Monthly Archives: December 2015

Recipes for the New Year!

Farm Stand 1

Have you made your New Years resolution yet? Did you know that according to a Nielsen Survey the #1 resolution for 2015 was to “stay fit & healthy”? Let’s make that our only resolution for 2016. It will be an attainable goal.

To keep your immune system healthy & to keep up your energy to exercise & keep fit, how about adding a post script to that resolution; add 2 – 3 vegetarian or vegan meals to your menu each week. To help you with this, this post is about some new websites I have found. They are a treasure trove of recipes for those vegetarian/vegan meals.

Tacos JMThe Vegetarian Times website is a great place to start. They advertise themselves as “the worlds largest collection of Vegetarian Recipes “. My favorite link on this site is Mexican Cuisine. I am a big fan of Mexican food! There is also a section on Specialty Diets which includes: dairy free, gluten-free, low-calorie, low-fat & vegan recipes. When you explore this website you will find video’s which show you how to prepare specific items like tofu, how to make bread & yogurt, Veg 101, healing foods & more. Fantastic site. Book mark it for future use. 

Speaking of vegetarian Mexican Cuisine, take a look at this site: Martha Stewart Tex-Mex Vegetarian RecipesAt the top of this page you will also find pictures of an array of vegetarian options from appetizers to the main course. I liked the Vegetarian Lunch Sandwich section. I don’t like to eat lunch because I find it difficult to stop what I am doing & decide what to eat. This is a good resource for me & my husband is grateful for it too 🙂

The name of this website caught my eye: The Veggie Queen. ABOUT JILL NUSSINOW:  “I wear many hats but they’re all related to great food that includes vegetables and other plant-based cuisine. I’m a vegetable and plant-food cooking expert, in vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eating. My specialty is vegan pressure cooking.” She has a section about using a pressure cooker for “fast food”: Pressure Cooking BasicsIt certainly is faster & it does not alter the taste of the food. I prefer the “slow cooker” myself, but that is because I have more time to spend cooking these days. When I worked full time the pressure cooker was my best friend. Most of her recipes on this site are prepared without the pressure cooker. 

Another good website blog for vegan meals is Straight Up Food- Healthy Eating You Can Live With.  “This blog is full of recipes and information on how to eat a plant-based diet that is free of added salt, oil and sugar”  I love her Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Raisins. Cathy Fischer is a chef & a teacher. Her blog is very informative. Spend time looking at her articles. She & I don’t agree on everything but that is okay, we learn from exploring other’s ideas. 

The Veggie Queen & the author of the above blog both work at Dr. John McDougall’s Health & Medical Center. If you don’t know his story then click on the link to read about him. He was one of the first doctors to explore & write about the benefits of a vegan diet. His story began in 1965. I have all his books & one of his cookbooks. I use his guidelines but add in some things I just can’t seem to do without; olive oil being one. His diet is all about carbs, veggies & no added fats. I know patients who have gone to his clinic for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus & MS. Under his care they are all leading very healthy lives. There is a lot to say for his approach. 

The Plant Based EmporiumThis site is also SOS (sugar, oil & salt) free. I like the way the recipes are presented by seasons. My favorite is: Breakfast of the Gods & Goddesses. Start breakfast with a salad! Very interesting & a healthy way to begin your day. The only problem I have with these sites that don’t use oil is their use of non-stick pots & pans. I don’t think they are a healthy option unless they are in prime condition & used at low temperatures. I can use stainless steel without the use of oil without a problem. I use water. Look at their Cooking Tips. I use parchment paper on my stainless steel baking sheets. I like it better than oiling the sheet plus it is an easy cleanup!

T.Colin Campbell, Center for Nutrition StudiesDr. Campbell wrote The China Study. Lots of good recipes. My dinner tonight will be Best Pea Soup from this website. The recipes are in categories such as soup, salad, desert, meals etc. Easy to find what you need.  Dr. Campbell’s approach is nearly the same as Dr. McDougalls.

