Breakfast and Brains
Since we have been discussing with the students the importance of breakfast in nutrition class, I thought I would emphasize the importance of it for everyone, particularly for our brains! Besides the fact that breakfast provides us with the energy to function properly, breakfast keeps our brain in check so we won't overeat. People who are typical breakfast skippers find they are more attracted to the higher calorie foods later in the day and on average will consume at least 20% more calories at lunch than those who ate in the morning. The reason is the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that processes the reward value of tastes and smells, becomes overstimulated when deprived of the breakfast fare.
I have had a couple people ask me about Qi'a. Qi'a, (prounounced Kee-ah) is a trio of power grains: chia, hemp and buckwheat (yes, it looks like birdseed:) It is gluten free, has no added sugar or salt, is high in soluble fiber and provides 6 grams of protein per serving. Two tablespoons (2Tbsp.) will give you a nutritional boost. It can be mixed on its own with milk to make a cereal, added to yogurt, fruit smoothies, oatmeal and soups, sprinkled on salads for an extra crunch or baked into your favorite muffin/cookie/bread recipe. It can be purchased at Whole Foods for $9.
Chocolate has gotten a lot of media coverage in recent years because it is believed it may help protect your cardiovascular system. The reason being that the cocoa bean is rich in flavonoids. Research shows these flavanoids have the potential to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and brain and make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
However, before you grab a candy bar, keep in mind not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps in order to reduce the strong, pungent taste it naturally has. The more chocolate is processed, the more flavanols are lost. It was once believed that dark chocolate contained the highest levels of flavanols, but depending on how it is processed, it may not be true. But for now, your best choices are dark chocolate over milk chocolate and cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing (treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).
Dairy gets all the credit for fortifying your frame, but there may be another food that can help you bone up: olive oil. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people who consumed a Mediterranean diet and used virgin olive oil for two years saw an increase in osteocalcin, a protein that marks bone growth. Those who didn't up their oil intake experienced no such bone growth. To safeguard your skeleton, drizzle olive oil on roasted veggies and breads. You can also use it to make homemade dressings. Eating olives was associated with an increase in osteocalcin as well!
We all know dark chocolate may be healthy for human hearts, but it's the most toxic food a dog can eat. Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that we can break down but dogs can't, causing them heart problems, seizures and sometimes death. Onions - along with garlic and chives - contain a chemical that breaks down red blood cells in dogs and cats, causing anemia. The toxic effect is the same whether the onion is cooked, raw, or in the form of flakes and powder. Also, grapes or raisins can be deadly to dogs since grapes can cause kidney failure, though no one knows exactly why. But, if your dog eats one or two grapes, don't worry, it takes quite a few!
Healthy Cereals 101
More than 100 kinds of cereal line grocery store aisles, so choosing a healthy one is quite the undertaking! Pay attention to the Big 3 - sugar, salt and fiber.
Sugar 7 grams or less per serving
Sodium 240 mg or less per serving
Dietary Fiber 3 or more grams per serving
Here are the top 9 cereals that meet all three criteria:
Post Bran Flakes
Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat
Bear Naked Granola
Barbara's Puffins (Original or Cinnamon)
Uncle Sam Strawberry Cereal
Familia Swiss Muesli (No sugar added)
|100 Calories of your Favorite Halloween Candy|
|Butterfinger||1 fun size bar|
|Snickers||1 1/3 fun size bars|
|Nestle Crunch||1 1/2 fun size bars|
|Kit Kat||2 fingers|
|Reeses' Cups||2 1/5 minis|
|Twix||2 1/2 minis|
|Twizzlers||2 2/3 strands|
|3 Musketeers||4 minis (the lowest fat!)|
|Hershey's Kisses||4 1/2 kisses|
|Swedish Fish||12 pieces|
|Candy Corn||13 pieces|
|Sour Patch Kids||13 1/3 pieces|
|M & Ms Plain||29 1/2 pieces|
Symptoms & Triggers
All of us at one time or another have gotten a headache, felt sluggish or even moody! If you are feeling this way more consistently than you wish, think about what you've been eating. Below are some possible food triggers for these symptoms:
Headaches - Food Sensitivity
Products such as deli meats, aged cheeses (like blue and sharp cheddar) and wine contain compounds that can set off headaches or migraines up to an hour later. If you're sensitive to them, exposure to certain chemicals in foods cause your nervous system to fire off pain signals, making your head throb.
Mood Swings - A low-carb diet
Unfortunately, swapping the bread on your sandwich for lettuce can cause the low-carbers anger, confusion, and depression. Without carbs, our happy hormone, serotonin, takes a dip and we experience cravings, depression and even sleep deprivation.
Low Energy - A high-fat meal
Consuming fatty foods can leave you mentally fatigued. Your body has to work overtime to digest the food. And if you go carb crazy, your insulin levels increase, which causes drowsiness.
When it's not drenched in butter and salt, popcorn is good for you! A generous 3-cup serving has less than 100 calories, as much fiber as a cup of cooked brown rice, and more antioxidants than a day's worth of fruits or vegetables, according to research from the University of Scranton. You can improve upon this healthy snack by using these health-boosting toppings to make the perfect munchie treat!
