grains. Other names for a paleo diet include Paleolithic diet, Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet and caveman diet.”

Wikipedia “Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. A follower of either the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan.” We are talking about the diet, not the lifestyle.

Let’s start with a short video of Dr. Hyman discussing this way of eating. Today: What’s the paleo vegan diet and is it right for you? By, Donna Freydkin, Jun. 18, 2018 Check out the recipes at the end of the article.

The next link to is to Dr. Hyman’s website where he lays out the Paleo-vegan eating plan.

Dr. Hyman: Why I am a Pegan – or Paleo-Vegan – and Why You Should Be Too! By Mark Hyman M.D. “As a doctor, it is my job to figure out the best way to keep my patients healthy. We now know that food is medicine, perhaps the most powerful drug on the planet with the power to cause or cure most disease. If food is more than just calories, if food is information that controls every aspect of our biology and health, then I better know what to advise people to prevent, treat and even reverse chronic disease.

So the fundamental question of our time, given that the cost of chronic disease caused mostly by what we eat will cost our global economy $47 trillion over the next 20 years and cause over 50 million preventable deaths a year is this:…”
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Cooking with Tofu & Tempeh
posted June 12th, 2018

This week I want to explore how to cook with tofu & tempeh. Tofu & tempeh are very versatile & bring texture & unique tastes to recipes. They are easy to cook with & can be used alone or in a variety of dishes.

Eating soy is a controversial subject for hormone driven cancers due to it’s phyto-estrogen properties. This is an excellent look at the history of research studies regarding the link between cancer & soy. It begins in the 1940’s & ends with current research in 2017. This lays to rest a lot of myths about soy. CNN: Where do we stand on soy? By Jacqueline Howard, CNN, March 29, 2018

Soy & soy lecithin are in just about every processed food & supplement you purchase. Because of this my personal recommendation is that you limit your processed soy intake. Limit or eliminate soy based meat substitutes. Choose another nut milk, besides soy, there are so many out there. If you use a soy protein powder then switch to pea, egg white or another protein. Read the labels. Because they are not highly processed & are in their natural state, tempeh & edamame beans are your best choice. Tofu, which I would not consider highly processed, is fine if you limit it to one serving, 2-4 ounces, once a week.

Now, lets talk about cooking!

As you can see, a block of firm tofu, is low in calories & high in protein. As you will learn, the softer a tofu block is the more water it has, making it lower in calories, fat & protein.

Nutrition Facts from the USDA: Tofu, Firm, Prepared With Calcium Sulfate And Magnesium Chloride (nigari)

Serving Size: 1/2 cup: Amount Per Serving
•Calories from Fat 47
•Calories 98
•Total Fat 5.3 grams
•Saturated Fat 1 grams
•Trans Fat 0 grams
•Cholesterol 0 milligrams
•Sodium 15 milligrams
•Potassium 186 milligrams
•Total Carbohydrates 3.6 grams
•Dietary Fiber 1.1 grams
•Natural Sugars 0.8 grams
•Protein 11 grams

Nutrition Facts from the USDA: Tofu, Soft, Prepared With Calcium Sulfate And Magnesium Chloride (nigari)

Serving Size: 0.2 of block…1/2 cup: Amount Per Serving
•Calories from Fat 30
•Calories 55
•Total Fat 3.3 grams
•Saturated Fat 0.5 grams
•Trans Fat 0 grams
•Cholesterol 0 milligrams
•Sodium 7.2 milligrams
•Potassium 108 milligrams
•Total Carbohydrates 1.1 grams
•Dietary Fiber 0.2 grams
•Sugars 0.6 grams
•Protein 6.5 grams

This is why I do not consider tofu as a highly processed food…
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Iron & Protein
posted June 5th, 2018

Two common problems when in treatment for cancer are anemia & inadequate protein intake. I think it is important to post this information again for not only those of you in treatment but for those of you who want to maintain a healthy immune system before & after treatment. I will show you how to get enough iron & protein into your diet, how much you need & where to find it in foods.

The RDA, recommended dietary allowance, from the National Institute of Health’s Iron Fact Sheet for Health Professionals includes this table. Go to the link for more information.

Table 1 lists the current iron RDAs for nonvegetarians. The RDAs for vegetarians are 1.8 times higher than for people who eat meat. This is because heme iron from meat is more bioavailable than nonheme iron from plant-based foods, and meat, poultry, and seafood increase the absorption of nonheme iron.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Iron [5]
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 0.27 mg* 0.27 mg*
7–12 months 11 mg 11 mg
1–3 years 7 mg 7 mg
4–8 years 10 mg 10 mg
9–13 years 8 mg 8 mg
14–18 years 11 mg 15 mg 27 mg 10 mg
19–50 years 8 mg 18 mg 27 mg 9 mg
51+ years 8 mg 8 mg

* Adequate Intake (AI)

You need to be cautious when taking iron as a supplement. Iron toxicity is a problem & can be fatal. At high dosages there is a chance of toxicity. For adults the highest, safest dose is 45 mg per day. Make sure you check the amount of iron in all of your supplements! You will find it in Multi-vitamins & sometimes in Calcium supplements, so be aware of this before deciding to take an iron supplement. Before taking iron consult with your healthcare team. Have your physician tell you how much additional iron you need. It will be dependent on your lab work. I have found that iron from over the counter is not always a reliable source. Iron prescribed by your physician is.

I posted the following article about anemia in 2017. It is worth reviewing if you have been told that you are anemic. Iron Deficiency Anemia & Iron-Rich Foods: “Iron deficiency anemia, IDA, is a common symptom among cancer patients. It can be the result of the inflammatory process of cancer or by its treatment. Many patients come into the oncologists office with a history of anemia. From my research I see that iron deficiency is a common problem world wide. Treating IDA varies by cause. Depending on the diagnosis, it can be helped or corrected with nutrition. In this post I am going to discuss dietary sources of iron exclusively. Eating a diet rich in iron can be done alongside any treatments your healthcare team has decided upon.”…
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May Nutrition Nuggets
posted May 29, 2018

Welcome to the May Nutrition Nuggets that I have gathered for you. Lots of interesting health news this last month. Trans fats, GMO labeling, warnings about the Keto diet craze, & my new favorite, the Nordic diet.

