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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 29th - Shop Seasonally

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Shop seasonally. When you eat produce that's in season, you're getting the highest quality and freshest flavour while saving money. Change your diet with the seasons and try a variety of colourful foods."

We have shopping choices that our ancestors never thought of. At any time of the year we can go to the grocery store and buy produce that was once only available for a few months or even a few weeks a year. We can eat tomatoes year round, berries in November and corn on the cob in February - foods that for most of our areas are out-of-season - so why would we want to eat like our ancestors had to - eating fresh produce that was either grown in their yards or very close by locally? Simple answer: because it tastes better and is more nutritious!

When produce is ripe it is at it's nutritional peak. Fruits and veggies that have traveled long distances to market aren't picked when they're ripe. While the produce might gain colour and softness during the journey to market, nutritional value comes through the stem from the living plant so that once the fruit or veggie is harvested that's as nutritious as it's going to get. The nutritional value decreases every day past harvest and usually it doesn't taste as good and the texture just isn't the same.

So make it a practice to eat produce that is grown in the area where you live and buy it at its peak of ripeness rather than the produce that was packed unripe and shipped thousands of miles. An added bonus is that seasonal food is often cheaper than out of season produce. Take a nice drive to a pick-your-own field or buy from farm stands. Visit farmers' markets in the city which are usually open from Spring to late Fall. Many health food stores have a produce section and staff should be able to tell you how fresh it is. And there's nothing better than eating a fresh tomato off the vine so consider planting your own garden - if space is a problem consider container gardening - where there's a will there's a way!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTBIRDY 3/30/2011 12:58AM

    We had some asparagus this week. A fleeting pleasure.

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/30/2011 12:38AM

    I cannot wait for our Farmer's Markets to start up here. I admit that I do not go to them as much as I should, but this year I will. There are so many new fruits & veggies there that some supermarkets don't carry. Also you'll find many local products to try and I like buying local.

Great blog, thanks!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/30/2011 12:42:35 AM

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DEE107 3/29/2011 11:03PM

    thanks for sharing

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 28th - Protect Your Bones With Calcium

Monday, March 28, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Protect your bones with calcium. Aim for 3 servings of calcium-rich foods daily such as 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt and 1-2 oz. of cheese. Non-dairy alternatives that are fortified with calcium also make good choices."

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is needed for :

- the formation of bones & teeth
- helping in muscle contraction
- controlling the transmission of nerve impulses
- the absorption of vitamin B12
- in the action of fat digesting enzyme (pancreatic lipase)
- in the secretion of insulin from the pancreas
- for normal clotting of blood.

Thus, calcium not only gives strength to our basic structure but also is required in smaller amounts for the proper functioning of every cell in the body.

Unfortunately studies show that adults receive only half of the daily recommendation for this mineral. Insufficient dietary calcium can lead to weak and fragile bones, increasing the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. If there is not a sufficient amount of calcium in the bloodstream, the body will “borrow” calcium from the bones to supply the other needs of the body. If this calcium is not replaced, the bones will become porous and weak, thus the need for adequate dietary calcium.

The Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults 19-50 years of age, increasing to 1,200 mg for men and women over the age of 50. Children under 18 years of age and pregnant and lactating women should aim for 1,300 mg daily.

Good dietary sources of calcium are:

Yogurt - 1 cup - 350 mg
Milk - 1 cup - 300 mg
Orange juice, fortified - 1 cup - 290 mg
Cheese, 1 ounce - 200-250 mg
Cheese pizza - 1 slice - 230 mg
Canned salmon (w/bones) - 3 ounces - 205 mg
Sardines (w/bones) - 4 sardines - 185 mg
Pudding - ½ cup - 150 mg
Cottage cheese - 1 cup - 125 mg
Collard greens - ½ cup - 113 mg
Ice cream - ½ cup - 90 mg
Broccoli - 1 cup - 76 mg
Almonds - 1 ounce - 75 mg
Orange - 1 medium - 50 mg

Important to Note:

- To properly absorb calcium, sufficient vitamin D needs to be available, either stored in the body or along with the calcium-rich food being eaten.

