Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Did you know that if you suffer from asthma you should avoid foods containing yellow food dye 5?  This dye contains tartrazine which can trigger or worsen asthma attacks.  Everyone reacts differently but if you know you have asthma, why not avoid this dye?

Monday, May 28, 2012


I'm sure you've heard the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  Apples are good for us and should be a part of our diets, but I am not sure eating one a day will keep the doctor away.  Two big benefits of apples are that they are low in calories and they are high in soluble fibers.  Soluble fibers do help to lower cholesterol.  But you might be surprised to discover that apples are fairly low in nutritional values.  The average apple only has 8 mg of vitamin C.  That is 13% of the daily allowance needed.  Nothing wrong with that except many people think apples are full of vitamin C, they are not. If you are eating an apple a day and think that is keeping up your vitamin C, you need to be sure you are getting plenty of vitamin C elsewhere in your diet.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Dermatologists stress that diet is not what causes acne, no matter what some diets and teen magazines may say.  Hormones are most often responsible for cases of acne. However, the doctors also stress there is an exception to that fact and that is kelp.  Kelp is a seaweed and is sold as a dietary supplement or as a salt substitute.  It can actually cause severe cystic acne.  Likewise, idodized salt can cause an acne flare-up.  If you have problems with acne, you should probably stay away from kelp and cut back on your salt intake.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


We all know we need calcium to make our bones strong and to prevent osteoporosis.  But are you aware that we also need the mineral manganese?  Joy of joys, the tasty fruit - pineapple - is full of manganese!  A professor of nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin was quoted as saying, "When we want to up the levels of manganese in the diet, we tell women to eat pineapple or drink pineapple juice."  Her studies found that women with osteoporosis have about a third less manganese in their blood than do healthy women.  When these women were given manganese their bodies absorbed twice as much as did the bodies of the healthy women.  This was proof their bodies needed it!
There are other good sources of manganese as well but the body doesn't absorb the mineral as well as it does from pineapple.  Some of these other sources are: oatmeal, cereals, beans, nuts, whole-wheat, spinach, and tea.

Include these foods in your diet on a regular basis for healthy bones.

Friday, May 25, 2012


According to the Journal of Food Science,  the antioxidants in green tea decrease an average of 35% after 6 months on the shelf.  These antioxidants, known as catechins, may decrease your risk of several types of cancer, but are sensitive to both light and oxygen.

Suggestion: Buy your tea in airtight cans rather than packages wrapped in cellophone, which air can penetrate.  Green tea is more sensitive to heat than is black tea.  Store your tins of green tea in the refrigerator.  Buy quality teas and store properly to get the ultimate protection.

This is a picture of one of my tea canisters.  I buy mine in small (this is a 3-oz) tins to keep the tea fresh and protected.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The words "light" and "extra light" when applied to olive oil, do not have anything to do with calories but everything to do with color and flavor.  Extra-virgin olive oil is darker in color and has a robust flavor.  Extra-light olive oil is usually blended with a lower quality olive oil and therefore is lighter in color and flavor.

No matter what olive oil you choose, whether extra-light or extra-virgin it will contain 120 calories and 14 g fat - 10 g of that the heart-healthy or good fats - per tablespoon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


People often complain about not fully understanding nutrition labels.  Here is a simple rule you can establish for yourself.  If you are trying to cut back on sugar in your diet, and most people should be, it can be hard since sugar is in almost everything.  When buying packaged/processed foods, read the ingredients label.  Ingredients are listed in order of the amount in a product ie the first ingredient listed is the main ingredient in the product.  The last ingredient listed contributes the least to the product.  Where does sugar rank?  In a long list of ingredients, you should avoid anything that has sugar listed in the top 4 or 5 ingredients.  And remember corn syrup, fructose, etc are just other names for sugar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


If we would all just follow a few simple dietary guidelines, we could all feel better, maintain a reasonable weight, and just simply enjoy better health.  The following guidelines are easy to follow, require purchasing no special foods, etc, or diets that make you feel like you are starving yourself.  Keep these simple guidelines in mind everyday as you plan your meals:
  • Eat a variety of foods.  Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, grain, etc all serve a different purpose to the body.  Don't cut out a group or eat from only one group (unless under doctor supervision).
  • Choose foods that are low in fat, especially saturated fat, and cholesterol.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Beware of sugar.  Learn to read labels; sugar is hidden in so many foods.
  • Beware of sodium.  Never resalt your food at the table and as with sugar, learn to read nutritional labels.  Salt (sodium) is hiding in most foods, especially processed foods.
  • Drink plenty of water.  There is no substitute for water in your daily diet.