Knowing that trans fats are extremely unhealthy is one thing, but actually doing something about it is another. The World Health Organization has come up with a plan, REPLACE, to eliminate trans fats world wide. This is the first time WHO has called for action for a dietary change that involves a non-communicable disease. WHO calls for elimination of trans fat in foods by 2023, By Jacqueline Howard, CNN, May 14, 2018 This is not only historical but impressive as well. This is an acknowledgement of the dangers of a “food” item on the health of all people in the world. Hopefully this is a precedent being set.

In the U.S. the FDA has issued the following regarding Trans Fats: FDA, Trans Fats: ‘Most of the trans fat in the foods we eat is formed through a manufacturing process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which converts the liquid into a solid fat at room temperature. This process is called hydrogenation. Trans fat also occurs naturally in food products from ruminant animals (e.g., milk, butter, cheese, meat products, etc.).

Eating trans fat raises the level of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood. An elevated LDL cholesterol level in the blood increases your risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year.

FDA has taken steps to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods. In 2015, FDA determined that PHOs, the major source of artificial trans fat in the food supply, are no longer “Generally Recognized as Safe,” or GRAS. For the majority of uses of PHOs, June 18, 2018, remains the date after which manufacturers cannot add PHOs to foods. However, to allow for an orderly transition in the marketplace, FDA is allowing more time for products produced prior to June 18, 2018 to work their way through distribution. FDA is extending the compliance date for these foods to January 1, 2020. This action balances the health benefits of removing PHOs from the food supply with the need to provide an orderly transition in the marketplace.” Better than ignoring the problem.

Mayo Clinic has a good article about trans fats: Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health “Trans fat raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) (HDL) cholesterol. Find out more about trans fat and how to avoid it.” This article is a great reminder of what trans fats are & where in your food you find them.
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Cancer & Fasting; Current Research
posted May 22nd, 2018

Current research is focusing on using fasting as a complementary cancer therapy. My first reaction was negative. I was worried about the weight loss, depressing the immune response & overall nutrient depletion. I asked Dr. Paul Brenner his opinion & he responded; “There is something about fasting and resting the body through illness or health that is healing.” I decided to change the way I was looking at this & re-read the research.

Fasting has a long history for medical purposes, religious rites & as a form of protesting. Here is a good account of what fasting is & how it has been used historically. Encyclopedia Britannica: Fasting: “Fasting, abstinence from food or drink or both for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes. The abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent. Fasting has been promoted and practiced from antiquity worldwide by physicians, by the founders and followers of many religions, by culturally designated individuals (e.g., hunters or candidates for initiation rites), and by individuals or groups as an expression of protest against what they believe are violations of social, ethical, or political principles.”

Medical Fasting: “Fasting has been used therapeutically since at least the 5th century BCE, when Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness. Some physicians recognized a fasting instinct, whereby patients in certain disease states naturally experience a loss of appetite. Some physicians believed that administering food during such states was unnecessary and possibly even detrimental, since fasting was thought to be an important natural part of the recovery process.

An understanding of the physiological effects of fasting began to evolve in the latter part of the 19th century, when some of the first organized studies of fasting were carried out in animals and humans. In the 20th century, as more became known about nutrition and the nutritional requirements of the human body, methods of fasting became increasingly sophisticated, and a wide array of approaches emerged. For example, fasting was used as a treatment and as a form of disease prevention, and it was carried out in various settings (e.g., in a hospital or clinic or at home). Some fasting methods, particularly those applied in the treatment of chronic diseases, lasted more than a month, allowed for the consumption of only water or calorie-free tea, and included exercise and enemas. Other methods, generally referred to as modified fasting, allowed for the intake of 200 to 500 kilocalories per day (daily calorie needs of adults range from about 1,600 to 3,000 kilocalories, depending on sex, age, and activity level) and sometimes included psychological or spiritual therapy; depending on the particular method used, calories usually were in the form of bread, vegetable broth, fruit juice, honey, or milk. Modified fasting was distinguished from a very low-calorie diet, which allowed up to 800 kilocalories per day and typically was aimed at inducing substantial weight loss. Intermittent fasting involved cyclic periods of calorie restriction, such as a 24-hour period of fasting followed by a 24-hour period of regular calorie consumption.

By the 21st century, although fasting clearly was applicable in some instances of disease, such as in certain acute diseases (particularly when accompanied by a loss of appetite), whether fasting in other instances was beneficial to human health remained unclear. For example, whereas research in humans had suggested that intermittent fasting carried out over 15 days improved insulin-mediated glucose uptake into tissues, studies in rodents had indicated that such fasting, carried out over the long-term, promoted glucose intolerance and the release of damaging oxidants from tissues.”

Continue reading: Encyclopedia Britannica: Fasting to learn about how fasting was used in religion & as a form of protest. Further information about specific religious uses can be found here: Wikipedia: Fasting
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Low Carb, High Protein Diets; Are They Beneficial?
posted May 15th, 2018

The low carbohydrate, high protein diet has been in the news again this month. This diet is popular among those who wish to lose weight, want to change their overall eating habits, or just like eating this way. With this new study the diet has shown some promise for people with Type 1 Diabetes; it appears to regulate their blood sugar. This is great news. Let’s explore what the diet looks like & what it’s benefits are for everyone.

I recommend that you begin with a look at the following brochure. It is important to understand what your body needs nutritionally before you embark on a new way of eating. My favorite parts of the guidelines are the following:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

Chapter 1: Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns This chapter shows you what a healthy eating pattern looks like. It also has a section on what constitutes a serving size.
Chapter 2: Shifts Needed To Align With Healthy Eating Patterns This chapter focuses on how to shift from an unhealthy pattern of eating to a healthy one by exchanging foods. For example, shift to more nutrient dense foods, shift towards more vegetables.
Appendix 2: Estimated Calorie Needs per Day,
by Age, Sex, & Physical Activity Level This is an important section. It has a chart that not only gives you an idea of how many calories you need by age & gender, but also by activity level. For my age & gender, sitting around all day, I would need 1500 calories to maintain my weight & health.
Appendix 4: Healthy Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern
•Appendix 5: Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern
•Appendix 7: Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes Dietary Guidelines Recommendations Amounts, in grams, the body needs of micro-nutrients, minerals & vitamins.
•Continue reading the rest of the Appendix’s to see the sources of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, fiber etc.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, between 900-1,300 calories; 225-325 grams, should be from carbohydrates.