Country Living: 72 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes Even Meat-Eaters Will Love. You will find meatless meals, sides & snacks. I use portobello mushrooms for “burgers”. They have a “meaty” texture so meat lovers will enjoy them. Try the recipe: Stuffed Portobello BurgersI also found 27 Delicious New Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes on this site. Good time of the year for dishes with sweet potatoes. They can be the main dish or a side. I like them cold too. They are great to take on picnics or to put in lunches. 

Last on my list: New Years Drinks Without Alcohol Recipes. Some of these recipes do contain added sugar but can be considered a treat for your New Years Celebration. If you are at an important event & they are toasting the New Year in with Champagne then join in if you would like to. One drink with friends & family at New Years is not going to hurt you. It is more important to enjoy your evening with the people you care most about rather than worry about one alcoholic drink.

In case you have decided to add weight loss to your New Years Resolutions, here is a good article that I read this morning about how to spot a fraudulent diet add. Here is what to look for from The Federal Trade Commission:

The Truth Behind Weight Loss Ads. Claims to watch out for include:

  • Lose weight without diet or exercise! Getting to a healthy weight takes work. Take a pass on any product that promises miraculous results without the effort. The only thing you’ll lose is money.
  • Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods! Beware of any product that claims that you can eat all the high-calorie food you want and still lose weight. Losing weight requires sensible food choices. Filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits can make it easier to say no to fattening sweets and snacks.
  • Lose weight permanently! Never diet again! Even if you’re successful in taking weight off, permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes. Don’t trust any product that promises once-and-for-all results without ongoing maintenance.
  • Just take a pill! Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that there’s simply no magic way to lose weight without diet or exercise. Even pills approved by FDA to block the absorption of fat or help you eat less and feel full are to be taken with a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular exercise.
  • Lose 30 pounds in 30 days! Losing weight at the rate of a pound or two a week is the most effective way to take it off and keep it off. At best, products promising lightning-fast weight loss are a scam. At worst, they can ruin your health.
  • Everybody will lose weight! Your habits and health concerns are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all product guaranteed to work for everyone. Team up with your health care provider to design a nutrition and exercise program suited to your lifestyle and metabolism.
  • Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream! You’ve seen the ads for diet patches or creams that claim to melt away the pounds. Don’t believe them. There’s nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight.
  • Acai Berry Supplements in the “News”. More and more, scam artists are exploiting people’s trust in well-known news organizations by setting up fake news sites with the logos of legitimate news organizations to peddle their wares. In particular, sites claiming to be objective news sources may describe a so-called “investigation” of the effectiveness of acai berry dietary supplements for weight loss. These sites are a marketing ploy created to sell acai berry supplements.
  • Tainted Weight Loss Products. In the last few years, FDA has discovered hundreds of dietary supplements containing drugs or other chemicals, often in products for weight loss and bodybuilding. These extras generally aren’t listed on the label — and might even be sold with false and misleading claims like “100% natural” and “safe.” They could cause serious side effects or interact in dangerous ways with medicines or other supplements you’re taking.
  • The Skinny on Electronic Muscle Stimulators. You might have seen ads for electronic muscle stimulators claiming they will tone, firm, and strengthen abdominal muscles, help you lose weight, or get rock hard abs. But according to FDA, while these devices may temporarily strengthen, tone, or firm a muscle, no electronic muscle stimulator device alone will give you “six-pack” abs.
  • Where to Complain: Report fraudulent weight loss product claims to the FTC. You also can contact your state Attorney General.

 Happy New Year

 

 

 

See you here in 2016 with new subjects & new ideas!

‘Tis the Season of Carbs!

Yosemite snow people

The weather has turned cooler for some & downright freezing for others. This is the time of the year when we want good, hot, comfort food. This is when we turn to those yummy, filling, carbs. Good news! They are good for you 🙂

Complex carbohydrates play an essential role in keeping the immune system healthy & functioning. Our body needs complex carbohydrates. Let’s look at what they are & where you can find them.