In a small bowl, drizzle 3 cups popped popcorn with 1 tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary and 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese then toss well to coat evenly.
Sugar 'n' Spice
In a small bowl, drizzle 3 cups popped popcorn with 1 tsp. flaxseed oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg and 1/8 tsp. salt; toss well to coat evenly.
In a small glass bowl, microwave 1 Tbsp. dark chocolate chips until just beginning to melt (about 45 seconds). Mix well with rubber spatula until chocolate is about three-quarters of the way melted; some lumps should remain. Put 3 cups popped popcorn in a medium bowl and top with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries and 1/8 tsp. salt; mix thoroughly. Place bowl in refrigerator for 10 minutes to harden chocolate.
Are Granola Bars Really a Good Snack?
Every store you enter seems to have rows of granola or snack bars touting how healthy they are for your body. Granola bars are a good-for-you snack, IF you choose carefully. Many of the options come loaded with calories and fat, being equivalent to a candy bar. Do your homework and examine the nutrition label. Select bars with at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 8 grams of sugar and 200 calories per serving. The top three are:
Nature Valley - Peanut, Almond & Dark Chocolate Protein Bar (I personally love these! It has a great dark chocolate flavor you wouldn't expect to find in a bar!)
190 calories/6 grams sugar/10 grams of protein!!!!!!
Kashi Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bar - (another personal favorite when I don't need chocolate!)
140 calories/6 grams sugar
Special K Chocolately Peanut Butter Bar - I haven't tried these:)
110 calories/7 grams sugar/4 grams protein
Good defense not only applies to football and basketball, but our bodies as well. As we begin the school year, here are five ways to boost your immunity. It’s not a must, but try to do all five steps for optimum health.
- Get More Sleep – Logging fewer than 7 hours of shut-eye may cause the body to release fewer infection-busting proteins, making you three times more likely to come down with a cold.
- Sip Some Tea – Chamomile tea contains anti-oxidants, as well as hippurate, an antibacterial compound.
- Start Moving – A brisk 20-minute walk once a day boosts the number of white blood cells, which attack germs, produce antibodies and devour bacteria.
- Smile On! – It’s a fact – Optimists have fewer colds. Sunny thoughts trigger a chemical cascade that wards off illness.
- Step Outside – Soak up some rays, which generate vitamin D, for 10 minutes a day. People with low levels of vitamin D have a 36% greater chance of getting sick.
If you’re feeling tense after a meeting or a little sluggish in the afternoon, try drinking some water. Even mild dehydration can take a toll on your mood, reports a new study in The Journal of Nutrition. When researchers had participants walk on a treadmill for 40 minutes, they found that losing as little as 1 percent of body weight in fluid led to decreases in mood, concentration, memory and energy. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty; keep a bottle of water close by and aim to down two liters a day.
A gluten-free lifestyle has been hailed as a solution for obesity and even ADHD, but it isn’t for everyone. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in carbohydrates such as wheat, barley and rye. While harmless for most, it causes significant discomfort for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Is Gluten-Free a healthier way to eat?
Only if you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten. This type of diet hasn’t been proven to treat other medical conditions and is not a weight-loss solution. Also, wheat alternatives aren’t always fortified, which means you could be missing out on key nutrients.
Should I Try It?
Talk to your doctor. He/she will advise if it’s right for you and provide nutritional advice. The good news is gluten-free no longer means giving up your favorite foods. A couple of top swaps:
Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins – Crispy crackers ready for dipping….Target $3
Bold Organic Gluten-Free Pizza – No-guilt pizza loaded with organic veggies….Whole Foods $8
Give a pint, save a life – but not before a tough workout or race. Participants’ aerobic power, which is a measure of how much oxygen muscles get, was decreased for up to three weeks after donating blood. That’s because your body needs time to replenish oxygen-carrying red blood cells. You don’t need a hiatus from the gym, however; It’s safe to exercise the next day and a standard, moderate workout won’t be affected.
Model Green Teas
It's difficult not to gush about green tea.
Green tea's antioxidants, called catechins, scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Grapes and berries, red wine, and dark chocolate also have potent antioxidants.
Because of green tea's minimal processing -- its leaves are withered and steamed, not fermented like black and oolong teas -- green tea's unique catechins, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), are more concentrated.
But there's still a question of how much green tea you need to drink to reap its health benefits. EGCG is not readily "available" to the body; in other words, EGCG is not always fully used by the body.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the upcoming arrival of Spring, EveryDay Food has recently handpicked the best bags and bottles green tea has to offer!
- Best Decaf - Salada Naturally Decaffeinated 100% Green Tea
- Best Original – Bigelow Green Tea
- Best Bottled – Snapple All Natural Green Tea
- Best Blended – Celestial Seasoning Gen Mai Cha Green Tea
- Best Flavored – Stash Premium Mangosteen Green Tea
15 – Number of minutes of moderate exercise needed daily to extend your life by three years.