Mayo Clinic: Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet, “Carbohydrates aren’t bad, but some may be healthier than others. See why carbs are important for your health and which ones to choose.” By Mayo Clinic Staff Good article to read. In the article they list the 3 main types of carbohydrates…
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Whole Grains
posted May 8th, 2018

May is International Mediterranean Diet Month. I am going to celebrate it with you by concentrating on the often overlooked part of the diet; whole grains. Recipes too!

The Mediterranean diet has consistently been either #1 or tied for #1 in US News and World Report’s diet rankings. The non-profit, OldWays, brought this way of eating & lifestyle into the American culture around 1993. On their website Kelly Grace Weaver, Director of Marketing and Communications, stated the following:

“In a partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways created the first Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in 1993 using the most current nutrition research to represent a healthy, traditional Med Diet. It was based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy circa 1960, a time when the rates of chronic disease among these populations were among the lowest in the world, and adult life expectancy was among the highest—even though medical services were limited.

25 years later, studies have shown over and over that the Mediterranean Diet is good for you. Among many other things, the Mediterranean Diet is linked with:

•Significantly less plaque buildup in arteries
•38% lower risk of frailty in older adults (60+)
•30% lower risk of heart disease, and significantly lower risk of stroke in high-risk patients

Happy Med Month, and happy 25 years to the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid!”

Long term studies have shown that in addition to the above benefits, this lifestyle may also reduces the risk of diabetes, kidney disease, breast cancer & aggressive prostate cancer, may reduce your cholesterol level & increase your gut buddies!

OldWays is my very favorite website for up to date information on the Mediterranean diet. I am an admirer of Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, Integrative Medicine Physician. She shares my enthusiasm for the OldWays website. This is what she has to say: Oldways (A Mediterranean Diet) “I love this website. It has great information about the Mediterranean diet, as well as traditional food pyramids. Oldways is the widely-respected non-profit “food issues think tank” credited with successfully translating the complex details of nutrition science into the familiar language of food. It is best known for developing consumer-friendly health-promotion tools, including the well-known Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.”

Besides the obvious benefits to your health, why is this diet so popular? I believe it is because it is easy to follow thus making it sustainable. It doesn’t require you to give up your favorite foods, and it is tasty! Here is a really good slideshow on the subject from WebMD: 12 Reasons to Love the Mediterranean Diet…
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April Nutrition Nuggets
posted April 5th, 2018

Time again to share the news items I have been saving. This month I have chosen to comment on the genetically modified foods debate; do we still need to be concerned? There is a new study on artificial sweeteners & their link to diabetes; why is this study so important? I also want to weigh in on whether or not fish oil is a supplement that you need. Last but not least, I added a new study on dark chocolate…never too many studies on this subject.

If you have been reading my Blog for very long then you know where I stand on G.M.O. foods. Let me clarify my stance for new readers. I believe that we as consumers have the right to know not only what ingredients are in our foods but also if they have been tampered with in anyway; sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, irradiated, genetically modified, sprayed to increase shelf life & more. This information should be on the label or sticker in the case of produce. Each of us have the right to then decide if we want to purchase & consume it. I choose organic & non-G.M.O. foods. Not everyone is able to or wants to choose the way I shop. That is fine with me as long as the individual is making an informed decision.

Although I disagree with much of what was said in this article, I am sharing it because I think a balanced look at topics as important as G.M.O. foods is a must. From the New York Times: Are G.M.O. foods safe? by Jane E. Brody, April 23, 2018

I will continue to buy organic, non-G.M.O. foods & especially non-G.M.O. seeds for my garden. Even though there haven’t been any health problems associated with G.M.O. products reported to the FDA, that does not mean there haven’t been any. I doubt that symptoms you may display at any given time would make you look at the G.M.O. food that you ate. Probably, if the symptoms were severe enough, you would seek out a medical professional who would then diagnose you by the symptoms exhibited, still not connecting them to a particular food that you consumed, & prescribe a medical intervention. No one would report this to the FDA. If the diagnosis was e-coli then the FDA would be interested. This last week it was an outbreak of e-coli connected to romaine lettuce.

I concede that it is impossible to conduct research on humans & GMO’s. My problem with them is the disruption of the information that an apple, for example, sends out to the body’s systems when eaten. The new material introduced into that apple will be sending out it’s own messages which may change the way the body uses the nutrients in the food item. This concerns me. Enough said.

A new study once again links artificial sweeteners to diabetes & obesity. It is significant because the results of this study suggests artificial sweeteners changes how our bodies are processing fat & how the artificial sweeteners are used for energy. The calorie free sweetener, acesulfame potassium, which is found in calorie free foods, drinks & sweeteners, was found to accumulate in our blood vessel linings. The study showed adverse effects on the cells of the lining…
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Healthy Smoothies
posted April 24th, 2018

We don’t hear about smoothies as much as we used to. They don’t take up as much space in the cooler at Natural Foods stores either. Are they going out of style like other fads? I hope not because they are a useful addition to anyone’s diet. They are especially useful to those of you in treatment who have lost your appetite or haven’t the energy to cook. I am going to revisit & update my post from 2015 regarding the healthy smoothie.

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. Ha! Here we go again with the Mediterranean diet 🙂

Smoothies are made in a blender to retain the fiber, not in a juicer which kicks the fiber out. Smoothies should not replace more than one meal a day. Breakfast appears to be the most popular one. They are very good snacks & pick-me-up’s around that down time; 3pm. They can be made ahead & refrigerated until needed. Best to use the day you make them.

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.