U.S.National Library of Medicine: Complex carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Both simple and complex carbohydrates are turned to glucose (blood sugar) in the body and are used as energy. ***Simple carbs break down quickly in the digestive tract causing a sudden spike of sugar/glucose in your body. Complex carbs break down slowly so that your body maintains a healthy level of sugar/glucose in the body. Complex carbohydrate foods provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important to the health of an individual. The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars, rather than processed or refined sugars, which do not have the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in complex and natural carbohydrates. Refined sugars are often called “empty calories” because they have little to no nutritional value.

When you juice fruits you are turning them into simple carbohydrates. You are removing the fiber which slows down the absorption of the fruits natural sugars/fructose. The same with vegetables that you juice. The difference is that vegetables don’t have a natural sugar content as high as fruits. This is why green juices, with no fruit in them, are the healthier choice.

Carbohydrates: Simple versus Complex I have copied the article from the Nutrition MD website in it’s entirety below.

Simple carbohydrates are sugars. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.

Some food sources of simple carbohydrates:

  • Table sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Jams, jellies
  • Fruit drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • Candy

Complex carbohydrates may be referred to as dietary starch and are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. They are often rich in fiber, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals.

These whole plant foods are great sources of complex carbohydrates:

  • Green vegetables
  • Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
  • Beans, lentils, and peas

From the Mayo Clinic: “Recommendation: Emphasize natural, nutrient-dense carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Limit less healthy sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts and refined grain products. Get 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have 4 calories a gram. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this amounts to 900 to 1,300 calories a day, or about 225 to 325 grams.”

When looking at “our plate” 1/4 of it are grains, 1/4 protein & 1/2 vegetables/fruits. This fits with getting 45-65% of your daily calories from complex carbohydrates. Look again at the list above. It works.

This is a very good article from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center & worth the read: Nutrition Basics for Cancer Survivors. Here is an excerpt from the article about carbs on your plate:

Half of your plate should be colorful vegetables. Try to eat mostly low starch ones such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Leafy greens (e.g., spinach, lettuce, kale)
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Zucchini

One-quarter of your plate should be complex carbohydrates (starches) or fruits. Some examples are:

  • Whole fruits (e.g., berries, apples, pears, kiwis, oranges)
  • Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, barley)
  • Starchy vegetables (e.g., potato, corn, green peas)

Here are 2 helpful charts from the FDA. These charts are downloadable at: Nutrition Information  Note the protein in veggies & fruits 🙂

F1

F2

I can hear some of you shouting; low carb diets are the only way to lose weight! Not exactly true. You do lose weight, but it isn’t always the healthiest way to do it. The Mayo Clinic has a very good article about this: Low-carb Diet: Can it help you lose weight?  If you suddenly and drastically cut carbs, you may experience a variety of temporary health effects, including:

  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation or diarrhea

In addition, some diets restrict carbohydrate intake so much that in the long term they can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies, bone loss, and gastrointestinal disturbances and may increase risks for various chronic diseases.”  Eating a high protein/low carb diet may have long term effects. “It’s not clear what kind of possible long-term health risks a low-carb diet may pose because most research studies have lasted less than a year. Some health experts believe that if you eat large amounts of fat and protein from animal sources your risk of heart disease or certain cancers may actually increase.” Balance is once again the key word. Following the guidelines in this article or “our plate” will keep you within the recommended carb intake.

Here are a few recipes to help you through the winter. As they used to say, they are quite hearty.

As I write this at noon, it is cold, 49 degrees, & rainy outside. I wanted something light, filling and fast to prepare for lunch. I made a broth from vegetarian “no-chicken” cubes, added sliced scallions & sliced fresh mushrooms. I paired this with a few whole grain crackers & an apple. Fast, filling, hot & satisfying.