Smart Heart/Healthy Mind
New research by both the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association found the same plaque buildup in the arteries that causes heart disease can also impact the brain. The heart and brain are linked by arteries that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients. When plaque builds up and arteries harden, they deprive the heart and brain of blood, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
A few simple choices can help protect your ticker and your cranium.
1 – Pick fish . Eating just one or two (4-ounce) servings of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout or sardines can cut your risk of dying from heart disease by 36% and your risk of a thrombotic stroke (caused by clogged arteries) by 51%.
2- Pour a glass of red wine. The polyphenols that lower cholesterol and blood pressure also prevent blood clots. One polyphenol, resveratrol, improves blood flow to the brain and makes the blood cells less sticky to prevent dangerous blood clots.
3 – Eat more produce. Potassium, a nutrient abundant in bananas, baked potatoes, tomatoes and artichokes may counteract the harmful effect of salt in our diets by helping prevent the artery walls from thickening, reducing blood pressure.
Purple potatoes may sound like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory, but they’re all natural and good for you. Eating violet spuds daily can help lower blood pressure because they contain high concentrations of antioxidants that have been show to relax blood vessels, according to University of Scranton researchers. For more bright bites and benefits:
Red (Blood) Oranges: Your body uses the ‘betacryptoxanthin’ (bay-ta-crip-toh-zan-thn) in them to make Vitamin A, which bolsters your immune system.
Yellow Carrots: Packed with lutein (naturally found in healthy eyes to block out the sun’s high energy blue light that damages eyes and skin).
Orange Honeydew: Contains 28% more beta-carotene than cantaloupe.
Green Cauliflower: Provides double the amount of Vitamin C found in the white kind; right up there with broccoli.
“Healthy” Foods That Aren’t
More and more “healthy” buzzwords are appearing on food labels. However, proceed with caution – just because a product lacks fat, gluten or sugar, doesn’t mean it’s healthier.
You may think it’s a healthy choice, but eating certain fat-free foods may cause you to gain weight, not lose it. A recent Purdue University study fed rats potato chips containing Olean (the no-calorie, fat-free fat substitute). The rats fed the Olean chips put on more weight than rats fed regular chips.
More research is needed, but experts think fat substitutes may interfere with your body’s natural ability to regulate how much food is enough, causing you to eat more.
If you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, think twice before going gluten-free. Ditching gluten doesn’t automatically make a product better for you. Gluten-free products vary greatly in the amount of fat, protein and other nutrients they contain. Some gluten-free breads have up to 13 times more fat, and 16 times more protein than others.
Along with being the worst food/beverage to consume, “diet” soda may not be holding up its end of the bargain weight-wise. People who drank two or more diet sodas daily had a 6 times greater increase in waist circumference than those who didn’t drink diet soda at all.
Lusciously Nutty Holiday Logs
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup plus 5 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 8 sheets phyllo dough, (9-by-14-inch), thawed
- Canola oil cooking spray
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
- To prepare logs: Combine nuts, 1/3 cup sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl.
- Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a clean, dry surface. Coat thoroughly with cooking spray. Top with another sheet of phyllo and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle one-quarter of the walnut mixture (about 1/3 cup) evenly over the phyllo.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the large phyllo rectangle lengthwise into 3 strips then in half crosswise to form 6 smaller rectangular strips.
- Beginning at the short ends, loosely roll each strip into a neat log. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and walnut mixture.
- Place the logs about 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with the remaining 5 teaspoons sugar.
- Bake the logs, in batches, until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
- To prepare topping: Place chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on High for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue to microwave for 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Transfer the chocolate to a plastic sandwich bag. Snip off one corner, being careful not to make the opening too large. Squeeze the melted chocolate decoratively across the top of each cooled log. Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze without the chocolate drizzle (Step 8) for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature before decorating with the chocolate drizzle.
Per cookie: 76 calories; 4 g fat ( 1 g sat , 1 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 31 mg sodium; 36 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2
Exchanges: 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 fat
Sugar alternatives have always been considered the ‘slim solution’. According to American Diabetic Association research this year, products that contain these sweeteners can be linked to an expanding waist size. One possible reason: These pseudo sugars trick your body into some of the same responses the real thing does. Here are the five (5) most popular:
Stevia – This powdered extract of the stevia plant is all natural and 200-400 times sweeter than sugar. Brands include Stevia Extract in the Raw and PureVia. Has not been studied extensively.
Saccharin (Sweet ‘N’ Low) - In the 1970s, animal studies led to this sweetener being labeled a carcinogen. However, no link was ever found in human studies and it was declared safe. Use no more than four (4) packets a day, though. Your body can’t digest it so too much leads to stomach issues.
Sucralose (Splenda)– Zero calories and 600 times sweeter than sugar, it is considered to be the safest of the lot. It is derived from real sugar, not chemical additives and has been heavily studied.
Aspartame (Equal & NutraSweet) – It is 200 times sweeter than sugar and once thought to be linked to cancer, although the FDA maintains it is not a health risk.