Basic Smoothie by Mary Hollander RN•1 cup of liquid: water, nut milks, coconut water, no soy

  • 1 cup of fruit (fresh &/or frozen): apple, banana, strawberries, lime, raspberry, mango, blueberries…mix & match
  • 1-2 handfuls of greens; about 2 cups packed: kale dandelion, spinach, basil, mint, chard
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of veggies: CARROTS, AVOCADO, CUCUMBER, CELERY, BEET
  • Extras: fresh ginger, 1-tablespoon chia &/or hemp seeds, protein powder (no soy), cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, spirulina, cocoa or carob powder

For a nutrient dense, high fiber, balanced smoothie, you should try for 20% fruit & 80% vegetables. Most nutritionists say a 40%/60% is the best ratio. I disagree. Quit making faces! You can’t taste the vegetables unless you use a strong flavored one like kale or arugula. 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…
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Being Vegan on Vacation.
posted April 17th, 2018

I just returned from our vacation to visit colleagues, family & friends in the San Diego area. I decided, before we left home, that I would continue to eat vegan as much as possible on the trip. We drove, total of 16 hours, & stopped for the night half way. It wasn’t difficult to eat this way once we got to San Diego, but a bit of a challenge before that. I do have a rule for myself; no eating/snacking in the car. The only exceptions to that rule are coffee, tea & water.

On our way to San Diego we stopped at the Olive Garden for lunch. Now don’t laugh. It was the only thing we could find that knew what a salad was. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had a lot of vegan choices. Click on the link above. You can order the salad with a vegan dressing of oil, vinegar & spices. The bread-sticks are vegan if you ask them not to brush them with the butter & garlic, although some vegan sites say that it is dairy free. I would ask first. Our server said it wasn’t vegan, but then again she didn’t know what a vegan was until I told her 🙂 Their Minestrone soup, so good, is vegan. Most of their pasta’s are vegan & they have marinara sauce for them. I had the salad & soup. There are other choices as well.

Dinner found us at the Veggie Grill in Santa Monica. “Vegan chain offering sandwiches, salads, faux meats & sides in a modern, counter-service setting.” They are all over the place. Check the website for a location near you. We both had the Falla-Full Sandwich. “2 flatbread sandwiches with house-made falafel, hummus, skchug sauce, mint, basil, cilantro, tzatziki, pepperoncini. Vegan!

Fortunately, when we arrived in San Diego, our family & friends cooked healthy vegan meals for us on several evenings while we were there. That helped a great deal. We also hit Jimbo’s when we arrived to stock up on freshly ground peanut butter, a few vegan salads from the deli, Majestic Hummus which is my favorite, fruit & whole grain crackers. This way we were able to have breakfast & some lunches in our hotel room when we were not otherwise occupied with visiting or shopping 🙂

My daughter & her co-workers took us out to lunch at a new vegan place in Encinitas called Plant Power Fast Food. 100% plant based food. She & I shared the Mushroom Swiss Burger & regular fries. We asked for the black bean burger & it was delicious. One of her friends was a meat eater & ordered the Chicken Sandwich. It looked just like fried chicken & according to her tasted like it too. This is a great place to get vegan fast food & if you stick to the black bean burger it is less processed. Check out their website for more information. They are also located in Ocean Beach.

Another place that we ate at was the Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar in Encinitas. It has vegan options but also serves fish, turkey & chicken. You can eat there with any family member no matter their food choices. I like the sandwiches & the soups. There is always a vegan soup on the menu. There are quite a few salad options & several vegan dressings. Tahini is my favorite.

My favorite place to eat, Jyoti-Bihanga, was closed the day we went there. It is on Adams Ave. in San Diego. I love their vegan Neatloaf Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy! Take someone with you if you go there as the sandwich could serve 2! But of course I eat it by myself & have to be helped out of the restaurant!

Since we were all disappointed, hot & tired when we found that Jyoti-Bihanga was closed we succumbed to the call for Mexican food. When in San Diego… So, we went to our favorite place in La Jolla, Don Bravo Grill & Cantina We have been going there for over 25 years when it was called Bahia Grill. I started out ordering the potato rolled tacos, which can be vegan, but fell from grace when I remembered how awesome their guacamole was…
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Cleaning does not have to be hazardous to your health.
posted April 4th, 2018

I have been receiving newsletters about harmful chemicals in our cleaning products. Nothing really new, but just in time, because I am in the mood for spring cleaning  Do cleaning supplies have to be harmful? Can I make my own? You can either buy safe products, they are easy to find, or make your own, as it is relatively easy to do with natural ingredients that you already have on hand. I posted some of this information last year: DIY Natural Cleaners. This post is an updated version with new links to safer products & cleaning recipes.

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. Explore the Home Guides has them all listed in categories. We have been upgrading our 68 year old home a little bit at a time. It is important to use safe products even when painting or caulking the bathroom tiles. There is a guide on this page for any product that you may need when upgrading, repairing, cleaning etc. Bookmark it!

The labels on cleaning products are very confusing & difficult to decode. EWG has done that for us. EWG’s Guide for Decoding Labels: “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 good page to bookmark.

Safety ratings for more than 2,500 products. You can type in the product or the brand that you are interested in using the search box. You will get a rating on all the brand’s products or on the individual product you typed in. If you would like a list of products & their grades rather than looking them up one at a time, look at the top left of the page & find the 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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March Nutrition Nuggets
posted March 27th, 2018

The articles from this months headlines are as crazy, interesting as always. I am sure that the marketing department of some of these brands think that the American public is either ignoring the negative research studies for their products or that they simply don’t care. They may be right on both counts. I question everything I read, especially now when anyone can have a website & write whatever they want & make claims that they can’t substantiate. That is why I love this Blog. I want to wade through all this for you. You aren’t expected to believe everything I say either. Do your own research & if you have further questions just ask me. Let me know when you disagree! I can take it  

This first article is important to read. I don’t think I can stress enough how unhealthy most processed foods can be. I am giving you two views of the same study.

