Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Michelle Obama speaks out

Michelle Obama Quote - July 2013

"But here’s the thing — ultimately, we all have the power to decide whether or not to actually buy those foods…Goya can produce low-sodium products, but if we don’t buy them, they will stop selling them….
In the end, we create the demand for these products and it’s up to us to demand quality, affordable food that is good for our kids.  But it’s on us.  (Applause)"

Foodfitter Quote -  January 2008  (From About Me Section of this blog)
"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."   

Monday, July 22, 2013

Healthy Ways to Drink Coffee

I love coffee. Somehow it's never made me jittery and science shows that at least for some of us, there is finally a recognition of that a cup or two of the brew daily is a good thing. I tend to drink coffee either in the morning as a mid-day pick me up or after a meal. The coffee I drink is either black, as regular coffee or espresso or a bolder type such as French Roast. Occasionally, I'll go for a non-fat latte in the afternoon.

There are other times that I want a touch of flavor in my coffee so once in a while I would experiment with adding different combos at home to my coffee. So I look around for ideas that would add perhaps 20-50 calories to my zero calorie coffee.

Here are a few ideas I came up with:
1) Add dark cocoa and one packet of raw sugar, stevia or the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar.
2) Add an ounce of your favoirite meal shake to add nutriition and more importantly protein to your coffee.
3) Add coffee to your chocolate or vanilla shake. You can also add cinnamon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fun with Nutrition Buzzwords and Benefits

Food marketers talk about what's good about a food or beverage rather than what's not so good.

Let's take the example of red grapes used in grape juice. Grapes are healthy, right? You may have heard about anthocyamins, a class of flavinoids and resveratrol with resultant antioxidant benefits. And the rationalization continues -  if I replace grapes from the vine with concentrated grape juice, I've used more grapes and that's more antioxidant value per gulp. Richly concentrated pigments in these red pigmented grapes are widely touted to be protective against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes and bacterial infections. At this point, you are feeling pretty good about your choice and your nutrition knowledge.

Now although your choice might have some merits here's where the story changes. To make the juice taste best so people will buy it more, the trouble begins. One teaspoon of sugar weighs about 4 grams and there are 40 grams of sugar in an 8 oz. glass of organic 100% grape juice. That is 10 teaspoons of sugar in the smallest 8 ounce glass of grape juice.  Talk about hidden calories and sugar (natural or not) in what we consider healthy in America. That's more sugar than a candy bar and more than the sugar content of two Twinkies! 

So then you say, well, at least I got the benefits of the anthocyanins, etc. rather than fat and sugar alone. The health benefit of the grape juice counteracts the damage of so much sugar. Now, even if this was true, didn't you chose the grape juice for it's health benefits? At the end of this bad math and rationalization you are at best neutral for your food consumption choice. I've often seen the most educated consumers overwhelmed with the details of what they read and consequently make worse choices than if they just stayed with basic principles and logic.

If you put more than two teaspoons of sugar into your coffee or lemonade wouldn't you start to feel that it wasn't the best idea for your health? There's are very simple "solutions"  to the grape juice dilemna - no pun intented. First, check the label before you purchase the juice. Water down the juice to 16 ounces and drink only 8 ounces, look for unsweetened grape juice and add your own sugar. I could tell you to buy this brand and not that one but formulas change and there is no way around looking at the food label. Just do it.

I know you really started with the best of intentions.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Mindfulness

Counter the March Madness in your life with a dose of mindfulness. The practice of living consciously in the moment can keep you calm and focused and even help with weight management.. That means when you eat do nothing else. Just eat. When you eat mindfully, you concentrate on and savor every bite you eat, which in turn can keep you from eating more than you need. If you sit and eat it mindfully you  can observe what you are eating, notice if you chew enough, notice all the flavors in a particular food or dish, smell the aromas, notice the textures and how these textures calm or energize you.  Eating is an experience and it should be enjoyed as any activity is. If you enjoy it you will find yourself more concious of what you eat and whether it is satisfying and why.  Families can practice mindful eating simply "by taking a moment of silence before you begin eating so everyone can enjoy their food," she suggests. Discuss between courses. notice how different members eat at different paces notice how your moods impact how you eat. Be served and conscuous about if you are full befoe your ask for more.Eat and then wait 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry.

Tradition: Pickles and Hamburgers

For as long as I can remember, pickles are a must have with a hamburger or deli sandwich. Have you ever thought about the combinations of foods we eat, the timing of eating, the order of eating certain foods and other factors influencing the healthfulness of our eating experience? There are many long standing meal traditions that are rooted in better health. We learn these as a child and may not realize that many eating behaviors came about for optimum health.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What you don't measure, doesn't count especially when eating out

This turns out to be true in terms of the way we behave even though logically we know that it is far from correct.  It turns out that we have a short memory about what we eat in part because we are so unconscious about much of what we eat. While eating we are often multitasking - talking to someone we are eating with, eating while we prepare our food, watching television eating until the show is over rather than until we are full.   We also don't remember because we are subconsciously tuning out what we are eating so that it will be acceptable. The best example of this is what many do when they eat out. When eating out or taking in "take-out", we relinquish responsibility for portion size and many other choices. It comes with the meal; I'm treating myself (although often without any boundaries at all).

Some answers are to have a glass of water first, then a bowl of soup or salad before the meal. If you eat bread first, you will likely consume 100 calories without any spread or dip before you even get started on your meal. Keep in mind how long it takes your brain to register your food consumption which can be from 5 to 20 minutes which is why you should stop eating when you are less than full. If you know you've ordered a  large portion, ask the restaurant to put half in a to go container and not put it on your plate.  If you are still hungry, it's there but you need to take the food out of the sealed take out box.

Vegans need to supplement with Vit B12 Read this

As more and more people are moving towards vegan diets for health, I have heard that many are not aware that vegan diets are typically deficient in Vitamin B12 essential for health. The following post is one of the best I've read addressing this issue.


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, I'm 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. If they buy impulsively, that's what they will see more of. 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 and stick to better food choices that you enjoy. You'll gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions for healthful food and food practices you can happily embody and embrace!