Agave – Naturally sweet plant syrup that can be up to 90% fructose – more than high fructose corn syrup. It is 25 % sweeter than sugar and has 20 calories per teaspoon. You won’t have to use as much. Blends well into liquids like coffee and tea.
When you think of venison, deer meat may be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the meat of elk, caribou, antelope, moose and pronghorn also qualifies as venison, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers breed many of these species for sale to restaurants or supermarkets, where they are gaining popularity for their lean nutritional profile.
The calorie and protein content of venison from deer, antelope, elk and pronghorn are similar, according to the University of Wyoming's Cooperative Extension Service. A 100 g serving of raw deer venison -- a portion that is approximately 3 oz. of cooked meat -- has 119 calories and 23 g of protein.
The same serving size of raw deer venison has 3 g of total fat and 54 mg of cholesterol -- approximately 18 percent of the American Heart Association's recommended daily cholesterol limit of 300 mg.
Below is a link to a site containing several venison recipes.
If I Get Hungry Late at Night, What is the Best Thing to Eat?
You want to eat foods that are slowly digested and not likely to cause indigestion or produce insulin surges, which can cause hunger once again! Opt for a 100- to 150-calorie snack that has at least three to four grams of fiber and some protein. Some ideas: a cup of sliced strawberries and a dozen almonds, or a slice of whole-wheat toast (or five whole-wheat crackers) topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Air-popped popcorn doesn't cut it in the fiber department, however, it can satisfy the need to munch mindlessly! Downing two cups is only 60 calories.
Which Halloween Candies are More Trick than Treat?
(HealthCastle.com) Halloween is the one night of the year when all kids (young and old) are focused on candy. We all know it's not health food, but the truth is that not all candies are created equal – even if they look and taste similar. So how do you know which candies will cause the least damage to the ghouls and goblins in your neighborhood this Halloween?
With big differences in calories, sugar, and quality of ingredients used, the fact is, choosing the right candy can reduce the health impact of your kid's trick-or-treat haul. None of them are exactly good for you, of course, but we've done some close analysis of 20 popular Halloween candies to see which options are best from a nutrition perspective. All of our analysis was based on Halloween-sized ("fun-sized") versions of the candy.
Halloween Candy Picks and Pans
For Peanut Fans: PayDay beats Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Based on the argument that peanut fans love real peanuts, PayDay is the clear winner here. Both bars have similar calories and sugar, but PayDay is the only candy we examined not to list sugar as the first ingredient. Instead, peanuts are found in the number-one spot. The Reese's Cups also contain polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), a commercial emulsifier used to reduce the amount of cocoa butter required and reduce manufacturing costs.
For Wafer Fans: Kit Kat beats Twix
They're similar in calories and sugar (and both include PGPR), but Twix’s ingredient list is surprisingly long. Even more surprising? Twix is marketed as a biscuit topped with caramel and chocolate, but there’s no caramel on the ingredient list. Instead, the caramel is likely made from solid oil with flavorings.
For Mini-Candy Fans: M&Ms beat Skittles
Both of these shiny mini-candies contain artificial colorings, wax, and a super-long list of ingredients. Hello, Yellow 5 and Red 40! M&Ms at least offer a tiny amount of calcium and protein instead of a sugar rush - they have about 10% less sugar than Skittles.
For Nougat Fans: Baby Ruth beats Snickers
Unfortunately, there's no real winner here – we found partially hydrogenated oil on Snickers' ingredient list, while Baby Ruth has high-fructose corn syrup and the preservative TBHQ. In this case, Snickers loses out simply because the portion is larger, leaving room for 50% more calories.
For Coconut Fans: Mounds beats Almond Joy
Mounds uses semi-sweet instead of milk chocolate, which means the chocolate has a higher concentration of cocoa solids and less sugar. Mounds also has a shorter ingredient list, and skips the partially hydrogenated oil found in Almond Joy.
For Straight-Up Chocolate Fans: 3 Musketeers beats Hershey's Milk Chocolate
For those looking for a straight chocolate taste, these choices offer similar calories. 3 Musketeers wins partly because it skips the sneaky PGPR found in the Hershey's bar. But its main winning feature is that it was unique among the candies we surveyed in actually including real cocoa powder - a great item to see on the ingredient list.
For Bite-Size Chocolate Fans: Whoppers beat Milk Duds
Whoppers are crunchy, while Milk Duds are incredibly chewy and will stick to your (or your kid's) teeth, so they're a no-no for anyone with dental issues. Plus, the Whoppers serving is significantly smaller (6.83 g compared to 12 g for Milk Duds), which saves about 22 calories.
The Bottom Line
Of course, no matter which Halloween candies you give out, you can't control what comes home in your child's trick-or-treat bag. Regardless of which treats they bring home, limit them to eating two or three small treats at a time so they can enjoy their haul without gorging themselves (or even making themselves sick).
Is That Drink Really Healthy?
These days, there are more “health drinks” lining supermarket shelves than ever before. But don’t start guzzling just yet! Although these concoctions promise a bevy of vitamins, energy or other “super” ingredients, there’s typically a catch. Read on for the scoop on popular “health” beverages.
