Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DANGERS OF REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS

Personally I am not big on reusable grocery bags.  Yes, I do recycle and I am in favor of doing so.  However I am not one of the people who think we are going to drown in garbage so I do not use reusable grocery bags.  But I know many of you do.  If you do use the reusable bags, are you keeping them clean or do you empty them, fold them and take off with them again?  A recent survey found that of those who use such bags, 85% do not clean them!  These bags can pick up illness-causing bacteria from unwashed and uncooked foods!  If you use these bags, do youself and your family a favor and wash them with hot soapy water after use.  Don't make yourself or a family member sick to "save the environment."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CUTTING BUTTER IN BAKING

You can cut back on the butter in your baked goods in a heart-healthy way without affecting the final product.  In almost all recipes, you can cut the amount of butter in half by substituting heart-healthy canola oil for half of the butter.  You will still have a final product that is tasty but it will be healthier!  Yes, I said almost all recipes.  Use your common sense.  You cannot make buttercream icing for example with canola oil!


You can make healthy baked goods.  My granddaughter is holding a very healthy cake she made.

Monday, October 29, 2012

MORE ABOUT WATER

So you aren't able to handle 8 to 10 glasses of water a day?  A few months ago I wrote an article on this blog about eating water.  If you didn't see it, check the archives and read it.  The average person can get around 20% of their daily water needs from foods.  Some produce, for example, is loaded with water.  Think cucumbers, melons, etc.  And how about this little surprise; cooked rice and white chicken breast ends up being over 50% water. 

Caution: Beware of flavored waters.  Again, read the nutrition labels.  You might be surprised to find that there is more sugar in your flavored water than there is in some candy bars.  You want flavored water?  Add some fresh fruit slices, berries, or a slice of citrus to your water glass.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

IMPORTANCE OF WATER

Almost all of us know we need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, even though many of us don't do it!  But do you know why?  How about this?  The experts say water is second only to oxygen as essential to life itself!  Is that reason enough for you? No, you want more reasons?  Check the bullets below.
  • Water decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%.
  • A lack of water is one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue!
  • Water reduces fat deposits in the body. 
  • Water helps maintain proper muscle tone.
  • Water reduces the risk of bladder cancer by 50%.
The above bullets are just a few of the ways water is helpful to the body. 

One thing we should do that most people say they don't even think of doing is to drink at least one glass of water right after getting up in the morning.  Remember we aren't talking about a 16-oz glass.  A glass that holds a cup of water counts as a glass.

Do your body a big favor and drink plenty of water!

This is my favorite water cup.  Yes I know it is out of season but I don't care.  It kept my water cold all summer even in the triple digit temps.  I fill it every morning and refill it often through the day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

INFANTS AND IRON

If your infant is on formula, you might want to ask your pediatrician if you should be using an iron-fortified formula.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it for the first year.  A University of Michigan study found that children who had severe iron deficiency as infants scored lower on cognitive and motor tests in their teenage years.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A LITTLE ADVICE ABOUT FOOD LABELS

We  have laws that require food manufacturers to follow rules when making claims on food products.  But do you know what the statements really mean?  Here is a list of some of the common ones and what is required for a product to meet that standard:
  • Fat-free - less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving with no added fat or oil
  • Low-fat - 3 grams or less of fat per serving
  • Calorie-free - less than 5 calories per serving
  • Low-calorie - 40 calories or less per serving
  • Sugar-free - Less than 0.5 grams of sugar (any type) per serving
Now here is the trick they use on us who try to eat healthy.  While a product may follow the standards for the chosen label, say fat-free, it is often too high in another area.  For instance a product can carry the sugar-free label and still be very high in fat or vice versa.  One product is often used to make up for the lack of the stated ingredient so the product will still have "taste appeal". 

 
The main thing is that you are aware of these marketing tricks and read the nutritional label even on products that state one of the above facts on the label.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MORNING BOOST

Give your morning metabolism a boost by switching out one cup of coffee for a cup of green tea.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FOR A QUICK HEALTHY BREAKFAST....

