Thursday, October 4, 2007

Kisses for Everyone!!

Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses that is!
Go ahead - enjoy! You don't have to feel guilty endulging in a little chocolate. Cocoa and chocolate contain powerful antioxidants and nutrients. They also have proven to be beneficial to your cardiovascular system, kidney function, brain health, and immune system. Also, if you are diabetic or have high blood pressure, you may benefit from eating chocoate and cocoa as well.

Cocoa beans contain the antioxidant flavanols that protect against harmful free radicals. True, they are not the only food that provides these antioxidants - apples, berries, beans, nuts, red grapes, red wine and tea are other good sources. But, chocolate, aside from being the most delicious of the options, offers the most antioxidant power.

Cocoa and chocolate can also lower LDL/bad cholesterol and raise HDL/good cholesterol by limiting the build up of plaques in arteries. It also promotes healthy blood flow by making blood platelets stick less. Other health benefits include reducing blood pressure for those with high blood pressure, helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels, increasing blood flow in the brain, and keeping skin healthy.

*The best sources are non-alkalized or lightly alkalized cocoas, dutched cocoa, natural cocoa, or dark chocolate with at least 40% cocoa.

*Eat a variety of antioxidant rich foods and eat chocolate in moderation, keeping its fat, sugar and colories in mind.

*Try Fair Trade products which ensure that the producers earn fair wages so that their workers are paid and their children can be sent to school. It also guarantees that no child labor was used.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Almighty Almonds

Every diet suggests almonds as the perfect snack, but is that just because they are better than chips, cookies and crackers? Not only! Almonds are a great snack choice because they contain many nutrients and can improve your overall health. Eating almonds can keep your heart healthy, reduce cholesterol, and help you manage your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Almonds are the most nutrient dense nut. They contain vitamin E to protect against cell damage, magnesium and calcium to keep your bones strong, fiber to aid digestion and heart health, protein for your bones, muscles, hair, skin and other tissues, potassium, phosphorus iron, and monounsaturated fat, which in the place of saturated fat, helps lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.

Serving Size = one ounce = 23 almonds = 160 calories
One ounce of almonds is equal to a handful, a 1/4 measuring cup, a mint tin, a one once spice bottle, or two wells of an ice-cube tray.

Blue Diamond packages almonds in 1.5 ounze servings. They offer 5 flavors: Lime N Chile, Wasabi and Soy, Whole Natural, Jalapeno Smokehouse, and Smokehouse.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eat Safe

Sure, you may be lucky enough to have never had or never get E. coli or botulism, but what about all the other food borne invaders - toxins, pesticides, environmental contaminants, animal drugs, additives…need I go on? The good news is that there are many simple steps you can take to prevent getting sick from any of these contaminants, without feeling like you are paranoid.

Food Prep, Storage and Clean-Up:
1. Make sure your fridge is set at 40 degrees or below
2. Cook hot food and reheat leftovers to 140 degrees
3. Thaw meats in the fridge!!
4. Heat sponges in the microwave until steaming hot
5. Use separate cutting boards for meats and clean them with soap and hot water

Protecting Your Produce:
1. Wash all veggies and discard outer leaves
2. Wash and dry all fruits, even melons whose rough exterior can trap bacteria and enter food when sliced
3. Rinse berries for 10 seconds
4. Cut away bruises that may house bacteria
5. Drink only pasteurized juices or shelf stabilized juices

Reducing Pesticide Residue Intake:
1. Trim fat from meat and skin from poultry, and discard pan drippings
2. Vary daily meat, poultry and fish choices
3. Do NOT take fish oil capsules
4. Peel waxed fruit
5. Do NOT eat sprouts (may not be safe)

Fridge Time Limits:
1-2 days - raw ground meats and sausages fish and poultry
3-5 days - steaks, roasts, cooked meats and veggies, ham slices, tuna salad
1 week - hard boiled eggs in shells, bacon, unopened hot dogs, aged and processed cheeses
2 months - open mayo and dry cheeses

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fiber Facts

Fiber is a vital part of our diet that is often underconsumed. A diet high in fiber helps maintain a healthy concentration of blood cholesterol, normal blood glucose, a healthy digestive tract, and a healthy body weight.

Fiber may also protect you against heart disease and stroke. This may be because a diet high in fiber fills you up with food that is low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol, and it is high in protein and phytochemicals. For instance, to get reach your recommended daily fiber intake, you might substitute a plant protein, like legumes, for an animal source of protein, like meat or dairy, which has no fiber. This substitution provides protein, fiber and nutrients without the fat and cholesterol of animal products.

Sources: whole grains, vegetables and fruits
*It is best to eat a variety of these sources each day.
*The best cholesterol lowering foods are apples, barley, carrots, legumes and oats.

*Drink plenty of water!

Daily Recommended Fiber Intake:20-35 grams a day
*Most people only get 15 grams a day
*Men up to 50 yrs. - 38 grams; over 50 - 30 grams
*Women up to 50 yrs. - 25 grams; over 50 - 21 grams

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Frozen vs. Fresh

Frozen foods may actually retain more of their original nutrients than your fresh produce. When foods are frozen, its mineral content is retained, because freezing causes bacterial reproduction to stop and enzymatic reactions to slow.
Fresh foods may lose nutrients during shipping or while sitting in the grocery store. Also, unlike frozen foods, fresh produce is usually harvested unripe, so it does not develop all of its potential nutrients.

Other tips:
*When buying frozen fruit, buy uncut fruit - they retain more Vitamin C.
*Refreezing is safe, but causes a substantial loss of nutrients.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Beware Your Favorite Apps!

Sure you rarely eat a whole order, but do the math! These common appetizers and bar snacks add significant calories and fat to your daily intake.

Fried Calamari(a typical order): 1,040 calories, 70 grams of fat of which 9 grams are saturated fat, 925 mg cholesterol (a 3 day supply!)
Tortilla Chips(a basket): 640 calories, 34 grams fat of which 6 are saturated fat
Buffalo Wings(12 wings): 700 calories, 48 grams fat of which 16 are saturated fat (with blue cheese, add 310 clories and 80 grams fat, 22 sat.)
Mozzerella Sticks(9 sticks): 830 calories, 51 grams fat, 28 of which are saturated
Egg Roll: 190 calories, 11 grams fat, of which 1 is saturated
Don't let the celery fool you!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


It's a fact! During PMS, the 2 weeks prior to the menstral cycle, women's basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases during sleep, causing an increase in appetite. On average, 300 calories more a day are eaten. Because of the increase in the BMR, the additional calories do not cause any weight gain.

Tips to help with PMS Symptoms:
* Increase calcium intake to 1,000 mg a day
Sources: 1 cup skim milk - 223 mg; 1/2 cup black eyed peas - 105 mg; 1 whole wheat waffle - 196 mg; 1 1/2 cups broccoli - 93 mg; 1/2 cup tofu - 275 mg
* Take 100 mg supplement of Vitamin B6 per day, but only during PMS, otherwise it would become toxic
* Eliminate or reduce caffeine consumption

PMS is defined as the 2 weeks prior to your menstral cycle!