The Drink The Buzz The Reality
Energy Drinks Usually loaded with sugar and caffeine, May cause insomnia, nervousness, irritability, stomach up-
these beverages will power you through set & even heart palpitations. Get your caffeine fix from
the day or night. coffee or tea instead.
Vitamin-Enhanced Give you more energy, improve your memory They’re predominantly sugar water with some vitamins,
Water or help boost your immune system. minerals & flavorings. Take a multivitamin.
“Super Fruit” Drinks Juice made from exotic fruits like acai & Yes, they have antioxidants, but so does OJ & grape juice!
goji berry are packed with antioxidants & Plus, many of these have added sugar or corn syrup. Only
nutrients to help fight joint pain, heart choose the ones containing 100% fruit juice & drink in
disease & cancer. moderation.
Bottle Iced Tea Packed with antioxidants, making it healthier Tea drinkers, especially green tea drinkers, may have a
than soda. lower risk of stroke, memory problems, & cancers due to
the antioxidants. However, antioxidants break down over
time, so fresh is best! Bottled teas are often loaded with
calories. Brew your own.
Greek vs. Regular Yogurt
Move over, regular yogurt. Going Greek is in! Most give a big thumbs up to its taste—tangier and less sweet, as well as creamier—but is it healthier than its conventional counterpart?
Both Greek and regular yogurt, in their plain, nonfat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They're low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. But our Mediterranean friend—which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency—does have an edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.
Compare the labels of Dannon's regular and Greek varieties. (Other popular brands of Greek yogurt include Chobani, and Stonyfield Farm's Oikos.)
Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)
- Calories: 80
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 10 milligrams
- Sodium: 50 milligrams
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Protein: 15 grams
- Calcium: 15 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet
Regular (6 ounces, nonfat, plain)
- Calories: 80
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol 5 milligrams
- Sodium: 120 milligrams
- Sugar: 12 grams
- Protein: 9 grams
- Calcium: 30 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Though most experts agree that Greek yogurt has a nutritional edge, both kinds help you lose weight by keeping you full on fewer calories. The key is sticking to plain, nonfat, or low-fat varieties.
BananasHigher in calories than most fruits, bananas were considered carbs that packed on pounds. HOWEVER, bananas contain a type of dietary fiber known as resistant starch that your body can’t absorb, so it fills you up temporarily without the risk of filling you out permanently. Other research has linked resistant starch to an increase in post-meal fat-burning. One of the by-products of the unabsorbed carbohydrates in your system is butyrate, a fatty acid that may inhibit the body’s ability to burn carbs, forcing it to burn the fat instead. Pick a greener banana; once it has turned totally yellow, the starch inside has broken down and is no longer resistant to digestion. If you don’t care for firm bananas, toss it in the blender and add it to a smoothie!
Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 45-60 seconds
Makes: 1 Serving
What you need
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. shredded Cheddar Cheese
Salt and pepper
1. Coat a 12-oz. microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. Add eggs and milk; beat until blended.
2. Microwave on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set; 30-45 seconds longer.
3. Top with cheese, season with salt and pepper.
Water makes up a whopping 70 percent of the earth and 60 percent of YOU! And it has some surprising health-enhancing powers.
Waist Slimmer - People who sip two cups (16 ounces) of water before a meal consume 13 percent fewer calories.
Endurance Enhancer - Cyclists who dip their legs in water for 20 minutes prior to a ride put out 20 more watts of power than those who skip the soak.
Headache Stopper - A study found that migraine patients who drank one liter of agua daily had 21 fewer hours of pain over a two-week period.
Kidney Saver - Downing enough water to produce two quarts of urine daily helps your body flush out junk that could cause a kidney stone.
Summer Family Nutrition Tips
Summer is a great time to focus on family nutrition. It’s a breeze to be healthier in the summer than in the winter. Here are some great tips to implement a summer family nutrition program.
1. Make Dinnertime Family Time – Research indicates that families who eat together generally have a healthier diet than those who don’t. To help do this, make a meal plan and stay with it. You can get the whole family involved in selecting your meals. Have them decide on a week’s worth of menus and get them involved in picking the recipes, shopping and preparing the meals.
2. Turn off the Noise – Use the summer’s great weather to get outside . Turn off the TV and leave the phone inside. Gather everyone around the outdoor table and enjoy the mother nature while you eat. Fewer distractions will also help your family realize when they are full and prevent overeating.
3. Get grilling – Grilling can be a great low-fat way to prepare lean cuts of meat for the whole family. Just don’t allow the meat to burn to a crisp. You can marinate meat in low-fat marinades and use just a little oil to cook it in.
4. Cut out the soda – Healthy family nutrition can easily be achieved by omitting soft drinks, even the diet ones. Instead provide ice tea, sparkling water and fruit juice or just plain water . You’ll see your family’s health improve just by cutting out the sugary drinks.