If you are in a big hurry to get out the door, you should still take time to eat a healthy breakfast.  Next time this happens to you (not everyday, I hope!), grab a 6-oz carton of plain Greek Yogurt.  Toss in a few chopped almonds or walnuts and/or some fresh berries or fruit.  This takes very little time, is healthy, and it is low in calories.  The yogurt is 100 calories + what you add in with nuts and/or fruit.  Your body will thank you and you will feel better than if you grab a high-calorie, sugar-laden snack.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CHIA SEEDS

A study by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Chia, a nutrient rich snack and cereal topper, can take the edge off midmorning food cravings.  Findings showed that the participants who ate between 7 and 24 grams of white chia seeds baked into bread were less hungry and BONUS, had lower blood sugar levels after meals.  You can add chia quickly by sprinkling over oatmeal, etc.

This picture is not an endorsement of this particular product.

Monday, October 22, 2012

VITAMINS IN PEPPERS

Scientist and nutrionists have found that all peppers, whether the hot ones or the sweet ones, contain good levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene which is related to vitamin A.  That is good news since these are known as "healing" vitamins!  But the levels of vitamins in these peppers do vary.  Keep the following tidbits in mind regarding peppers:
  1. Peppers allowed to mature from green to red have twice as much vitamin C as when they were green, ie - red sweet bell peppers have 11 times the amount of beta carotene of green bell peppers.  Hot red peppers have even more beta carotene than sweet peppers or hot green peppers.
  2. Peppers are so easy to add to your diet.  In addition to just eating them raw, they make perfect additions to soups, salads, dips, sandwiches, etc.  There is an unbelievable health benefit just in the addition of a few peppers added to your foods.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

FIBER IN BREAKFAST CEREAL

Doctors and nutrionists tell us we should stay away from any breakfast cereals that contain less than 5 grams of fiber per serving.  (And remember, you need 25 grams of fiber a day!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

FIBER TO REDUCE BREAST CANCER RISK?

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, studies have found that getting 25 grams of fiber per day may reduce breast cancer risk by 11%.  As a breast cancer survivor, let me assure you that even "may" is worth keeping in mind.  If you aren't currently doing so, start reading nutrition labels, increase the fresh fruits and veggies in your diet, etc to aim for 25 grams of fiber per day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ADD PUREED VEGGIES TO SOUPS & STEWS

According to an article last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add pureed vegetables to soups and stews to cut back on calories.  Researchers found in a clinical study that persons whose dishes were 1/4 pureed vegetables ate 357 fewer calories a day.

This is also a good way to get children to eat vegetables they think they don't like!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TIPS FROM JOSLIN DIABETES CENTER

According to information from the renowned Joslin Diabetes Center the following are ways to help us diabetics control our weight and blood sugar levels.
  1. Aim for 1500 calories per day broken day similar to this: 400 to 600 calories for Breakfast, 400 to 500 calories for Lunch, 350 to 450 calories for Dinner, and snacks of 50 to 200 calories each.  NOTICE breakfast should be the most calories and dinner the least.  For most of us, we do exactly the opposite!
  2. Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
  3. Eat a moderate carb diet of approximately 15 g carbs on a 1500 calories diet.
  4. Eat enough protein.  Get your protein from lean meats, poultry, fish, low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheeses, beans, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables.
Beans and legumes are good sources of protein.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

APPLES FOR EATING AND BAKING

I heard the other day that apples are a dollar more per pound this Fall than last Fall due to the drought this year.  One way you might save a few bucks is to buy only apples that are just as good for cooking as for eating.  The experts say Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Granny Smith apples are all good for eating raw and for cooking and baking.

Monday, October 15, 2012

DR. TRAVIS STORK ON PREVENTING COLDS

Dr. Travis Stork is not only a popular TV personality from the show The Doctors, he is also an ER physcian.  He says one of the best ways to prevent colds and flu is to avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth before washing your hands.  This is a quote from Dr. Travis.

"If I shake hands with people, I don't rub my eyes unti I've washed my hands.  I think it's one of the reasons I rarely get sick.  I haven't had the flu since I was a kid."