Eco Watch: Study: Eating Highly Processed Foods Linked to Increased Cancer Risk, By Dawn Undurraga, In the article the author states: “Ultra-processed foods are defined as foods that undergo multiple physical, biological and mechanical processes to be highly palatable, affordable and shelf stable.” This study shows a possible cancer link to all ultra-processed foods, not only meats such as hot-dogs & deli slices. The study states that 1/4 to 1/2 of the daily intake of calories for the average person are ultra-processed foods. This study was done in France following 105,000 people over an average of 5-8 years. We need to be cautious about the study because the lifestyles of the French are different than ours. Yet, I think it is safe to say that Americans eat the same or more calories per day of ultra-processed foods.

This article from BBC gives a slightly different look at the study & it’s conclusions. Ultra-processed foods ‘linked to cancer’, By James GallagherHealth and science correspondent, 15 February 2018

What I got from both of these articles is that eating this way leads to obesity which we know is directly linked to some cancers. Also, that a balanced diet that includes more plant-based foods & omits processed foods is the answer to a healthier you.

Here is a very good article from my Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Newsletter: Can Obesity Cause Cancer?, Published: March 16, 2018 This article shows the connection between obesity & cancer with an info-graph. Very good information whether you are considering losing weight or not. Make sure you look at the tips at the end of the article…
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Plant Based Diet: What is it exactly?
posted March 2th, 2018


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?

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: Best Plant-Based Diets: Plant-based diets are good for the environment, your heart, your weight and your overall health. U.S. News defines plant-based as an approach that emphasizes minimally processed foods from plants, with modest amounts of fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy, and red meat only sparingly. The reason I like this definition is because it follows current scientific research & it is practical for everyone. I believe that the confusion comes from those of us who describe ourselves as being a vegetarian or a vegan, as being plant-based. Both definitions are accurate even though they seem to be conflicting.

There is no such thing as a universal quick fix when it comes to diets. The answer is to find a common ground that we can all benefit from. Because of it’s versatility the plant-based Mediterranean diet appears to be that common ground. It will work for cultural differences, food preferences, allergies, food sensitivities & more. It is easy to understand & according to all the research it is the one way of eating that people can maintain for a lifetime.

Even though I have been a vegetarian or vegan for 50+ years, I understand that when confronted with the with the words plant-based, most people would just tune out. Do I think that the vegan diet is the best one for overall health? Yes, I do, but it isn’t a diet for everyone. It requires time, energy & planning to make it a nutritionally balanced diet.

For example, people who have a medical diagnosis that requires more calcium; osteopenia or osteoporosis, would do better as a vegetarian who eats dairy or on the Mediterranean diet where they would get more dietary calcium then on a vegan diet. As a vegan you can get the recommended amount of calcium in your diet but it has to be well thought out. As a lacto-vegetarian or on the Mediterranean diet it is not a problem at all to up your dietary calcium intake.

Many do not want to give up their dairy, meat & fish, but they would consider cutting down on it to have a healthier lifestyle. This is why I feel that the first definition, by the USNews group, is the one that would get more people to consider a plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean.

Being more plant-based or moving towards the plant-based diet would simply mean to add more vegetables, whole grains & fruits to your plate each day & downplay the dairy, poultry, fish & seafood. Red meat, & pork would be eaten in small amounts once a month or phased out as would processed food. This approach is doable…
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Food! Recipes! Tips!
posted March 13th, 2018

Even though our wood stove is working overtime with the late winter storms we are having, I am still thinking Spring. I have some wonderful recipes to share with you. I have tried them all & they have become my go to recipes. I am also going to share some interesting subjects about food that I found in the various newsletters I receive. Let’s get started!

Our friend Teri Polley sent me a recipe for using up all those Easter eggs. She has avocado trees, yes~I am jealous, and came up with this simple, tasty way of using them.
Deviled Avocado Eggs : You need 3 hard-boiled eggs; peeled & cut in half & 1 large avocado; pitted & peeled. Mash the avocado flesh with the 3 cooked egg yolks & add the following:
•1 tsp. cilantro chopped
•3 tsp lime juice
•1 tbsp red onion
•a pinch of salt and pepper

Scoop the mixture into the halves of the hard-boiled egg whites & top with a sprinkle of chili or paprika. Add a few cilantro leaves for garnish. Thank you Teri!

From Rodale’s Organic Life: How To Make Natural Easter Egg Dye Out Of Fruits, Vegetables, And Spices. “Color your Easter eggs without artificial dyes by doing it the old-fashioned way—with produce, vegetable scraps, and spices.” By Jean Nick March 17, 2017

Other ideas: 19 All Natural Easter Egg Dyes to Make At Home, BY READER’S DIGEST EDITORS, “Skip the kit and try coloring Easter eggs naturally with homemade dyes that use coffee, onions, blueberries, and other kitchen finds.”

Speaking of eggs. Take a look at this slideshow from WebMD: Cheap, Healthy Foods Not only are these foods cheap & healthy, most of them are also high in protein.

My favorite quick, protein rich & healthy breakfast is a piece of organic pumpernickel bread with peanut butter, mashed banana & homemade marmalade on it. Very filling.

I love marmalade. My husband doesn’t, which means I am on my own when I buy a jar. I find that it is difficult to find a small jar of marmalade with no added sugar. I found this simple recipe on the DawnJacksonBlatner’s website: Aldi Chia Marmalade w/Cinnamon Toast, that I absolutely love! This is the way I make it just for me. It fits in a pint jar…
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“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”
posted March 3rd, 2018

I firmly believe what Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Eating a plant based, whole foods, balanced diet is the only path to a healthy body. As Michael Pollan put it, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

I am loving this! Corporations that own large food companies are having a difficult time financially because more people are asking for healthy foods that are not ultra-processed & contain fewer unhealthy ingredients. According to a Nielsen report the purchasing of foods that are less-processed has risen 15% since 2014.

Take a look at this Nielsen Report from 2015: We Are What We Eat: Healthy eating trends around the world. Scroll down to Natural foods With Beneficial Ingredients Are Most Desirable: “When it comes to the foods we eat, consumers are going back to the basics. We asked respondents to rate health attributes from very important to not important in their purchase decisions. The most desirable attributes are foods that are fresh, natural and minimally processed. Foods with all natural ingredients and those without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are each considered very important to 43% of global respondents—the highest percentages of the 27 attributes included in the study. In addition, about four-in-10 global respondents say the absence of artificial colors (42%) and flavors (41%) and foods made from vegetables/fruits (40%) are very important” YES!!!