5. Enjoy Nature’s Bounty –Nature is producing bumper crops during the summer , so load up the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Serve salads at every meal and use cut up veggies and dips for chips and dips as a snack.
Know which food is genetically modified, as well as which food is organic, or just conventionally grown
Did you know that an amazing 80 percent of processed foods are genetically modified? If you weren't a fan of processed foods before, you may be even less after checking out this article, published on FriendsEat.com. Spencer Cooper tells us the codes to look for in determining what type of food we’re getting. You’re looking for the number in front of the four-digit Price Look Up, or PLU, code on the product you’re about to buy and subsequently put in your mouth. A nine (9) means organic, an eight (8) means genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO); and just the four-digit code means conventionally grown (i.e. pesticides, chemical fertilizer, stuff like that). The example Cooper gives us clarifies all this:
A conventionally-grown banana will have a code of 4011
An organic banana will be 94011
A GE or GMO banana will be 84011
Top 10 Worst Foods
Let’s face it: there are grocery and convenience stores (not to mention schools and school vending machines) that are full of chemical- and sugar-laced foods we should never eat. I’m frequently asked which ones are the worst. So, here are my picks for the top 10 worst foods you may be eating, in order, from terrible to tragic. The #1 Worst Food of All Time may surprise you!
10. Ice Cream-Sorry, I know just about everyone loves ice cream, but today’s ice cream is not only full of sugar, most of it is also loaded with trans fats, artificial colors and flavors, many of which are known neurotoxins (brain- and nervous-system damaging chemicals). Of course, there are healthier varieties, but most ice cream is hazardous to your health.
9. Corn and Tortilla Chips-Since the advent of genetically-modified foods, most corn we eat is a health-damaging frankenfood. Corn causes rapid blood sugar fluctuations, which you may notice as mood-swings, weight gain, or irritability, among other symptoms. Most are fried in oils that have turned rancid and are linked to inflammation.
8. Pizza-While not all pizza is bad, most of the commercially available and frozen pizza on the market is full of artificial dough conditioners and preservatives. It is made from white flour that has been bleached and reacts in your body just like sugar, causing weight gain and blood sugar imbalances.
7. French Fries-Not only do French fries typically contain trans fats that have been linked to a long list of diseases, they contain one of the most potent carcinogenic substances in food-acrylamide. Acrylamide is formed when white potatoes are heated at high temperatures. Additionally, most of the oils used for frying turn rancid in the presence of oxygen or at high temperatures, resulting in foods that cause inflammation in the body. And, researchers are discovering that inflammation is a factor in many serious health conditions, including: heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
6. Potato Chips-Potato chips offer all the health benefits (none) of French fries, but according to Health Canada, potato chips typically contain the highest levels of acrylamide, which is a carcinogen.
5. Bacon-Yes, bacon! Sorry bacon lovers. According to research in the journal, Circulation, daily consumption of processed meats like bacon can increase the risk of heart disease by 42 percent and diabetes by 19 percent. A study at the University of Columbia found that eating bacon 14 times a month was linked to damaged lung function and an increased risk of lung disease.
4. Hot Dogs-A study at the University of Hawaii found that consumption of hot dogs and other processed meats increased risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. One of the ingredients found in both bacon and hot dogs is sodium nitrite. This carcinogen has been linked to leukemia in children and brain tumors in infants. Other studies show that sodium nitrate also promotes colorectal cancer.
3. Doughnuts-Most doughnuts are 35 to 40 percent trans fats-the worst kind of fat you can eat. Trans fats are linked to heart- and brain-diseases as well as cancer. That’s before you consider the sugar and artificial dough conditioners and food additives many doughnuts contain. The average doughnut also contains about 300 calories.
2. Soda-According to research reported by Dr. Joseph Mercola, “one can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is loaded with artificial food colors and sulphites.” That alone should make you rethink your soda habit. But, soda is also extremely acidic. It takes over 30 cups of pH-balanced water to neutralize the acidity of one cola. This acid residue can be extremely hard on the kidneys since they have to filter it. Additionally, the bones act as mineral reservoirs. Alkaline minerals like calcium are dumped into the blood to help neutralize acidity, which can weaken the bones over time. For more information on pH balance, check out my book, The Ultimate pH Solution. In studies, soda is also linked to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay, and heart disease.
1. Diet Soda-Diet soda is my choice for the Worst Food of All Time. Not only does diet soda contain most of the problems of regular soda, it contains aspartame, now called AminoSweet. According to research by Lynne Melcombe, author of Health Hazards of White Sugar, aspartame is linked to the following health conditions: anxiety attacks; binge-eating and sugar cravings; birth defects; blindness; brain tumors; chest pain; depression; dizziness; epilepsy; fatigue; headaches and migraines; hearing loss; heart palpitations; hyperactivity; insomnia; joint pain; learning disabilities; PMS; muscle cramps; reproductive problems; and even death. Aspartame’s effects can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, Epstein-Barr virus, Huntington’s chorea, hypothyroidism, Lou Gehrig’s disease; Lyme disease, Ménière’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and postpolio syndrome. That’s why I give Diet Soda the Worst Food of All Time award.