Pizza W

Another fast lunch is using a whole grain pita bread, whole grain English muffins, or a whole grain sprouted tortilla, as the base. Add all the veggies you want on the top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese & grill or brown in the oven or toaster oven. These are fun to make. Use your leftovers, be creative!

I found this easy hot drink for cold days in the AARP magazine called Renew. We loved it! Dairy free & no refined sugar. 

Minty Hot Cocoa  Make this warm cup of cocoa for a rich, satisfying treat that is lower in fat and sugar than traditional hot cocoa. It’s also dairy-free and has no refined sugar. To change up the flavor, skip the mint tea and add a dash of vanilla or almond extract. Substitute a different non-dairy milk or dairy milk for the almond milk if you’d like.

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 peppermint tea bag
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat with the tea bag. Add the cocoa powder, honey and sea salt, and stir to warm evenly. Do not boil. When drink is hot, remove the tea bag and serve in a mug.

Makes 1 serving. Calories: 111, Total Fat: 3.2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 192mg, Total Carbs: 22g, Dietary Fiber: 1.8g, Sugar: 17g, Protein: 2.1g

My Christmas photo

 

I will be taking next week off for the holidays. I will be back with a new post the week after Christmas. I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season & a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it…..Mary

 

Photos by my daughter Jennifer Moore

 

“One Size” diet doesn’t fit all.

Choose my Plate

 

I believe that deep down we all know that not everyone can eat the same foods & stay healthy. We watch friends eat huge portions at a meal & stay thin. Others eat small portions of the same foods & gain weight. When I drink a fruit juice my body acts like I just ate a bowl of ice cream. My husband can eat ice cream & drink fruit juice at the same time without a problem! Unfair!

From my experience of watching people who decide to become vegans or vegetarians, I see that not all do well. I know people who became physically ill without the protein from fish or meat. When they added a small amount of chicken or fish to their meals they were fine. I also know others, myself included, who thrive as a vegetarian. I have, accidentally, eaten rice that was cooked in a chicken broth & I became physically ill. Why is this?

I have always thought it was because of our ancestry. Those of us who come from a line of people who were hunter-gatherers do fine with grains & meat. Those who are descendants of the first dairy farmers do fine with dairy. Made sense to me 🙂

A new study from Israel shows that it may be our gut buddies that determine the way we, as individuals, metabolize our food. In the study the researchers monitored the blood sugar & diets of 800 people. The study is controversial, as usual, because the diets were self reported. The participants filled out a food log & they wore a device that recorded their blood sugar after each meal.

There Really Is No ‘One Size Fits All’ Diet Plan, According To Study ….according to an ambitious research project by scientists in Israel: Researchers Eran Elinav and Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science have just published the results of a large, comprehensive study in the journal Cell that found people can metabolize the exact same foods in very different ways. What this means is that a healthy diet for one person may not be healthy for another person.” 

This explains why the medical community should not give “cookie cutter” advice about diets to their patients. One diet to rule them all? Healthy isn’t the same for everyone, study says. The study suggests that gut bacteria can significantly influence the way we digest food, and what you choose to eat has an effect on this microbiome. It looked closely at people with diabetes, and found that gut bacteria can have a serious effect on a patient’s overall health. The study, published in the journal Cell, suggests that these average values in the glycemic index are not as helpful as many people believe. Foods with low glycemic averages, like lentils, can cause unexpected bursts of blood sugar production, while some traditionally “bad” foods, like ice cream, can actually be beneficial in certain cases.”

What do we learn from this study? That they are correct, one diet doesn’t fit all. Not all foods are healthy for all people. How can we use this information? Simple: plan a diet that fits you as an individual that also keeps your gut buddies happy & healthy.

Farmer's Basket 1

 

Start by writing down everything you eat & how it affects you. I have mentioned this before 🙂 After seeing this study I feel it is even more important than ever that you do this. Use your past experience with foods to guide you. Make a list of foods that just don’t “sit right” with your body and next to it comment on how you feel when you eat it. Here is a sample of my list.