An important reminder to us all as we head into cold and flu season!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

FIBER - PART II

Continuing with yesterday's post where I posted Dr. Agatston's quotes on fiber.  Keep the following thoughts in mind when determining if a product is loaded with fiber or faux fiber:
  • Be aware of packaging hype!  Look for the total amount of fiber listed on the nutritional label.  By the way, both soluable and insoluable fiber are healthful.  Once you determine the total amount of fiber, read the ingredients to see where your fiber is coming from.  The more "real" and recognizable the sources, the better for you.
  • Add your own fiber to foods.  This is so easy to do and can quickly become a normal routine.  Sprinkle some raw oats on baked goods such as bread, crisps, pies, cobblers, etc.  Add beans to soups, stews, casseroles.  The same for frozen or fresh peas.  Toss a handful into soups, stews, and casseroles.  This is an easy and tasty way to insure fiber in your diet.
Choose the way that works best for you but be sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet.  It is important to your overall health.
 
Fresh peas add 9 grams of fiber per cup.

Friday, October 12, 2012

CARDIOLOGIST DR. ARTHUR AGATSTON ON FIBER

Cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston is the author of The South Beach Diet, in case you aren't familiar with his name.  He has said that fiber can lower your risk of heart disease by 40%!  He continues by saying fiber can also cut your risk of developing diabetes by nearly 30%.  While not giving percentages, Dr. Agatston says fiber can also signigicantly reduce blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol.  After listing these benefits of fiber he also issues a warning; beware of "fiber additives" which some food companies use to make their products appear more wholesome and healthful.  He says these "fiber additives" are sometimes isolated from their natural sources and other are synthesized.  One way to detect these additives is their unnatural-sounding names, such as inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose among others.  Dr. Agatston is quoted as saying, "I doubt these additives impart the same advantages as naturally-fiber-rich foods.  As researchers are finding with other supplements, when a nutrient is removed from its natural food source (or when its beneficial properties are synthesized), healthful effects can diminish."

As I have stated repeatedly on this blog, read the nutritional and ingredients lists on packaging!  If buying a product for its fiber values, look for the words "whole-grain," "oats," "nuts," "seeds," etc.

 
Whole Grains Are Excellent Sources of Fiber.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

WATER FOR DIETERS

Probably anywho who has ever dieted realizes you have to drink lots of water!  A recent study from researchers at Virginia Tech University shows that the dieters who drank 2 cups of water before meals lost 15.5 lbs over 3 months.  Those who drank the water had a 44% increase in weight loss over those who did not drink the water.  Now why wouldn't anyone want to do something so simple to shed a few excess pounds?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CHOOSING GRANOLA BARS

Granola is very popular today but there is so much difference in the different kinds and/or brands.  Granola bars have become very popular in our "grab and go" society.  That is not necessarily a bad thing but not necessarily a good one either!  Learn to read the labels and know what you should be looking for when you do!

Being a diabetic, I always look for two things, sugar grams and fiber grams (which usually come from whole grains such as oats).  These are things you should check out, too, whether or not you are diabetic. 

Pictured below are some of the most popular granola bars.  You can see the differences just in these three.  Whatever brand or type you use, read the labels and be sure you aren't loading your body down with excess sugar and/or "couch potato"* calories.


Never choose a granola bar with more than 200 calories (unless told by your doctor to do so for health reasons).  In the above bars, there are 140 calories in the NV Trail Mix Bar and the Kashi TLC bar.  The NV Oats 'N Honey bar has 190 calories.  So all three are good in the calorie department but there is a 50 calorie difference.

Sugar can be concealed with some tricky names such as brown rice syrup, organic evaporated cane juice, etc.  We hear constantly that we should eat brown rice and the word "organic" is constantly thrown at us so those trick ad people know how to package sugar under a healthy banner. Remember to check  the nutritional numbers where you will get the total sugar grams number.  Again, there is a wide difference in the sugar grams of the three healthy bars above.  The Trail Mix Bar has 14 grams sugar, the Kashi bar comes in lowest in sugar with 6 grams.  The Oats 'N Honey bars comes in with 12 grams sugar.

Fiber is important for two reasons.  Fiber makes you feel full longer and it is essential for keeping toxins removed from the body.  Again, all three of the bars differ in fiber grams.  The Trail Mix bar has 1 gram of fiber, the Kashi bar has 4 grams of fiber, and the Oats 'N Honey bar has 2 grams of fiber.

As I continually repeat on this blog, read the labels and know what you should be looking for.  When purchasing granola bars, make sure the first ingredient listed is a whole grain; oats is a good example.

