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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Respecting your food

It's trendy to care about sustainability. Here's the way to do this to your advantage while you save the environment and the food supply.

How much of your food do you waste? Is it in your best interests to always buy fresh foods?

It's great to buy fresh foods if we will be eating them right away. But, consider the amount of food that we throw away when we don't - a waste of living plants that took effort to grow or animals that ended life for your nourishment.

As it turns out, much of what we toss away in the preparation process (stems, skins, etc.) is still full of nutrients. All  fresh vegetables might not be as aesthetic as we'd like for presentation in the fresh form but think about how we can use all of what we purchase with new recipes, Potato skins are a perfect example of how to take advantage of the most nutritious part of a potato.

Take care not to buy fresh foods that will not be used in 2-3 days as not only will they be less asthetic but also will lose the flavor and any nutrient content advantage over frozen or canned in no time at all. Consider buying frozen foods that are used within a month. Canned foods can be the fundamentals in our pantry - canned beans, and canned tomatoes  - all great staples that are high in nutrients without waste. Canned tomatoes have lycopene levels that are higher than in fresh tomatoes. And now, crock pots are now in fashion saving us time and money while providing wonderful meals.  Canned tuna add protein to any dish in minutes. Consider light varieties have less mercury than white or albacore.

Why portion size is key especially when it comes to indulgences

On a typical 2,000-calorie-day diet, experts say no more than 30 percent of calories should come from fat, with only a quarter of that from saturated fat. That's roughly about 15 grams, or about 140 fat calories. Most women typically should intake closer to 1500 calories per day roughly about 12 grams from saturated fat or under 120 calories from fat. It's easy to check the labels of the food you purchase in the grocery store but let me make this easy. Candy bars often have 22 grams of fat and ice cream not far behind - most of which is saturated. Need I say more?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Exercising caution with supplements

I personally find it upsetting to hear doctors, advertising claims and information online or printed making blanket recommendations to all. There are many intelligent individuals taking action on this type of advice who are hurting not helping their health.

One widely touted piece of advice is to take a baby aspirin daily for heart health. My elderly dad did this several years ago and showed me how his skin was turning purple - in fact bruising because the aspirin was thinning his blood and causing this to happen. When I told him to stop taking the baby aspirin, the bruising stopped.

Another advertised claim for a bone drug, mentions that all women need calcium supplementation. Thankfully, I didn't listen to this advice. About 80 percent of U.S. adults are currently Vitamin D deficient which may result in elevated calcium levels in the blood not absorbed into cells properly. Supplementation can easily cause havok and calcium deposits on the skin as the body tries to lower blood calcium levels.

It is a well know fact that there are toxicity symptoms associated with some Vitamins and Minerals however to sell more, the manufacturers focus on those that are deficient and rarely discuss issues of excessive doses. Excess doses of nutritients have sent several of my well intended friends to the hospital.

It is important for all of us to determine if we are deficient and to supplement accordingly first with food (if possible since many foods are nutrient deficient due to depleted soil, etc.) and then with supplements. Most nutrient levels can be tested for.

It's wise to exercise reasonable caution in this arena to stay safe and healthy.


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About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers led back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make better food choices that you enjoy and gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions to marketing healthful food and food practices.