Healthy Food Trends in 2017

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Registered Dietitians continue to recommend that we eat more food from the earth.

Parade section of the January 1st newspaper listed popular foods that we we’ll consume more of in the new year:

1) Chick Peas, lentils and dry peas will continue to add fiber to our salads, soups, etc. with the added benefit in assisting to lower cholesterol and weight.

2) Turmeric, a relative of ginger, can be used in stir fry, eggs, soups, etc. and may provide anti-inflammatory properties as well as possibly preventing/treating Alzheimer’s disease.

3) Sorghum is known for being a gluten free cereal grain and has been growing in Africa for thousands of years. The southern part of the USA uses it to make a thick golden sweetened syrup and in salads. You’ll see more of its flour being used in baked goods or it can be popped like popcorn.

4) Sauerkraut is a favorite of mine! Because it is fermented it contains active cultures which can play a role in GI health. New flavored varieties will be appearing but be sure to look at their ingredients before purchasing them!

5) Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable sold in powdered form. Since it may add energy, one can try 1 teaspoon ( or less) in a smoothie, plain yogurt, waffle/pancake mixes or cooked cereals.

6) Beets have made their debut this past year as seen in beet chips, restaurant beet salads, etc. Medical advantages for beets and/or their greens provide medical advantages for normalizing blood pressure, adding folate to one’s diet, and lowering sugar content in recipes.

Wishing you a new year full of healthy and exciting foods!

Sensible Snacks

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Snacking has become a way of life so it must be nutrient-dense to not add empty calories to our meal plan or waist line.

In order to be a conscientious “snack shopper” choose high protein and/or high fiber foods.

* Purchase snacks in advance so you don’t have to stop when hungry to quickly scan the store’s inventory.
* Pack your pre-measured snacks in baggies or containers to avoid overconsumption.
*Incorporate a fruit and/or vegetable with at least two of the daily snacks.
*Select only seasonal produce grown in the USA
*Learn with the assistance of a dietitian to read food labels. Sugar may be addressed using ~50 different names.

Americans love to snack! Be sure to choose wholesome “back to nature” foods!

Essential Fatty Acid Market Widens for All Ages

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“Though the essential fatty acid (EFA) industry experienced its share of setbacks due to negative attention from the media regarding omega 3 fatty acids, future usage is on the upswing”, as per Karen Morse, MPH

She continues…”Studies published in 2016 continue to support the need for omega 3 supplementation. A study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive biology found that omega 3 supplementation was associated with a 58% decrease in the likelihood for early preterm delivery and a 17% decrease in preterm birth. Another published study this year out of Penn State found that omega 3 fatty acids could lower the risk of breast cancer in post menopausal obese women. A third study out of the University of Pennsylvania found that supplementation with omega 3s reduced aggression when given to children who had a history of violence”.

Be careful when choosing a brand of omega 3 supplements. Plenty of companies claim their products work. Ask first to see proof of its safety and effectiveness through the company’s “own” published scientific papers and molecular distillation process on that exact product before purchasing EFA.

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

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According to Dr. Mercola, “fast foods along with other convenience meals may compromise health”.

His article continues to state “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on nearly 8,900 Americans of all age groups between 2003 and 2010 as part of a nationwide survey oh health and nutrition. Participants reported everything they’d eaten in the past 24 hours and provided a urine sample”.

While other studies have investigated exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals from processed food this is the largest study at exposure from fast food meals. Fast food was broadly defined as food from restaurants without table service and those with take our or drive through services ( Starbucks, McDonalds, sandwich shops, etc.) as reported by Time magazine.

The new report published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who ate more fast food had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates ( which make plastic more flexible) break down in body, DEHP and DINP. DEHP can damage reproductive system, lungs, liver, kidney, etc. DINP may increase insulin resistance.

Personal care products are another major source of phthalates. Pregnant women and young children are at particular high risk when it comes to theses chemicals as noted by CNN”.

Bottom line:

1) Cook from scratch!
2) Purchase as much items in glass as possible (water glasses, baby bottles, food, etc.)
3) Search for environmentally safe and conscientious companies making food, supplements, cleaning and laundry items, fragrance free toiletries, etc.

New Organic High Protein Almond Milk

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Arriving in this week’s “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” was their endorsement of Orgain’s Organic Protein Almond Milk. And I paraphrase…

Typically this type of milk provides less than 1 gram of protein per serving. Orgain’s
almond milk packs an impressive 10 grams of plant based protein ( from brown rice, pea protein, and almonds) per serving and less serving than some of the other brands. Consuming more protein can help people feel full longer, aiding in healthy weight loss and maintenance of blood sugar levels. Quality protein may also boost muscle and tissue repair.

Orgain’s Organic Protein Almond Milk is US Department of Agriculture certifies organic, non-GMO, soy free, gluten free and bee friendly. The almonds used are grown on organic dry farms with no run off and planted alongside of organic olive and citrus groves to ensure diversification to help to protect bees and the environment.

For more information, visit

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…”