Another article by Nielsen Insights: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ‘CLEAN’ IN TODAY’S FMCG MARKET , 08-21-2017 In this report, 68% of those who resoponded said that they were willing to pay more for foods that contain less ingredients that they think are unhealthy. 53% said that products with fewer undesirable ingredients was more important to them than seeing ingredients that they considered healthy. At the bottom of this report is a link to Undesirable Ingredients. One of the most comprehensive lists that I have seen.

Do you remember this quote from Michael Pollan: “Most of what we’re consuming today is no longer, strictly speaking, food at all, and how we’re consuming it – in the car, in front of the TV, and, increasingly, alone – is not really eating, at least not in the sense that civilization has long understood the term.” This is where healing begins, changing your lifestyle & attitude about food.

Bear with me in this next section. It does pertain to what I have said so far; people are turning towards a healthier diet. Yet they are changing their diet because of what they read on the internet or in the health news of major & minor news sources. Let me give you an example…
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February Nutrition Nuggets: Coffee & Alcohol
posted February 27th, 2018

I have chosen these new studies regarding coffee & alcohol to take a closer look at & to discuss. Are they good for you? Will you live longer if you drink them? What’s the story this month?  Hopefully you learned from last weeks post, Understanding Clinical Trials, that we need to know if the benefits outweigh the risks before we decide to change our lifestyle & in this case to imbibe or not.

Anything written about coffee interests me  I have had several emails from fellow coffee lovers about this newest headline. They all wanted to know if they should stop drinking coffee or just ignore the study & enjoy their favorite beverage. I was wondering the same thing.

When coffee beans are roasted they retain a chemical called acrylamide. This chemical is on the list as a carcinogen in California. Acrylamide is in foods like french fries, potato chips, crackers, bread, cookies, cereals, canned black olives, prune juice & coffee. The amount is dependent upon the cooking method, temperature & cooking process. So it varies by manufacturer. This page on the NCI website will give you more detailed information. National Cancer Institute: Acrylamide and Cancer Risk They have based the inclusion of acrylamide, on the carcinogen list, on studies done on rats. The wording is as follows: The National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens considers acrylamide to be reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, based on studies in laboratory animals given acrylamide in drinking water.” The problem with this is that the metabolism & absorption rates differ in rats & humans. From this site you will see that the human study was done with self reporting which is always difficult to know exactly how much acrylamide they actually ingested.

This article is the one that caused the concern. Forbes: Potential California Warning: The Chemical In Your Coffee That May Cause Cancer By Bruce Y. Lee , February 1, 2018 Regardless of the fact that there are not any studies yet that back up the idea that coffee can now be linked to cancer, because of California’s Prop 65, coffee vendors ~yep, even Starbucks~, will have to post a warning that drinking coffee is a potential health risk.

Did you know that the same Prop 65 warning is at any establishment that serves french fries & potato chips since a lawsuit by the state in 2005? I have never noticed it! The fast food industry didn’t argue, they just went ahead & posted the sign as required Proposition 65: Acrylamide

This next article is a must read if you are still worried about drinking coffee. Based on the results of a meta-analysis, the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks. The only group who should not drink coffee are pregnant women. The Washington Post: After poring over all the evidence, experts declare coffee is (mostly) good for you By Kendall Powell February 4, 2018

I am looking at all the information above & I am thinking that drinking your morning coffee is not the problem here. If you haven’t omitted or sharply curtailed your use of ultra-processed foods, fried foods & sugary products, you may be getting a lot more acrylamide than is healthy. Clean up your diet & enjoy your morning cup of java  

The earliest record of drinking coffee dates back to the 15th century. Just saying…
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Understanding Clinical Trials
posted February 20th, 2018


The more research studies that I read the more confused the issues become. Take my post from last week as an example: Asparagus & Cancer Cell Growth Even with my explanations some of you came away confused. I understand that. Because of that post, this week I am going to talk about how research, in particular clinical trials, are done.

The headlines in the news tend to be sensational & scare the **** out of us. I don’t think that the researchers are trying to upset us or confuse us. They are just reporting on their findings. We want to know that studies on mice show that some nutrients, given in larger amounts, will cause cancer or that some, given in smaller than normal amounts, may block the cancer cells ability to metastasize. But…before we go crazy trying to decide what this means to our diet, we need to take a breath & step away. We need to wait for several, not just one, clinical trials on humans to then make adjustments to our lifestyles. Even then we need to talk this over with our health care team to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks for us as an individual.

What is the difference between basic research studies & clinical trials? Research studies are experiments that have been conducted in a laboratory setting usually using non-human subjects. These experiments can be at a cellular level in a petri dish or done on mice/rats etc.

Clinical trials are done with human volunteers in order to prove a theory that was developed in the laboratory about treatments for diseases. Your healthcare team may be aware of a Clinical trial being conducted that you could benefit from. Talk to them first.

There are several governmental agencies which oversee clinical trials. They are in place for the protection of those volunteer subjects & also to list the clinical trials that have been done, are currently going on & those which need volunteers…
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Asparagus & Cancer Cell Growth
posted February 13th, 2018

I love asparagus & pig out on it when it is in season; to the extent that my husband is now growing it for me This season will be the first time we can harvest it. Because of this, the headlines about how asparagus is a food that breast cancer patients should avoid caught my eye. I wondered why asparagus was being singled out now. I found that the reason for these headlines was due to a new study by the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute that had been published in the journal Nature this past week. What do we do with studies & headlines like this? We take a closer look & see if they apply to us as a unique individual.

This is the first article that I read. Cure: Asparagus Could Kill Me?, “A recent study points to a concerning ingredient in one of our most common foods. Could this potentially help the spread of cancer?”, BY BONNIE ANNIS, FEBRUARY 09, 2018 Should you eliminate asparagus from your diet? Let’s take a closer look at the study & what it means.