- If you use a supplement, do not get more than 2,500 mg of calcium per day from food and supplements together as too much calcium in the diet can inhibit the absorption of certain minerals, like magnesium, iron and zinc and the risk of kidney stones increases.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OURELEE1 3/29/2011 5:05PM

  Another great blog .

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/29/2011 1:22AM

    Wonderful blog. I'm so bad at calcium and need to get better with that.

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DEE107 3/28/2011 11:57PM

    thanks for sharing

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REDSHOES2011 3/28/2011 10:48PM

    emoticoninformative blog!

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 27th - Sweeten Without Sugar

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Sweeten without sugar. Sugar and corn syrup add calories to foods, but have no nutritional value. Buy syrup- and-sugar-free varieties of fruit spread, applesauce, juice, and canned fruits. After all, fruit is naturally sweet!"

According to www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.
the average American consumes 156 pounds of sugar per year - that's 31-5 lb. bags of sugar each! Now that's a lot of extra non-nutritious calories - notwithstanding the fact that excessive sugar consumption results in lowered immunity and the extra calories can lead to increased rates of obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), osteoporosis, candida, and a host of other degenerative conditions.

Because "added sugar" consumption has grown so much not just in North America, but also throughout the entire world, both the United Nations and the World Health Organization in 2003 released guidelines that advise sugar should account for no more than 10% of daily calories. In a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that's just 200 calories -- or eight heaping teaspoons of table sugar at 25 calories each. A single can of regular soda which has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons would put you over your daily allotment.

To avoid hidden sugar:

- Read food labels. Ingredients are listed in order of volume, so anything with sugar, corn syrup, glucose (or, in general, words ending in "-ose") near the top of the list is likely to be high in sugar.
- When you do choose a product with added sugar, watch your portion size.
- Avoid processed foods as much as you can -- especially sodas and - other sweetened beverages.
- Artificial sweeteners, like sugar, have no nutritional value and should be used sparingly.

When craving sweets, fruit is best - some suggestions are:

- Angel food cake topped with fruit.
- Frozen fruit ices and sorbets.
- Low-fat frozen yogurt.
- Fruit shakes made with low-fat milk.

suggests the following alternative sweeteners:

- Fruit concentrates . Fructose sugar is sweeter than table sugar, and because of its more steady absorption and metabolism in the bloodstream, it doesn't produce the roller coaster effect of refined sugars. Fruit concentrates, such as pear and apple, are the best because fructose is the primary sugar in these fruits. While the amount of fruit concentrate you choose to use depends upon your own sweet or tart preferences, as a general guide, use half as much fruit concentrate as sugar in a recipe.

- Cinnamon . Cinnamon is a sweet spice, and a small amount goes a long way. Two teaspoons of cinnamon can change a tart apple pie to a sweet one, lessening the amount of sugar needed. As an added nutritional perk, a teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 milligrams of calcium and traces of B-vitamins, fiber, and iron.

- Other sweet spices. Spicing up a dish with distinct flavors will lessen your temptation to add sugar. Try these herbs and spices to accent the flavor in foods: mint, cloves, anise, and ginger. A twist of lemon peel spruces up the look and flavor of almost any beverage, including plain water.

- Fruit toppings, such as crushed pineapple, applesauce, strawberries, or blueberries instead of syrup on pancakes and waffles. Sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg to bring out the fruit's natural sweetness.

- Plain yogurt flavored with fresh fruit. The result is less sweet and contains better sugars than the syrupy fruit preserves.

- Unsweetened canned or frozen fruit packed in water or its own juices rather than those in which syrups have been added.

- Reduce the sugar called for in recipes by at least a half. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, or fruit concentrate to perk up the sweetness. (This may not work well in traditional recipes for cookies and cakes. You may have to experiment to discover how low you can go and still produce results you find acceptable.) If you substitute honey or molasses, use half or less of the recommended amount for sugar. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, try using 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of honey.

