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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - Mar. 30th - Watch Your Portions

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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

"Watch your portions. While big portions might keep your wallet full, they'll also add to your waistline Split large entrées with a friend and just say no to supersizing!"

There's no denying that food serving sizes sure have grown especially over the last couple of decades. Just look at the muffins and coffees you can buy - the smallest coffee is 8 oz. and the servings go all the way up to 20 oz. - and muffins have gotten so big that just muffin tops are sold in some places. And what about burgers - when McDonald's opened in 1955 their only burger weighed 1.8 oz. and now their largest one is 8 oz. Years ago a 3" bagel had 140 calories - today a 5-6" bagel has 350 calories. And what french fries - rarely do people ask for a small order when the sizes go all the way to Super - if you order a McDonald's combo meal the fries portion is automatically medium. Fries portions have grown from 2.4 oz. at 140 calories to 6.9 oz. at 610 calories - now that's just plain scary!

The problem with this portion distortion is the tendency to eat whatever is in front of you, and overeating likely will lead to gaining unwanted pounds. Even healthy foods contribute too many calories when you eat too much of them.

A simple way to gauge portion sizes is to use your hand.
- Proteins should be roughly the size of your palm,
- carbs the size of your fist,
- and for vegetables, it's two full outstretched hands worth.

Another great way to gauge the portions of food on your plate is
- to mentally draw the letter Y on your plate.
- Place carbs on one third,
- proteins on one third,
- and vegetables or fruit on one third.
This will help you get the balance between grains and meat, and remind you to eat some vegetables or fruit at each meal.

Food portions aren't the only things that have grown over the years - so have the sizes of plates, bowls and cups. Using salad plates and dessert bowls instead of cereal bowls are good ways to keep your portions down.

Importantly, continually being more mindful of your eating is the most helpful thing you can do to reducing portion sizes and thus your waist.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUCCESSIN2011 3/31/2011 10:59AM

    Great blog ! It really isn't what we eat it's "how much" Thanks for sharing

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TRIGFROST 3/31/2011 1:33AM

    emoticon emoticon for Sharing...we all need to be reminded... emoticon

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 3/31/2011 1:08AM

    Portions have changed through the years and not for the better, huge portions are the thing now. The picture of the burgers is proof of that. WOW!

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DEE107 3/30/2011 11:40PM

    thanks for sharing and wow on the burgers

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PLATINUM755 3/30/2011 10:36PM

    WOW! Talk about a picture is worth a thousand words. And how they have capitalized on the idea of eating everything on your plate and changing the plate.

I loved the blogm you always do such a great job talking through the tips. Excellent way to feed the mind with the knowledge needed to make your goals come true. emoticon

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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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