Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CUT BACK ON FAST FOOD TO HELP WITH ASTHMA?

A study published in Thorax analyzed 50,000 children from around the world over a 10-year period and found that eating three or more burgers a week could boost a child's risk of having asthma. The risk was prevented or greatly lowered when the children were fed a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and fish. Those foods are low in saturated fats and are packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties.

If you or your child have asthma and you eat fast food several times a week, I suggest trying to get more of the fish, fruits, and veggies into your diet. You just might breathe easier!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CAN DIABETICS EAT 'REGULAR' FOOD?

One of the most common myths surrounding diabetes is that diabetics have to eat 'special' food. Diabetics can eat mostly the same foods that others eat but it is better for diabetics and others to follow certain guidelines. Some of those guidelines are whole-grain products rather than refined products, lower sugar amounts, and portion control. In this post I will stress portion control, especially with desserts. If a diabetic wants to eat a piece of 'regular' pie for example that pie should be cut into 8 slices, not 6! If served a larger slice, cut it in half before starting to eat. A piece of 'regular' fudge should be cut into a very small square not a 1-inch square. If I am served a piece of layer cake I ask for a thin slice then I cut off the bottom layer with the filling and only eat either the bottom or the top. You can see how easy it is to cut portion size, all you need is willpower.

Please note this information applies to the average diabetic. If you have a serious blood sugar problem you may have to eliminate sweets altogether. You and your doctor should discuss your diet.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

FYI

Just a simple FYI for those who may not know. Both milk and yogurt are very good sources of calcium and of protein even when they are fat-free.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WHY DO WE NEED FIBER IN OUR DIETS?

Here is a list of some of the reasons it is important to have fiber in our diets. If you have any of these problems perhaps you should increase your fiber intake. Nutrition labels on food products list the fiber quantity.


  1. Helps control blood sugar levels.
  2. Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
  3. Reduces blood pressure.
  4. Helps with weight loss.
  5. Helps prevent constipation and diarrhea.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

BANANAS FOR DIABETICS

There is always confusion about whether or not diabetics can eat bananas. Personally, I eat them often and cook/bake with them all the time and I never have a blood sugar problem from them (yes, I am diabetic). I do, however, eat them just barely ripe and I only eat a small to medium one. I make banana bread but add cinnamon and nuts, both blood sugar stabilizers. I also make banana pudding using Splenda and I use the just barely ripe bananas in it.  Here are some facts from Amy Reeder, registered dietition, about bananas.


  • Bananas are a healthy way to get nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
  • Bananas do contain carbohydrates.
  • Bananas are sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and fat-free.
  • Counting the carbs in a banana is tricky because it depends on the size and the ripeness of each banana. This chart will help you figure the carb grams in bananas based on size:
6 inches or less: 18.5 grams
6-7 inches: 23 grams
7-8 inches: 27 grams
8-9 inches: 31 grams
9 inches or larger: 35 grams
  • If a medium banana has 31 g carbs this would be the breakdown: 19 g would be sugar, 11 would be starch and that includes 3 g of fiber.
  • Bananas are considered low glycemic index foods. A medium banana has a glycemic index of 51(anything under 55 is low glycemic). But as with carb grams, glycemic index numbers change with the banana depending on its ripeness. Check the chart that follows:
Medium fully ripe = 51 gi
Medium under ripe (still some green on peel) = 42 gi
Medium over-ripe (some brown spots starting to appear on peel) = 48 gi
  • Plantains are members of the banana family. Plantains fall into the green banana catagory and are eaten cooked, usually fried.
  • Note: Be cautious of dried banana chips as they usually have a higher sugar and fat content due to preparation. Read labels carefully and it you eat them, eat them with nuts.

MAKE SIMPLE CHANGES WITH SLOW COOKER COOKING

This is a message I received from an email today. I thought it was very interesting and simple to do. I am going to try it, why don't you try it, too?

This is called a 'Slow-Cooker Switcheroo'.

Halve the amount of starch (potatoes, pasta, rice, etc), double the veggies, use the amount of protein called for in the recipe to make healthier meals.

Brian Wansank, Ph.D. did a study some time ago trying to teach people to use slow-cookers to produce healthy meals. They asked participants to cook a recipe in a slow-cooker and report back as to how it tasted. The next week, they asked the same people to prepare the same recipe with the same amount of meat but to double the vegetables and to half the starch (see above). When the participants came back and were questioned the next week they reported they didn't notice any difference in taste.

Bottom line, you can halve the starch, double the vegetables and not notice a difference in taste but your meal with be healthier. So if you are tired of grilled chicken and steamed veggies, get out the slow-cooker and change your recipe around a little.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ANOTHER IMPORTANT REASON TO EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST

Yes, eating breakfast is important to get your body adjusted to its daytime regimen. But it is also important that you eat a healthy breakfast. Forget that Danish or doughnut and eat something healthy. It has been shown that eating a healthy breakfast can help keep short-term memory and attention at top performance levels all day long. (Remember this when sending the kids off to school!) Some of the superstar foods for the brain are high-fiber whole grains, lean protein, and whole fruit, all healthy breakfast foods. And have a cup of coffee or hot tea with that breakfast. The mild stimulant found in coffee and some teas improves mental acuity and boosts your ability to concentrate. Note: Many teas do not actually contain tea. Drink one that does in the morning, you can enjoy other teas later in the day.