- If you substitute honey, molasses, or fruit concentrate for sugar in a recipe, use half or less of the recommended amount for sugar. If the recipe calls for a cup of sugar, try using a quarter to a half cup of honey.

- Instead of sugar in coffee or tea, try a cinnamon stick. The swirling is fun and gives you something to do with your hands. Many people find the cinnamon stick helpful after a meal for breaking not only the sugar habit but also the smoking habit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thanks for posting this. I know it's been a while since you did...but the info you gave is just as relevant now. I'm trying to find ways to cut out sugar and to be honest...it's not an easy task. I've found there are so many things that have sugar in them, so wish me luck.

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/28/2011 12:54AM

    Great ideas! I grew up in a type 2 diabetic household so sugar-free has always been a part of my life as much as I could. I'm use to it too much that I'd probably freak out with the real thing. Thanks for all the time you put into your blogs for us, awesome!

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DEE107 3/27/2011 9:58PM

    thanks for sharing

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EGRAMMY 3/27/2011 9:23PM

    emoticonH How sweet of you to caution us about sugar

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 26th - Swap Whole Grains for White

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Swap whole for white - grains that is. White flours, breads, rice and pasta are highly processed and low in nutrients. Whole grain varieties are packed with nutrients, fibre and staying power."

Sue Gregg, whole foods cookbook author, tells us that "whole grains provide a goldmine of nutrients and dietary fiber. Containing over 22 nutrients, they are especially high in the B-vitamins and vitamin E and contain a wide range of minerals. Devitalized white flours with the germ and bran removed have been stripped of more than 70% of these life supporting nutrients."

People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes than those who don’t. What’s more, whole grains have their bran intact and thus have more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients. And not only are whole grains healthier, but they are generally lower in calories, are more filling and thus they help with overeating.

Common Types of Whole Grains:

- wild rice
- brown rice
- whole wheat
- oatmeal
- whole oats
- barley
- whole rye
- bulgar
- popcorn

Less Common Types of Whole Grains:

- amaranth
- millet
- quinoa
- sorghum
- triticale

When searching for whole grains, don’t be fooled by faux whole grains. Doing a quick scan of the bread, snack or cereal aisles, you'll find just about every package touting its whole grains. However, not all of them are actually whole grain. Things like “100% wheat”, “multigrain” or “stone ground” or "cracked wheat" may confuse you as none of these labels actually indicate the product is whole grain and are often made mostly from refined white flour. The only reliable guide to ensuring that your choice is a true whole grain is to check the ingredients list: the term “whole” or “whole-grain” should precede the grain's name, such as “whole-grain rye.”

When working on kicking the "white" habit and increasing whole grains in your diet

- Try phasing in a whole grain by mixing it half-and-half with a refined one—for example, a blend of whole-wheat and regular pasta or brown and white rice. Gradually increase the proportions until your palate—and digestive tract—adjust.
- Trade white bread products including crackers for 100% whole grain.
- Swap your cereal for oatmeal, hot whole wheat cereal, bran flakes, shredded wheat or a mixed grain one.
- Choose brown instead of white rice. Note it takes longer to cook, however, short grains cook faster than long grain.
- Add oats or crushed bran flakes to homemade hamburgers instead of bread crumbs.
- Use whole-wheat flour as a substitute for half of the all-purpose flour in your baked goods recipes.
- Sprinkle oats in your yogurt.
- Add some wild rice to a salad.
- Add brown or wild rice or barley to soups, stews and casseroles.
- Eat popcorn for a great whole grain snack.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EGRAMMY 3/27/2011 1:46PM

    I have been doing this. Thanks for another great lesson.

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CLUMBOY 3/27/2011 5:18AM

    thanks for the information.
my fave whole grain--spelt

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/27/2011 1:57AM

    Love, love, love whole grains! Being Mexican it was hard to switch to whole wheat tortillas, but now I love them too. Great blog and suggestions there.