Here is the actual study as published in Nature: Asparagine bioavailability governs metastasis in a model of breast cancer The information that I gleaned from this study is as follows.

  • The study has only been done on mice with a strain of an aggressive breast cancer.
  • No human studies/clinical trials have been done yet.
  • Not all circulating cancer cells were able to begin new tumors at secondary sites.
  • Those cells that did metastasize were strongly influenced by the presence of the amino acid asparagine.
  • Limiting asparagine by dietary restrictions or by the drug L-asparaginase, which blocks the cells use of asparagine, limited the cells ability to metastasize.

The most important part of this study that you need to remember is that they did not take away all asperigine. It was a low-aspargine diet that was used. This is important to note because it would be difficult to totally eliminate this amino-acid & it would cause other problems if you were able to. Asperigine is important in the protection of the liver & it is important for the health of your nerves. Concise information regarding the role of asparagine in your body from the Asparagine

Most fruits & vegetables are low in asparagine. What are the food sources with high asparagine content, besides asparagus?

  • Animal: dairy, whey, beef, poultry, eggs, fish, & seafood
  • Plants: asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, whole grains

As we have seen in other restrictive diets, it is not a good idea to eliminate a food group…
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Chemo Brain
posted February 6th, 2017

Chemo brain is a term used by cancer patients in treatment & by thrivers/survivors to describe memory & plain old thinking problems. The severity of the problem varies by patient. Usually the symptoms are self-reported & are dealt with as “complaints” rather than a disorder. Cognitive tests are not done on new patients before treatment, so it is difficult for a healthcare team to know if what the patient is experiencing is new or not. This should not make a difference, in my opinion, the complaints should always be addressed. This brain fog does have an impact on a patients daily activities.

After all the research & articles I have read on this subject, this one is my favorite: The Cut: Finally, My Case of ‘Chemo Brain’ Is Vindicated, By Deanna Pai, July 12, 2017.

Symptoms of Chemo brain or chemo fog may include the following according to the Mayo Clinic: Chemo Brain

  • Being unusually disorganized
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty finding the right word
  • Difficulty learning new skills
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of mental fogginess
  • Short attention span
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks
  • Trouble with verbal memory, such as remembering a conversation
  • Trouble with visual memory, such as recalling an image or list of words

As I look at this list, I can’t help but think about how I feel when I am totally stressed out. Do you think that part of the problem is due to the stress of the diagnosis, fear of the unknown, fear of the treatment, feeling helpless & anger? Yes, it is part of the problem & it does confuse the issue.

A very informative article & video I found about chemo brain is from the Simms/Mann, UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology: Countering Chemo Brain, Linda M. Ercoli, PhD, October 14, 2014 The transcript of the video is right below it.

There are no diagnostic tests for chemo brain. There are no definitive causes known to science at this time. Because of this there are no cures. This page in the Mayo Clinic’s: Chemo Brain has many ideas of how to cope with the symptoms. They also talk about the lack of medications to help the patient & list the ones typically used. The section “What Can You Do” has a list of how to prepare for your appointment & a list of questions to ask your physician. This is a very thorough & helpful article.

Another good article is by the American Cancer Society: Chemo Brain I like this one because the author states upfront that this is a very real & sometimes distressing problem…
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January Nutrition Nuggets
posted January 30th, 2018

Once again I have saved articles of interest in the health news to share with you. They range in topics: is weight-gain contagious? ; the benefits of honey; non-dairy milk vs cows milk; dietary sugar & bacterial infections; a new study with coconut oil; curcumin & memory; & an interesting slide show from WebMD.

Most of the health news this past month has centered around this years flu. I want to remind you that you can still get a flu shot & should discuss it with your healthcare team. I realize that this years vaccine is said to be only 30% effective, but even so, it may lessen the time with the flu & its severity. Something to consider.

This idea could be applied to most any lifestyle choices. Who do you hang with? Newsweek: WEIGHT GAIN IS CONTAGIOUS AND YOU COULD ‘CATCH’ OBESITY FROM YOUR NEIGHBORS, STUDY FINDS, BY MELISSA MATTHEWS, 1/24/18

This article points out a similar study’s results that showed that people who do not smoke, eat a healthy diet & exercise don’t generally keep company with those who don’t follow the same lifestyle. In a Weight Watchers group I went to decades ago, the speaker said to take a look at who your eating partners are & where you tend to meet them. Good advice. If you want to change your lifestyle you may have to meet new people who are doing the same thing.

I remember using honey as a poultice for bedsores when I was a student nurse. It healed & soothed the wound faster than the pharmaceuticals of the day. Honey is also soothing & healing for mouth & throat sores. Check out this article. CNN: The proven health benefits of honey, By Sandee LaMotte, January 15, 2018 Honey is also a good cough suppressant. Note the reminder that you should not give honey to children under 1 year of age. I would extend that to under 2 years of age to be safe….

I chose this article because so many of us do not use dairy, especially cows milk. I take issue with the idea that cows milk is the best source of protein & B vitamins. I also take issue with them encouraging cows milk for children because the use of non-dairy milks may make them shorter. We could say that cows milk makes them taller & they enter puberty earlier because of the growth hormones in it.

The takeaway from this article is…
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Mary’s Nutritional Guidelines ~ Updated
posted January 23rd, 2018

Have you noticed the changes in our website? I have re-organized the recipe section to make it more user friendly, got rid of broken links on our Resource pages & changed the Topics page to include only the information you need right away. I also want to remind you that you can find information on the blog by typing in the subject you want to read about in the search box.

One of the topics that I wanted to update & share with you again is my article about healthy eating habits for everyone. You will find this updated version on the Topics drop down menu for quick access.

“Healthy Eating Habits for Everyone” by Mary Hollander RN., Updated: January 2018

During and after treatment whether by surgery, chemotherapy and or radiation therapy, the body has to expend more energy to fight cancer cells and to rebuild damaged cells caused by treatment. To be able to do this effectively the body requires a healthy, balanced diet that will provide the nutrients needed. It doesn’t matter what “diet” you are following, these tips are for a healthier lifestyle.