BASIC HEALTHY EATING HABITS

If you follow this blog you know I have several auto-immune diseases including diabetes. Since my diabetes diagnosis at age 60 I have done extensive nutritional research and sucessfully learned to control my diabetes and improve my overall health. At age 67 I am healthier than I have ever been, including as a child. I do not have to follow a yucky diet as many may believe and you don't have to, either. I eat small meals about every 4 hours and I watch what I eat and how it is prepared. I try not to eat anything after 7 pm. If I need something I make sure it is a small quantity of a healthy food. I have gone from a blood sugar level of almost 500 at my diagnosis to an average of around 100 daily. I take 1 pill a day for by blood sugar and do the rest with diet. It is amazing how this has improved my overall health. My cholesterol is about half what it used to be and I have gone from extremely high liver enzymes to normal. I have routine blood work every 3 months to follow up and it continues to be excellent. If you are interested in improving your health here are some simple guidelines to follow:

  • Eat a variety of foods. Do not drop any particular catagory of foods without discussing it with your doctor first.
  • Watch your portions. You can eat too much even of a good thing!
  • Read food labels. Know what you are eating! Check calories, carbs, protein, fat (avoid trans fats), sodium amounts on everything you buy.
  • Eat on a regular basis, no skipping meals.
  • Eat small meals several times a day instead of large meals once or twice a day.
  • Always eat breakfast. The word breakfast means breaking the fast. This is how your body knows you are up and it needs to leave sleep mode.
  • Match the amount you eat to your activity level. Don't eat for mountain climbing if you will be sitting at a desk all day!
By practicing healthy eating habits you will quickly see how easy it is and how much your health (and weight loss is usually an added bonus) improves.



Monday, October 13, 2014

FORGET DIETING, EAT HEALTHY

I shudder everytime I hear someone say they are going on some expensive diet. That is so silly and usually a waste of money. You don't need to be on some fad diet or buying into a diet program. If you want to be healthy and/or lose weight, all you have to do is change your eating habits and develop a healthier lifestyle. Would you believe that studies show one out of three women and one out of four men, at any given time, are on some diet. And guess what? Yes, it is true that within one year two-thirds of those dieters will regain the weight they lost and almost 100% regain the weight in five years. Don't allow yourself to get caught in the fad diet trap. Change your eating habits and that is not as hard to do as you may think. There are dozens of posts on this blog to assist you. And once you lose a little weight and start to feel better you will actually enjoy getting some exercise. Simple walking is a great exercise. You don't have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment to be healthy. Why not make up your mind right now to get started making those changes.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE TO EAT CHOCOLATE?

If you are one of the many chocoholics out there, I have good news for you. If you are always looking for any excuse to eat chocolate here is a good one for you. Dark chocolate (always eat dark chocolate) assists in the production of seratonin and can help ease you into sleep. But only a bite of dark chocolate, not a bag or bar! This is not an excuse to gorge on chocolate.




DID YOU KNOW ORANGES ARE DE-STRESSORS?

Everyone knows there are healthful benefits to eating oranges but did you know they cam also help relieve stress? According to a German study a few years ago in Psychopharmacology the vitamin C found in oranges boosts the immune system and helps regulate blood pressure after a stressful incident. Now you have another reason to reach for an orange.


EATING TO CONTROL STRESS - PART 4

Continuing my posts on 'Eating to Control Stress' we get into another catagory of foods and that is whole-grains. Yes, whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads and pasta can help you reduce stress. Dr. Judith J. Wurtman, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet has stated that serotonin can only be made when we have certain building blocks in our bloodstream. In order for tryptophan, vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acids to assist in the production of serotonin, you need carbohydrates. Carbs slow down the digestion process, giving the body time to release that feel-good chemical known as serotonin. Note: Be sure you are choosy healthy whole-grain carbs to avoid that big stressor - weight gain!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EATING TO CONTROL STRESS - PART 3

Today I am continuing to write about eating to control stress. Our society seems to be stressed to the max and some of that may be due to the fact that we grab quick meals, often fast food and we may not be eating properly in our stressed out state. Have you ever noticed that everyone feels rather lazy after the Thanksgiving meal? We usually blame it on eating too much, which we usually have to admit we actually did. But that may not the be reason we feel so relaxed. Turkey has an abundance of tryptophan, discussed in the previous articles, so after consuming a good amount of turkey most people find their mood has improved, they have less anxiety, and a reduced craving for carbs. This is due to a surge in serotonin and not only does it make us less stressed, eating turkey helps to build muscles. So don't save turkey just for the holidays. Enjoy it on a year-round basis especially if you need to destress.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

MORE ON EATING TO CONTROL STRESS

In yesterday's post I started discussing how what we eat can help us to control stress by supporting our serotonin levels. In that post we discussed eating spinach, avocado, brown rice, green peas, and collard greens. Today's post turns to fish oil and omega-3s. Nutritionists and many doctors recommend eating fish instead of taking supplements to get your fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish that are high on the list include tuna, salmon, sardines, and shellfish. In addition to being proven serotonin boosters, omega-3 fatty acids help us combat stress by increasing memory and cognitive performance as well.




Monday, October 6, 2014

EATING TO CONTROL STRESS

Yes, what you eat can have an effect on your level of stress. Medical research has shown that low serotonin, the chemical in our brains that regulates emotion, may be the main cause of anxiety and depression. Nutritionist DeAnna D. Irving has said that the serototin levels in the body can be depleted by stress and poor health if one isn't eating right. Serotonin is not found in food but is released into the bloodstream after the digestion of tryptophan, Vitamin B or Omega-3 fatty acids. Feeling a little stressed out? Try adding some of the foods that have large amounts of the previously mentioned nutrients to raise your serotonin levels without medication. One such food is Spinach. Spinach has high levels of vitamin B6 which helps to increase both energy and serotin levels. When you increase your energy and serotonin levels that can lead to better moods and overall better health. Don't like spinach? Avocado, brown rice, green peas, and collard greens are also rich in vitamin B6.