The Big Chill
Just because packaged, prewashed salad mixes can go straight from bag to bowl doesn't mean they're free of contaminants! Give greens a second rinse yourself and store them properly; that means below 50ºF if you want to prevent disease-causing pathogens from multiplying, according to USDA research. Ask the supermarket's produce manager about the store's temperature settings and make sure your own fridge is set below 50ºF.
Cucumbers: Who Knew??
1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!
This season's hot color is purple....for your plate! Blue-violet produce such as blueberries, plums and grapes, may help ward off neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and keep your mind sharp as you age. The purple produce is rich in polyphenols (pol-lee-fee-nahls), antioxidants that may block the production of toxins that can damage the brain and other organs. To guard against the "where did I put my keys" syndrome, try to get two (2) servings a day. One serving equals half-cup of blueberries, one large plum or a cup and a half of grapes.
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Ingredient Note)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip)
- 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel), softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted
- To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and 1/4 cup coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- To prepare frosting and finish cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Ingredient Notes: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.
- Large thin flakes of dried coconut called coconut chips make attractive garnishes. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or at melissas.com.
- Tips: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
- To toast chopped walnuts and coconut chips, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 5 minutes.
15 Ways To Get Healthier in the New Year!
Incorporating one or two healthier habits in a week can help you lose weight, sleep better, get more exercise, and just become healthier overall!
#1 Eat Smarter
How's this for a "diet": You don't swear off a single food. Instead, eat a smidge less every day and eat at home a little more. That's what we call "happy eating."
Leave two bites at every meal.
"Literally continue to eat exactly what you have been, except forgo a couple of forkfulls at every meal, says James Hill, PhD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado, in Denver. "I guarantee you won't be hungry, and you'll cut out about 100 calories a day from your diet." So don't finish all of that blueberry muffin at breakfast, throw out the crust of your pizza at lunch, and clear the dinner table with a strip of chicken and a spoonful of rice still on your plate. By the end of the week you'll have saved 700 calories. Keep it up and you'll avoid those 1 or 2 pounds that most Americans gain each year.
#2 Eat a Little Less Meat and a Little More Veggies
A 2009 U.S. study of over a half a million people found that those who ate the most red meat were 30 percent more likely to die prematurely from heart disease or any type of cancer. An easy preventative fix: Swap out a red meat dinner and swap in a vegetarian one, once a week.
#3 Cook at home one more night each week
Virtually anything you make in your own kitchen is lower in fat and calories that what you'd pick up at the drive-thru. New research shows that the average American eats four resturant meals each week. Cut that back to three and chances are you'll be wearing a smaller size in no time!
#4 Serve your meals on pretty salad/cocktail plates
They are only 8 inches in diameter, compared with a standard size of 10 inches (or more). Shaving 2 inches off your plate can help you shed inches off your middle because you have a smaller space to pile food on. And even though there's less food in front of you, it will look like more since your plate is full, thus helping to encourage satiety.
#5 Turn off the kitchen lights at 8:00 p.m.
New evidence shows that there is indeed a wrong time and a right time for our bodies to take in calories. And the wrong time is when you're curled up on the couch watching TV at night. Even when total calories where equal, mice fed during the daytime (when these nocturnal creatures typically sleep) gained about twice as much weight as the mice fed the same amount of calories during the night, when they are awake and active, according to a Northwestern University study. Yes, the research was on mice, the authors concede, but even experts like Hill agree that "physiologically our bodies are primed to store calories, so eating late in the evening (when we should probably be sleeping) is a worst-case scenario." If you must snack, make sure you portion the food out on a plate (don't mindlessly munch from the box or bag) and sit down at a table to eat it.
#6 Sleep Better
If you don't get the sleep you need-seven to nine hours a night for most people- you are putting yourself at increased risk of heart disease. Plus, research continues to show that too little sleep is associated with weight gain. Some tuck yourself-in tips:
Gain time with sleep.
"A lot of people think that if they go to bed early they're missing out on getting stuff done-they won't get those e-mails sent, bills paid, or laundry done," says Jodi Mindell, PhD, a sleep expert at Saint Joseph's University in Phiadelphia. "But you'll get everything done twice as fast the next day if you get enough rest." Besides a clear head, a decent night's sleep decreased your risk for colds and other illnessess that could hurt your productivity for a few days or more. In a recent study, people who got fewer than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to get sick than those who logged at least eight hours.
#7 Give Yourself Time to Unwind
Log off your computer and allow your brain 30 minutes to wind down (with a good book or silent meditation) before you hit the lights.
#8 Hotel-ify your bedroom
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try making your bedroom a little more snooze-worthy. Buy some soft sheets and pillows.
Add room darkening shades or turn on a fan for white noise. Don't bring your laptop to bed and move out any abandoned
exercise equipment. You want your bedroom to be a haven and not a reminder of your shortcomings.