Monday, May 21, 2012


If you are constantly struggling with your weight and constantly trying new diets, here is a simple piece of advice:


It works everytime. Now nobody said that is easy, but it is worth it.  Eat a healthy diet, keep track of the calories you take in and the exercise you get, if necessary, to help you see what works for you.  One great exercise for obese people is to push back from the table.That may sound mean but it is the best place to start.  Your body will thank you for it by working better and longer for you!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


As has been previously discussed on this blog, ginger-tea is good for those fighting cancer or other illnesses where nausea is a problem.  We have also discussed the benefits of green tea.  I have this recipe on my Ladybug's Sweet Treats blog and thought it would be a good recipe to share with you on this blog, too.
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated on large side of grater to make 1 tbsp
1 regular green tea bag
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1 cup boiling water

Squeeze the juice from the ginger into a teacup; discard solids. Place the tea bag, lemon juice and honey into a teacup. Pour the boiling water into the cup, cover and steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bag, squeeze gently and discard.
Yield: 1 cup tea

Note: Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants that may inhibit cancer growth. This tea is a good beverage for those fighting nausea.


A report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, June 7, 2011 found that when researchers tracked more than 39,000 women for over 12 years they found that smoking led to a 10-fold increase in the risk for PAD - Peripheral arterial disease.  PAD is a serious disorder that occurs when narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the lower extremities, namely feet and legs.  Stopping smoking lowered the risk but the risk is still greater than those who have never smoked.  Whether you are a man or a woman, if you are a smoker you need to do yourself a big favor and quit!  As the wife/caregiver of a man who smoked for many years and now struggles daily to breathe because of COPD, I highly recommend you stop smoking now if you enjoy life.  I can promise you, your life will be diminished from cigarette smoking.  Of course eating a healthy diet is always good for you, but it cannot cure the ills smoking does to the body!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Have you ever considered what the word BREAKFAST means?  It is simple really when you look at the word.  Breakfast means to break the fast (for the body's understanding) between dinner (the previous night) and lunch (current day).  This is why breakfast is so important to diabetics.  It is vitally important to tell your body you are "up and at it"!

When you don't eat breakfast, your body enters into a prolonged fasting state.  Your body begins to believe you won't be eating anytime soon so when you finally eat lunch it stores it as fat because it thinks, "I'd better save this for later. I don't know when the next meal will come."  And that of course causes weight gain.  This is why eating breakfast is stressed when dieting!  However, when you break the fast in the morning, your body will use the food to power you though the day.

That said, remember you should eat a healthy breakfast.  A soda pop and a candy bar is not the answer; yogurt and fruit is!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Would you rather walk 4 to 4 1/2 miles or hula hoop for 1 hour?  At the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting last summer, researchers reported that in healthy women hula hooping for an hour expended about the same amount of energy as walking 4 to 4 1/2 miles.  Personally, I say both are too much for me.  My feeling is that it is better to eat healthy meals and do moderate exercise.  Good grief, I couldn't hula hoop for an hour when I was a kid in the '50s!  Learn to eat healthy foods and push back from the table a little sooner.  Yes, exercise it necessary.  I do, however, believe diet control is where we as a society are missing the mark.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I am always amazed at people's reactions to using food as medicine.  Do they think this is something new?  Food as medicine is ancient!  Only in the last century has society become almost exclusively dependent on pills.  Now I am not knocking pills or medicine, God knows I have used plenty of modern medicine. But let me also add, I know personally that modern medicine cannot cure all ills.  Once I started to study my illnesses, causes, medicines, foods, etc, I was able to improve my health with my diet.  I have been incorporating what I have learned into my diet over the past 20 years and guess what - I am much healthier than I was 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago I was told by my doctor I could be an invalid or I could push back and see how far I could go.  That is when I actually started doing research and improving my health.  Believe me, I am not an invalid.  In the past twenty years I have helped to raise 7 grandchildren, traveled the country, taught Sunday School, stayed active in my church, and I am currently caregiver to my husband who suffers from dementia and depression.  Without my research and dietary changes, I know that would not have been possible.  So believe me, you are getting information from someone who has been there, is there!