 

  • Oatmeal & whole grain cereals with any nut milk…..feel shaky & unfocused within 30 minutes of eating it.
  • 6 ounces of any fruit juice….feel shaky, unfocused & tired.
  • More than 1 ounce of cheese in a day….bloated, eyes puffy, gassy, & grouchy 🙂
  • Milk products….bloated, gassy, & grouchy 🙂
  • Peanuts & roasted cashews….bloated, stomach ache.
  • Walnuts & Almonds: No problem
  • All vegetables: No problems
  • Bananas: No problem
  • Pears: I feel like I have just eaten a candy bar! Shaky & unfocused.
  • Apples: No problem
  • Whole grains: Brown, black & red rice, quinoa, millet etc. are fine. Can be eaten with nut milks as breakfast.

Using the above list I have learned to tailor my menus. I have an egg on a piece of sprouted bread, toasted, for breakfast instead of cereal. I love legumes & they love me, so a bowl of beans for breakfast is another option for me. My husband is the opposite, eggs don’t always set well on his stomach, but whole grain cereals do. He can eat any nut; I need to stick to almonds & walnuts.

Using the Mediterranean or DASH diet as a model, plan your menu based on the foods within these plans that work for you. My plate works best when the protein is 1/4 or less of the plate & vegetables 3/4 . When I do add a whole grain it is about 1/4 of the plate, protein 1/4 & the veggies makeup 1/2 of the plate. It depends on the meal.

When you think about it, this is probably the way you eat already. You choose the foods that are appetizing to you, that give you energy. You avoid foods that cause gastric disturbances. You only get into trouble by following fad diets or by adding foods that are labeled “super foods”; even though you know they will cause stomach & intestinal problems….but they are “super foods” after all 🙁

The take away from this study is to always listen to your body! Eat mindfully! Write it down! Pay attention to how you feel!

I will end this post with three interesting updates.

Research Group Funded by Cocoa-Cola to Disband  For those of you who are still interested, here is a followup regarding Cocoa Cola funding the “scientific” research looking at lack of exercise being the problem with obesity, not sugar laden drinks. The Global Energy Balance Network is being disbanded due to pressure brought by public health authorities & nutrition activists. They feel that this group is trying to downplay the fact that there is a connection between sugar laden soft drinks & obesity. Hooray!

The myth of sugar-free drinks, candy: Study shows they can wreak havoc on teeth, too Very interesting study! “Scientists from the Melbourne University’s Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre tested a wide range of sugar-free soft drinks, sports drinks and sweets and found that many of them can be just as harmful to teeth as their sugared counterparts due to their chemical composition.” The research showed that the tooth’s enamel is softened & eroded. “The researchers recommended that when it comes to drinks you may want to minimize both sugared and sugar-substitute beverages and choose the most basic, old-fashioned way of rehydrating — water.” Hooray for water!!!

U.S. clears genetically modified salmon for human consumption  “U.S. health regulators on Thursday cleared the way for a type of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption – the first such approval for an animal whose DNA has been scientifically modified. AquaBounty’s product will not require special labeling because it is nutritionally equivalent to conventional farm-raised Atlantic salmon, the FDA said on Thursday.”  Bad news, we should know what is going on with our food. It should be labeled as GMO! Thank goodness for the following stores.  “Kroger Co, the nation’s largest traditional grocery chain, has “no intention of sourcing or selling genetically engineered salmon,” spokesman Keith Dailey said. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market Inc also confirmed that they do not intend to carry the product. Target Corp eliminated farm-raised salmon in favor of wild-caught salmon in 2010, which spokeswoman Molly Snyder said was the first step in a long-term commitment to improving the sustainability of our seafood assortment. “We are not currently planning to offer genetically engineered salmon,” Snyder said.” Costco has also joined this group.

Plant Based Diet Recipes:  Recipes from Dr. Colin Campbell’s ~The China Study~ website Center for Nutrition Studies. Wonderful Vegan recipes.