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DEE107 3/26/2011 9:35PM

    thanks for sharing

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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 25th - Make Healthy Recipe Substitutions

Friday, March 25, 2011

Today's tip from SP's "31 Days to a Healthier Diet" is

"Modify your recipes. Keep the tradition and boost the nutrition by making substitutions: whole grain flour, less salt, heart-healthy fats, half the sugar, and beans instead of meat. Your taste buds won't know the difference!"

gives us four techniques that we can use to help create healthier recipes.

1. Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt

Often the amount of fat, sugar and salt can be reduced without sacrificing flavor in healthy recipes. Use these general guidelines:

■Fat. For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree. You can also use commercially prepared fruit-based fat replacers found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.

■Sugar. Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half. Instead, add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond flavoring to boost sweetness.

■Salt. Reduce salt by one-half in baked goods that don't require yeast. (For foods that require yeast, don't reduce the amount of salt, which is necessary for leavening. Without salt, such foods may become dense and flat.) For most main dishes, salads, soups and other foods, you can reduce the salt by one-half or eliminate it completely.

2. Make a healthy substitution

Healthy substitutions not only reduce the amount of fat, calories and salt in recipes, but also can boost the nutritional content.

■Pasta. Use whole-wheat pasta instead of enriched pasta. You'll triple the fiber and reduce the number of calories.

■Milk. Prepare a dessert with fat-free milk instead of whole milk to save 66 calories and almost 8 grams of fat per cup.

■Meat. When making casseroles, scale back on meat, poultry or fish and increase the amount of vegetables. You'll save on calories and fat while gaining more vitamins, minerals and fiber.

3. Cut back some ingredients

In some recipes, you can eliminate an ingredient altogether or scale back the amount you use.

■Toppings. Eliminate items you generally add out of habit or for appearance, such as frosting, coconut or whipped cream toppings, which are all high in fat and calories.

■Condiments. Cut condiments, such as pickles, olives, butter, mayonnaise, syrup, jelly and mustard, which can have large amounts of salt, sugar, fat and calories. Use less soy sauce than a recipe calls for to decrease the amount of salt.

■Cheese. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, use 1/2 cup instead.

4. Change cooking and prep techniques

Healthy cooking techniques can capture the flavor and nutrients of your food without adding excessive amounts of fat, oil or salt. Try these preparation techniques for healthy recipes.

■Cooking method. Healthy cooking techniques include braising, broiling, grilling, poaching, sauteing and steaming.

■Basting liquid. If the directions say to baste the meat or vegetables in oil or drippings, use a small amount of wine, fruit juice, vegetable juice or fat-free vegetable broth instead.

■Nonstick cookware. Using nonstick pans or spraying pans with nonstick spray will further reduce the amount of fat and calories added to your meals.

Some helpful substitutions from hubpages.com/hub/Low_Fat_Cooking_Tip

•1 cup whole milk = 1 cup skim milk
•1 cup buttermilk = 1 Tbsp vinegar OR 1 Tbsp lemon juice + enough skim milk to make 1 cup
•1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated skim milk OR 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt + 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
•1 cup sour cream = 1 can chilled evaporated skim milk whipped with 1 tsp lemon juice
•1 cup cream cheese = 4 Tbsp margarine + 1 cup dry low-fat cottage cheese (+ a little skim milk if needed)
•1 cup butter or oil = 2/3 cup applesauce
•1 egg = 2 egg whites

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PLATINUM755 3/26/2011 5:33PM

    Love the blog...I found this made a big different in my approach to a healthy lifestyle.

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OURELEE1 3/26/2011 3:37PM

  Thanks very helpful.

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SUGARPUNK52 3/26/2011 12:58AM

  Thank you for sharing this with us.Reminders sure don't hurt.

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/26/2011 12:47AM

    I love it! I love cooking and one of my biggest things is taking a recipe and changing it up to make it healthy. Great ideas and I will use some of them. Thanks!

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DEE107 3/26/2011 12:19AM

    thank you so much for sharing

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