#9 Walk 15 extra minutes a day
The first thing is to get a pedometer. Wear it for a few days and see how many steps a day you take. The average person clocks about 5,500 steps, which is considered sedentary, so kudos if you're already getting more. Whatever your starting point, try to increase your steps by 2,000 a day, which equals about 15 minutes of walking and 100 calories. That's enough right there to prevent weight gain. After you've mastered that, gradually add more steps until you're taking 5,000 more than you were when you started.
#10 Don't blow off your plans
Your day has been one big downhill of cake, candy, and chips-so why bother with that 4 p.m. power walk you'd planned? Because it makes a big difference. Physically, exercise can reduce your appetite, and mentally it will put you back on track to eat smarter at dinner.
#11 Eat In Peace
Snagging a quiet table won't just increase the ambience of your next meal, it may also make what you eat taste better! When eating in a noisy environment, people rated their food as less flavorful than when they dined in silence. The reason: Loud background noise draws your attention away from subtle taste sensations. This might make you pile on unhealthy extras like salt or sugar to amp up the flavor. Your move? Dine in peace and savor what's on your plate---you may eat less and be much more satisfied.
#12 - Perk Up!
Coffee provides more than a morning jolt......Green tea may get all the glory, but the top source of age-avenging anti-oxidants is a different hot beverage: coffee. The beans behind your brew---actually the seeds of the coffee tree's fruit---contain the same kind of nutritionally supercharged compounds found in tea and other plant-based foods such as wine and chocolate. Studies show that coffee can help ward off mental decline, certain cancers, Parkinson's disease, high blood pressure, and even extra pounds (yes, really!) A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that each time you refill your cup of java (caffeinated of decaf) in a day, you slash your diabetes risk by 7 percent; in another study, drinking two to three cups of coffee each day was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of heart disease
#13 - Decode the Deli
Not all cuts are created equal.....Sliced whole roasted ham, turkey and pot roast are known in deli-speak as "whole cuts". Far more common, thought, are processed meats, which tend to be fattier and are made by adding preservatives (mostly salt) and sometimes fillers (anything from meat by-products to corn syrup to ground meat). You can usually recognize processed meats by their unnaturally uniform shape - better to fit on a bun. The best way to make sure you're getting a whole cut is to ask for it!!
#14 Increase Your Water Intake
Why you need to drink water
Your body is estimated to be about 60 to 70 percent water. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Your body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs.
How Much Water do You Need to Drink?
A good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces of water per day that you need to drink. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. If you exercise, you should drink another eight ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. If you drink alcohol, you should drink at least an equal amount of water.
#15 Eat Less Processed Foods
If you’re filling up on processed food, then you might be feeling a little empty--and that’s no reference to your belly.
It’s not breaking news to anyone that how you fuel up your body has a direct impact on your mental and physical output ( nodding off after a heavy pasta lunch or feeling like a slug when you hit the gym post-burger dinner). But what you may not realize is that what you eat has a real effect on your mental state, too. In fact, fueling up too frequently with the low-octane stuff (food-speak for processed food) might set you up for a better chance at struggling with depression later in life.
To illustrate the impact of additives in processed food, let’s take, for example, aspartame, a popular sweetener often found in diet drinks, sugar-free yogurt and low-calorie snacks. Countless studies point to an increased risk for cancer with lifelong consumption of aspartame. Plus, foods sweetened with aspartame—which is 200 times sweeter than sugar—can set you up for a skewed sense of taste. Think of it this way: with the best of intentions, many calorie-conscious folks swill diet drinks to cut calories. Problem is, super-sweetened diet drinks can change your tastes, leading your taste buds to believe that something has to be seriously sweet to taste really good. And that leaves you less than satisfied with a lightly sweet alternative, like a cool glass of iced tea sweetened with, say, a touch of honey.
To get you started, here are a few hints on how to make some healthy changes:
Don’t blaze into the grocery store on a mission to buy everything you see that looks healthy; you’ll most likely end up with a big bill and a lot of food that goes to waste. Instead, take stock of where you are in your diet journey and make a plan to go from there. If you’re already eating a few servings of fruits and veggies a day, think of where you can substitute another serving of produce for something that’s processed. For example, try a couple plums instead of a bag of chips in the afternoon. To swap out diet drinks, try hot tea (or iced tea) in place of a midmorning diet soda. And if you buy treats like ice cream or cookies, try eliminating one of them at a time and fill the space with something that you’ll look forward to—like a glass of fat-free milk with a tablespoon of pure, high-quality dark chocolate syrup made from natural ingredients.
Carrots give carrot cake a health-halo effect—people think it's health food, but it's usually very high in fat and calories. But our version has about 40 percent less calories and 50 percent less fat than most. First, we use less oil in our batter. Then we skip the butter in the frosting (don't worry, it's still light and smooth). To ensure the cake is moist, we add nonfat buttermilk and crushed pineapple.
Tips & Notes
Per serving: 342 calories; 17 g fat ( 5 g sat , 7 g mono ); 56 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 3 g fiber; 349 mg sodium; 150 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (40% daily value), Fiber (12% dv).
Carbohydrate Servings: 3
Exchanges: 2 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 vegetable, 3 fat