I have a great homemade granola recipe on my blog at http://diabeticenjoyingfood.blogspot.com  You can use it to make your own homemade granola bars if you are really industrious!

Monday, October 8, 2012

CLAIMS ON EGG CARTONS

When you shop for eggs you may wonder about some of the claims on the cartons.  Eggs like every other product on the market are victims of advertising.  To help you cut through some of the claims, remember this:
  • Omega-3 eggs.  This means the hens that laid the eggs eat a diet that contains flaxseeds.  Therefore the eggs may be higher in these heart-healthy fatty acids.
  • Vegetarian-fed.  This does not change the nutritional value of the eggs.  This may, however, be important to true vegetarians.
  • Hormone-free.  There are no hormone products approved for egg production so all eggs should be hormone-free.  This is just an advertising trick.
  • Cage-Free or Range.  This indicates the hens may have more humane treatment than those crowded in cages or commercial "coops".  The industry is so poorly regulated that this claim may not mean much.
If you prefer eggs with one of these titles, more power to you.  This is not to play down these titles but to simply let one know what they really mean.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SMALL OR LARGE EGGS-BASED ON THE HEN

This is not really nutritional information just a tidbit of trivia, which I love.  Did you know the size of the egg depends on the age of the hen?  Young hens lay small eggs.  The older the hen, the larger the egg!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

TOXINS

Our bodies are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis.  We consume toxins when we eat fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue, we get mercury from fish, much of what we eat is food that has chemicals added for preservation, etc. Our foods also contain food dyes, chemical flavorings, and food additives.  We all get these things into our bodies no matter how carefully you think you watch what you eat!

We also breathe toxins into our bodies no matter where you live.  Our cars, factories, etc release methane and carbon monoxide into our air.  Smokers cause carcinogens to be released by their cigarette smoke.  All of us breathe this  air.  It is impossible to breathe and not take toxins into your body.

 We drink toxins, too.  Some of the toxins in our drinking water include methane, bleach, and ammonia.  Swim?  Chlorine along with other chemicals are in the water and are absorbed by the skin and swallowed by swimmers at times.

Our bodies, however, are made to detoxify themselves.  That is why we have a liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, etc.  Their role is to keep our bodies detoxified by using our circulatory, digestive, and lymphatic systems.  What you eat and drink has a huge part to play in how well these systems are able to do their jobs.  Unless recommended by your doctor, you do not need to use cleansing fasts, diets, products, etc (in fact they could be harmful!).  But you do need to eat properly and keep your body hydrated!  Below are some natural, healthy ways for you to keep your body cleansed.  I'm sure there are many more but here are a few of the basic ones:
  • Drink plenty of water.  A glass or bottle of water a day will not cut it.  You need to have 6 to 8 glasses a day!
  • Drink green tea.  Green tea is an antioxidant that washes toxins from the body.  It also contains a special antioxidant, catechins, which is believed to increase liver function.  Remember, liver is one of our natural detoxification systems. Make a habit of having some green tea everyday.  Whether you drink it hot or cold, remember to include it in your daily diet.
  • Make sure you are eating healthy fiber everyday.  An apple is a good example.  Not only does an apple have fiber (eat the peel), it has a high water content to help with hydration.  Fiber is essential to keep your colon cleansed therefore eliminating toxins from your digestion system.
  • Eat raw food everyday.  Raw food is food that is not processed or cooked to death.  Fruits, nuts, veggies, etc should be included in your diet everyday. 
  • Include seeds in your diet.  Snack on or add to baked goods, cereals, etc the following; flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Omega-3 oils help lubricate the intestinal walls.  Toxins become absorbed by the oils and thus eliminated from the body.  Include olive, canola, and/or flax seed oils in your diet.  Also the oils in avocado are omega-3s.  Certain fish are also high in omega-3s.
  • Garlic stimulates the liver to produce detoxification enzymes.  These enzymes help to filter toxins from the digestive system.  Learn to flavor foods with fresh garlic.
Read this article over two or three times if necessary but get these ideas ingrained into your psyche so they become an everyday part of your diet.  You will be doing your body a huge favor and it will respond by making you feel better and be healthier.  You only get one body.  It is up to you to take care of it.

Are these foods a regular part of your diet?  If they aren't, they should be!