The optimal diet for everyone from Michael Pollan: “Eat only what your Grandmother would recognize.”

These are my general guidelines for a healthy, balanced and nutrient rich diet. Remember, these are what you aspire to. Don’t try to do everything at once. That sets you up for failure. Change one part of your diet at a time; one change a week or a month. This is a process to make healthier choices that you can stick with not a fad diet for a week or two.

  •  Eat a balanced diet to get the vitamins, minerals and proteins that you need. Eating from ALL the following food groups is important; Water, Healthy Oils, Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Healthy Protein.
  •  Eat a varied diet of fruits & vegetables; a rainbow of colors. Fruits & vegetables are antioxidant rich. Eating a variety ensures that you receive all antioxidants not just one or two.
  •  Eat Whole grains. Nothing white; black, brown, wild or red rice as an example.
  •  Avoid processed foods as much as possible; stay out of the center of the market. Read the labels of the packaged foods you do buy. If you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients then don’t buy it.
  •  Eat Certified Organic fruits, vegetables & whole grains as much as you are able to afford. These will be pesticide free. Look at for the current list of the “Dirty Dozen & Clean 15” to make this more affordable.
  •  Eat Certified Organic dairy and grass fed meats. Eat a minimal amount or avoid all together. Certified Organic means no antibiotics or growth hormones. Stores such as Ralphs & Costco are offering antibiotic free &/or growth hormone free meats that are not Certified Organic and cheaper. This is an affordable alternative. They also have grass fed and range free meats & eggs.
  •  Dairy is inflammatory and should be eaten in moderation. It also has natural occurring estrogen, even organic or raw dairy. Cows are kept pregnant, which increases the estrogen levels to increase the milk production and to increase the length of time they can be milked. Estrogen is stored in fat, so if you are concerned about estrogen then use non-fat dairy.
  •  Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms/GMO’s. There still hasn’t been any long term research on how this will affect humans. Foods send thousands of bits of information to the body. Changing those pathways by genetically modifying it will change the information sent. There are no GMO’s in Certified Organic food. We have a right to know what is in our food so we can make informed choices. Many companies are using the Non-GMO label on their packages. Watch for this label even on non-organic products…
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Surfing the Wave of the Wellness Trend
posted January 16th, 2018

So many new choices at the farmers market, the natural food store & even the grocery store. They have all joined in on what is referred to as the Wellness Trend.

In this article from the BBC: What’s Really Driving the Boom in Wellness Foods By Elizabeth Hotson, “investigates what wellness devotees are buying into.” the author writes about the “buzz words” & the businesses that are catering to this trend. I agree with this article that Wellness is an umbrella term for many fads & that it isn’t going away. Are you surfing the wellness trend looking for the quick fix & longevity? Or are you looking for a healthier diet & lifestyle.

The new year always brings thoughts of a “new you”, a healthier lifestyle. Last week I discussed the diets from: U.S. News Reveals Best Diets Rankings for 2018 Once you decide on which diet works for you, you then shop accordingly; trying to choose the healthiest food options for that diet. Businesses have capitalized on the “new you” idea by bringing out a confusing array of new products to entice us. They are not always the healthiest choices.

This article from Fortune is an example of what people are buying into. This Is the Controversial Ingredient Inside the New Diet Coke Flavors Coke is coming up with more flavors & more ways to make it’s diet drinks taste like original coke. They are tapping into a part of the wellness trend for dieters who want an easy, quick fix for losing weight. We have already discussed the pitfalls of drinking diet coke, one of which is weight gain!

It isn’t just about the drink itself, it is the attitude that since you drank a zero calorie soda it negates the hamburger & fries you are eating with it. It is also about the sugar substitutes they are using. Are they safe or not. It depends on which study you look at. My thought is always to eat as close to the natural food source as possible. Aspartame & its friends are not natural food sources.

Kambucha was mentioned in the first article. It has been popular as a health drink in the U.S. since the 90’s. Kambucha has been around for over 2,000 years. It started in China & was known as “The Tea of Immortality”. It has been brewed in Russia, Japan & Eastern Europe for centuries…
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The “Raw Water” Trend & 2018’s Best Diets
posted January 9th, 2018

I was surprised to see the headlines about a new trend, “raw water”. It piqued my interest. What the heck is “raw water” & why would I want to drink it? These were just a few questions that went through my mind. I researched it & will tell you what I know.

The second part of the post will be about the U.S.News, 2018, report on the 40 top diets in 2017. I always find this interesting. We will take a look at which diets made the top 3 in all 9 of the categories.

This new trend for “raw water” started in & around Silicon Valley, California. There are many start up companies bottling this water which has caused the price to jump to $60 for a 2.5-gallon jug! People around the country are buying it. It is flying off the shelves in a San Francisco Co-op at $16 a 12 ounce bottle!

Basically it is unfiltered water from natural sources such as streams, creeks, groundwater & lakes. The reason people are interested in it is because it doesn’t go through any type of filtration system & there are no additives such as bleach or fluoride added. This may sound good to water purists but it does open the door for bacteria, viruses, & parasites that can be in these natural water sources.

The CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch and other health officials are warning that the “raw water” can hold bacteria linked to …
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Back to Basics to Enhance Your Immune System
posted January 2nd, 2018


The New Year has arrived along with new fad diets, new exercise equipment, new research studies and a flu season that does not look good. Let’s set aside your New Year’s Resolutions regarding “diets” & exercise and look at how you can help your body be prepared for the flu & any other opportunistic diseases that come along. For those of you with a compromised immune system this is important.

The flu season is being reported as a bad one this year. Besides getting a flu shot, what is the best way to help your body be prepared for it? Building a strong immune system is the answer. 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. It is also the safest way to lose or gain weight.

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. Sleep Review: Weekly Fish Consumption Linked to Better Sleep Works for adults too.
  • 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, plant based diet. Start by making small changes each month by adding more whole grains, vegetables & fruits to your meals…

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Go to the posts of previous years:
Reality Based Nutrition Archive 2017
Reality Based Nutrition 2016
Reality Based Nutrition 2015


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