Obese Children and Vascular Health

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As per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “Food and Nutrition” (November/December), “the relationship between exercise and vascular function in overweight and obese children and adolescents was investigated in a meta-analysis published in the August issue of Pediatrics. Vascular function was found to be significantly impaired in overweight and obese participants compared to those of normal weight. Overweight or obese children and adolescents who performed circuit or aerobic exercises had significantly improved (normalized) endothelial function.”

Kids, its time to put on your exercise shoes to get your heart and blood pumping!

“Love Lentils!”

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“With a history rooted in the Bible, lentils have maintained prominence in the Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine since their cultivation 8,500 years ago”, as per Diane Welland’s article in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “Food and Nutrition. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. This helps to lower certain cancers, heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, etc.”

Lentils don’t require overnight soaking like dried beans do. Within 20 minutes lentils can be boiled in broth and/or water and be used as a meat substitute or extenders in salads, chili, soups, casseroles, etc.

Enjoy trying a variety of lentils (eg. red, beluga, brown, French pink, yellow) to add diversity to your fall and winter menus! Whole Foods has a nice assortment of them in their bin section!

Food Safety at the Farmer’s Market

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With the popularity of local food markets on the rise, I encourage friends and nutrition clients to make time to shop at them!

Following are safety guidelines suggested by Toby Amidor, MS. RD, CDN to consider:

1) Wash your reusable cloth or plastic bag often using soap and hot water and then air dry to eliminate food contaminates such as Salmonella.

2) Wrap meat and poultry in disposable bags before placing them into reusable ones. Afterwards, toss the disposable bags.

3) Separate raw and ready-to-eat foods.

4) Store reusable bags in a cool or in a room temperature place where bacteria can’t thrive. Don’t keep them inside of a car or in a trunk!

“When Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Celiac Disease “

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New York Times reader comments were published in “Today’s Dietitian” re: concern for people who go gluten free (GF) and in doing so load up on empty calories, genetically engineered items, and highly processed foods instead. These poor quality food choices can lead to GI problems among other diseases. Monica Hoffman Fintel writes ” I think we’re seeing the results of Genetically Modified Food (GMO) and pesticide use now in our generation-our kids and grandkids will experience worse. The average “food” isn’t actual nutrient-rich food anymore but a poor substitute. Leaky gut and autoimmune disorders will continue to get worse as will infertility rates”.

What is the best time to Exercise, if my goal is weight loss?

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As per a recent NY Times article, ” In a ground breaking 2010 study, researchers in Belgium persuaded young healthy men to stuff themselves for six weeks with a diet consisting of 305 more calories and 50 % more fat than men had been eating. Some of the volunteers remained sedentary while gorging. Others began a strenuous midmorning exercise routine after they had breakfast. The third group followed the same workout regimen, but before they had eaten anything.

At the end of six weeks, the sedentary group gained about six pounds each. They also developed insulin resistance, etc. The men who exercised after breakfast had also packed on the pounds, about three each, and developed insulin problems. But the men who had exercised first thing in the morning, before eating anything, had gained almost no weight and retained healthy insulin levels. Their bodies were also burning more fat throughout the day that were the other men…”

“To Improve A Memory, Consider Chocolate”

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Pam Belluck’s New York Times article will make a lot of people happy!

…”In a small study in the journal Nature Neuroscience, healthy people, ages 50 to 69, who drank a mixture high in antioxidants called cocoa flavanols for three months performed better on a memory test than people who drank a low-flavanol mixture.

On average, the improvement of high -flavanol driners meant they performed like people two to three decades younger on the study memory tasks, said Dr. Scott A. Small a neurologist at Columbia University Center and the study’s senior author. They performed about 25 %better than the low-flavanol group.”

“…Besides improvement on the memory test- a pattern recognition test involving the kind of skill used in remembering where you parked your car or recalling the face of someone you just met-researchers found increased function in the area of the brains hippocampus called the dentate gyrus, which has been linked to this kind of memory.”

“…Do not rush out to buy Milky way or Snickers bars. To consume the high-flavanol groups daily dose of epicatechin, 138 milligrams, would take eating at least 300 grams of dark chocolate a day- about seven average candy bars…Milk chocolate has most epicatechin processed out of it”.

Build A Healthier Smoothie!

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Many of my clients are drinking smoothies for breakfast. They are quick and easy.
However, often the sugar content adds too many calories to the liquid drink. This can be an extra concern for diabetics.

Today’s Dietitian ( September 2014) provides suggestions to making the perfect smoothie.

A) Be careful of portions. Using a 16-20-oz glasses can easily increase calories up to 500 or more per serving.
B) High fat ingredients such as nut butters and avocados are packed with healthy fat and protein but often clients overload on these ingredients. Non fat organic plain yogurt or non- GMO soy, rice, green pea, etc. protein powders are great options to cutting calories and increasing protein.
C) Overusing fruit juice or fresh fruit can replace healthier ingredients such as seasonal vegetables that are much lower in sugar and more nutrient and fiber dense.

Advanced Glycation End Products

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With spring finally here and daffodils in bloom, it’s likely that grilled lamb and burgers will be reintroduced on our dinner menus!

As per Today’s Dietitian Magazine, the editor comments on the impact of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and the attention it is getting in recent months.

As per Judith Riddle, “AGEs are harmful compounds that result from cooking foods at high temperatures. The American diet contains foods that are largely heat processed and include high levels of pro-oxidant AGEs’ known to cause inflammation, suppress defense mechanisms, boost appetite, ehance obesity, and diabetic risk. People should be aware of overcooked foods, especially red meat that’s charred in the oven or on the grill, as this is a sign that AGEs are present”.

No need to give up the grill! Choose carbohydrate-rich foods as fruits, vegetables and vinegar or lemon juice marinades to produce the least amount of AGEs.

“Forks Over Knives”

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…A must see new documentary, free on Netflix! Comprehensive and shocking nutrition studies completed by  Dr. Colin Campbell (Professor Emeritus at Cornell University) are revealed in this film as well as in his national best seller book, The China Study. Everyone will think twice about their eating habits and food selections! 


A taste of Spain!

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Quite surprised! From Zaragoza to the northern Basque region, fruits and vegetables were really limited.

However, the paella (saffron rice  with fresh mussels,crab, and chicken) from Madrid and Pintxos (Basque appetizers) from San Sebastian magnificent coastal resort made up for the lack of produce. Understandably, the land is so dry and arid. Infact, our US Marines are flown into Zaragoza’s mountainous region for training since it resembles Afghanistan’s terrain.   

Although I wasn’t ready to leave, biting into my first apple in 8 days was heavenly!  Now it’s back to work!