Bottom line; take what you eat seriously.  Think of every bite you take as good medicine or bad medicine.  Think of food as preventative medicine and you will start to rethink what and how you eat.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Sorry, but I just keep going back to this inflammation thing.  Today I wanted to mention that turmeric is excellent for fighting inflammation.  Include some in your diet everyday if possible.  On my Diabetic Enjoying Food blog, today I posted a short recipe for a spice mix containing turmeric that you use on popcorn.  Check it out at  I think it could be used as a rub on meats and probably in other ways too. Turmeric is a main ingredient in mustards so add those to your diet.  Anything to fight inflammation without drugs and steroids is a good thing!  Curcumin is so prevelent in turmeric that turmeric is sometimes known by that name.  This is the substance that gives mustards their yellow color and it is powerful against inflammation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


If you are a diabetic who will be going off to college this Fall or if you are the parents of a diabetic college-bound student, you may have concerns about controlling your diabetes away from home.  The American Diabetes Association knows this can be a concern and have produced a great little book for the occasion.  Going to College with Diabetes is a 64 page printable guide and is the ADA's first publication directed specificallly at college students.  You can get this free booklet online at at

This guide will help students prepare for working with college instructors and administrators so they can manage their diabetes well at college and fully participate in campus life.  It also outlines what students might need or expect from their schools regarding testing, meal plans, etc.

Monday, May 14, 2012


People with type 1 diabetes are living longer on average.  Those diagnosed between 1965 and 1980 had a life expectancy of 69 years.  That is 15 years more than people diagnosed betwwen 1950 and 1964.   Yeah, progress is being made!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


The last three posts have been about inflammation which is a huge problem for many people.  Read the previous posts if you need more information.  This article regards some dietary changes you may need to make in your life to stave off or slow down inflammation.
  • Eat Greens:  Green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium, a mineral about 60% of us don't consume enough of.  There is a lot of evidence that people with high inflammatory markers have low magnesium levels.
  • Up Your Consumption of Soy:  The FDA has indicated that eating 25 grams of soy protein daily helps to reduce your risk of inflammation-driven cardiovascular disease.  (If you have a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer or endometriosis, check with your doctor before increasing the amount of soy in your diet.)
  • Balance the omega fats in your diet.  We Americans tend to eat too many inflammation-promoting omega-6 fats (found in such vegetable oils as sunflower and corn and the processed foods made with them) and not enough inflammation-soothing omega-3 fats (found in salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola and olive oil). According to Dr. Chilton (referrenced in the previous posts), a diet high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s increases inflammattion in the body.  Dr. Cannon (referenced in previous posts) says, "If you eat 1 healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids every day, you'll be doing good things for inflammation."  You need 1 to 4 grams of omega-3s daily to boost the number of proteins in the body that quell inflammation and also reduce the level of proteins that promote inflammation.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


According to Dr. Christopher P. Cannon a professor at Harvard Medical School, causes of inflammation include obesity, genetics, family history, lifestyle, and stress.  He continues on to say, "The tricky thing with inflammation is that it sometimes has symptons, such as pain and lethargy, but often does not.  You won't know you have inflammation until you get tested."  Dr. Cannon says that people who are a little overweight, who have borderline high cholesterol, borderline high blood pressure - those are people who really need to be tested now.  "If you find elevated markers at that point, you can really help ward off inflammation-rooted  problems in the future with aggressive prevention (as we discussed in the previous two posts, that includes your diet!).

There is a simple, easy blood test to measure inflammation called C-reative protein.  CRP is a protein produced by the liver.  Dr. Cannon says, "Changes in CRP levels are often the 1st sign of inflammation.  Your CRP levels may rise even before you feel any effects of inflammation."  A New England Journal of Medicine study found the CRP predicted heart attacks and strokes better than any other lab tests.  Dr Cannon suggests tests showing high CRP levels be repeated in 2 to 3 weeks because, "Sometimes inflammation markers are high because you are fighting an infection and not because you have an underlying disease associated with inflammation."

As discussed in a previous post.  Do yourself a favor and drink some green tea daily.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Systemic inflammation (see article below for definition) can wreak havoc in any part of your body.  Dr. Floyd Chilton of Wake Forest Baptist Health School of Medicine in North Carolina says, and I quote here, "If the haywire inflammatory process happens in the heart, you wind up with heart disease; if it happens in the joints it's arthritis; in the brain, it might be dementia."  Widespread inflammation can be a sympton of lupus, an autoimmune, chronic inflammatory condition.  It is also widely believed by the medical community that chronic inflammation plays a significant role (either as a cause or effect) in many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Chron's disease, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.  The last three are America's top 3 killers.