Friday, October 5, 2012

REFRIGERATING EGGS

You should refrigerate eggs as soon as you get home with them.  Eggs will lose more of their nutritional qualities in 1 day at room temperature than they will in 7 days in the refrigerator.


APPLES

Did you know that more than 2500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States?  Some of the most popular ones are red delicious, golden delicious, gala, Granny Smith, and Rome.  No matter which variety you choose, apples are a good for you food.  However, if you think eating an apple a day will take care of your vitamin C needs as many people do, think again.  The average apple provides only around 8 mg of vitamin C; that is only 13% of the daily recommended allowance.  In addition to the vitamin C, apples are a good source of fiber and the skins contain small amounts of beta carotene and the meat of the apple also contains some amounts of potassium and iron.

Apples are good fruits for diabetics.  The naturally occuring sugar in apples is Fructose which absorbs into the blood stream slower than sucrose otherwise know as simple table sugar.

Biting and chewing on an apple (an active calorie food, by the way!) stimulates the gums and prompts an increased flow of saliva which helps to reduce tooth decay by lowering levels of bacteria in the mouth.

Best to eat your apples fresh rather than dried.  It takes about 5 lbs of apples to produce 1 lb dried which contain about 70 calories per ounce.  When apples are dried, most of their nutrients are lost with the exception of fiber and a small amount of iron.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

FOOD FOR IMPOTENCE

For men who are dealing with erectile dysfunction, you might want to try a couple of "kitchen" solutions before turning to drugs. 
  • A study last year in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that men who drank pomegranate juice for 4 weeks had improved scores on an erectile dysfunction assessment.
  • Turkish researchers also reported studies showed that eating 100 grams (3 1/2-ounces) of pistachio nuts a day for 3 weeks improved E.D. with no side effects.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DEBUNKING A COUPLE OF MYTHS

In spite of what you may have heard all your life, doctors say and research shows the following myths are just that; myths.  There is no data to prove either myth true!

  • Myth 1 - Eating fried foods causes acne.  No studies have been able to link the two.
  • Myth 2 - Eating chocolate leads to an acne breakout.  Studies find no correlation between the two.
So enjoy your fried foods and chocolate without fear of a facial breakout.  However, too much fried food and too much chocolate are neither one good for you in other ways.  Eat both with moderation.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

BENEFITS OF BROCCOLI

Your mother was right; eat your vegetables.  That is especially true for green vegetables.  While all the green vegetables are good for you, broccoli is one you should eat regularly whether you like it or not!  Broccoli ia an excellent source of vitamin C.  It is a good source of vitamin A and folate.  It is a significant source of protein, calcium, iron, and other minerals.  Broccoli is also rich in bioflavonoids and other plant chemicals that protect against cancer.  In fact, while other cruciferous vegetables are protective, broccoli seems to have more cancer-fighting compounds than the others.  Some of these compounds block the action of hormones that stimulate tumors; others work by inhibiting tumor growth or by boosting the action of protective enzymes.  The bioflavonoids and other antioxidants found in broccoli are substances that protect against mutation and damage from unstable molecules.

Other benefits of broccoli are that it is high in fiber and low in calories!

If you don't like broccoli, think of it as a natural protector for your body and learn to eat it for your health's sake.

Monday, October 1, 2012

THE COLOR OF YOUR PLATE?

If you are trying to cut back on how much you eat, you may want to give some thought to the color of your plate!  That's right; the color of your plate may determine how much you eat!  Research has shown that you should eat foods on a contrasting color plate.  For example, eat pasta with a marinara sauce on a white plate.  When you can clearly see how much food you are taking and therefore eating, you tend to take less.  In fact research has shown that when we clearly see how much food we are taking, we generally cut back by 21%!

Check out your plates and be sure you have white plates and other solid color plates.  Forget the big floral, etc plates where food becomes "lost" in the background which makes it easier to keep piling it on without noticing how much you are actually taking.  We are trained from an early age to eat what is on our plate so it is important not to put too much on the plate.

This is another little trick to put in your weight-loss, weight-maintaining mental file.  There are so many little tricks you can use instead of ridiculous diets that deprive your body of the nutrients you need.

You can see for yourself in the picture examples below how food can "get lost" on the printed plates and be very obvious on the plain plate.