It is recommended that we drink green tea daily.  Green tea is full of potent antioxidants that help stop inflammation.  If you suffer from arthritis, as an example, would you believe something as simple as a few cups of green tea daily could help you battle the disease?  That is a fairly inexpensive and simple medicine!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Other than the fact that a wound, etc can become inflammed, most of us don't really know much about inflammation.  Inflammation, however, is a health hazzard that contributes to every major chronic condition from heart disease to cancer to diabetes.  There is "good" or acute inflammation where the white blood cells temporarily marshall to shield a cut, wound, etc.  This inflammation is a protector so to speak.  Then there is "Systemic" or chronic inflammation and that is not a good thing.  With systemic inflammation, the white cells essentially move into tissues inapproprately and cause destruction.  As a person with a wacky immune system, believe me I have my battles with inflammation.  Since systemic inflammation can cause us so many aches, pains, and serious health problems, we will spend a few posts discussing it.  One thing to remember is this quote from Christopher P. Cannon, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet; "Eating well is a really powerful tool against inflammation.  An anti-inflammatory diet is actually not a terribly complicated diet."  Start by cutting back on unhealthy things such as saturated fat, sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods.  Then ramp up the healthy foods in your diet.  Dr. Cannon says to start by adding more foods to your diet that help alleviate and prevent inflammation, such as foods high in omega-3s, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


If nectarines are not currently included on your food list, you might want to add them.  Nectarines are a good source of immunity-boosting Vitamin C, potassium - essential for blood pressure control, etc, and Vitamin A which is important for eye health.  When buying nectarines, pick ones that are fragrant and give slightly when lightly squeezed.  You can't go by color as there are many varities of nectarines that look ripe when they aren't.  You can ripen a firm nectarine by setting in on the kitchen counter in a paper bag.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Does Olive Oil Expire?

Olive oil may not necessarily expire but the potency does.  If you are using olive oil for its health benefits, you need to be aware that the potency of antioxidants decline by 40% after 6 months.  It is sensitive to oxygen, heat, and light.  If you don't use olive oil often, buy the small bottles instead of the large ones.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Your mother was right, you need to eat your vegetables.  And that includes the green ones!  Just 1/2 cup of cooked spinach has 100% off the daily requirement of vitamins A & K.  If you don't like spinach, there are easy ways to include it without just eating a serving of spinach.  Include it in soups, stir-fries, etc.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The latest numbers show that 1.2 million people in the United States have a heart attack each year!  With that in mind, do you know the signs of a heart attack?  Everyone is different and there are some differences in men and women having heart attacks but here are some basic signs of heart attack:
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, neck, jaw, stomach, one or both arms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
When my uncle had his fatal heart attack, his symptom was breaking out in a cold sweat that soon had his clothes soaked.  Both my mother and myself had the symptom of nausea. So I know from experience that not all heart attacks cause chest pain.

Any of these symptoms could be caused by something other than a heart attack and perhaps that is why so many put off calling 911 or getting to the hospital or doctor.  Never ignore these symptoms; it is always better to be safe than sorry! And the sooner you seek treatment the better.  As Jamee Gatzemeier, chest pain coordinator at the Baylor Regional Medical Center in Grapevine (my hometown) stated, "Time is muscle when you're talking chest pain.  The faster a person can get to a hospital for treatment during a heart attack, the more muscle will be saved."

Be aware and if you or a loved one show symptoms of a heart attack, seek help immediately!
Photo Courtesy of Baylor Hospital System

Friday, May 4, 2012


Almost all of us get too much salt (sodium) in our daily diets.  If you say you don't salt the food on your place, that is not good enough.  Read food labels when buying packaged products!  About 75% of the salt in our diets comes from packaged foods.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Do you peel potatoes then toss out the peels?  If you do, you are throwing out about half the fiber of the potato.  Instead, make sure to scrub potatoes well then make potato peel crisps with the discarded peelings.  To do this place the peels on a baking sheet and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil or canola oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a little cayenne pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp.  Almost all of us need to increase the fiber in our diets!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Studies have shown a 46% decrease in heart disease risk for people who eat the most whole grains.  Whole-grains should also be used by diabetics. You can easily add more whole-grains to your diet by making some simple changes.  I made many of these changes when I was diagnosed with diabetes and my family didn't even notice.
  • Switch from white rice to brown rice
  • Use only whole-grain pastas
  • When you buy breads, read the label.  Wheat bread does not mean whole-grain.  If it is whole-wheat, the ingredients list will state whole-wheat.
This is just 3 simple ways to add whole-grains to your diet.  There are many more.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The following information is from Toby Smithson, RD, Spokesperson for American Dietetic Association:  Flaxseed should be used ground.  Grinding flaxseed means you willl absorb more of the nutritional benefits - including omega 3s.  The whole seeds may pass through your system undigested. 
Tip: Use a coffee grinder to grind whole seeds.  Whole seeds may be kept in the refrigerator for several months.  Grind as needed to sprinkle on cereals, oatmeal, yogurt, salads, soups.

Personal tip from Linda: I use ground flaxseed all the time to replace some of the fats in butter, shortening, etc in baking.