Sunday, February 09, 2014
EATING WHOLE GRAINS
The vegetables, herbs, fruits and grains we grow in our garden provide us with nutrition, health and food that tastes great. Many of us no longer have time to raise everything in the garden so we depend upon others for our food sources. It is a good idea but we seem to be getting farther and farther away from nutrition and health when we sit down to eat. Food, according to my Webster’s Dictionary is “A substance consisting essentially of carbohydrates and protein used to sustain life and growth in the body of an organism; something that sustains or nourishes.” As we look at the average American diet very little of it nourishes or sustains us. In order to make it “safe” for us to eat, our food has been processed, bleached, homogenized and is now nutrient poor. Not only does it NOT sustain or nourish us; but, many people find themselves unable to eat much of it without consequences. We now hear words like lactose intolerant, gluten free, celiac, and high cholesterol to name only a few of our problems as we sit down to eat. What has happened to our food?
Raising your own food is one certain way to ensure that you are getting complete nutrition from the things that you eat. Many gardeners raise their vegetables for that reason; some raise it because it just tastes better; and others simply enjoy the process.
I became interested in the grains that end up on our plate because I find myself having a hard time digesting things made with white flour. Although grains are not something that I normally raise in my garden, they are something that I could raise if necessary. I started this adventure with grains by simply eliminating them from my diet. While that took care of the digestion problem, it was probably not the best approach. Health experts advise everyone – men and women, young and old – that grains are a healthy necessity to every diet but that we should make sure that a majority of the grains you eat are whole grains.
Benefits of whole grains include reducing the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease as well as an aid in maintaining proper weight. Other benefits include healthier blood pressure levels, less gum disease and tooth loss, lower risk of colorectal cancer, and a reduction of inflammatory disease.
Whole grains contain some valuable antioxidants not found in your fruits and vegetables as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber. I guess rather than eliminating this food group, I need to learn to choose the right grains.
The Whole Grains Council defines whole grains as a grain containing all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g. cracked, crushed rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed. This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.
Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye, and even popcorn. Obviously, I have a wide variety to choose from when including whole grains in my diet. Nutritionists suggest that one-fourth of my diet come from whole grains.
Some of the suggestions to include this food group into the diet include:
• Substitute a whole grain product for a refined product – whole wheat bread instead of white; brown rice instead of white.
• Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soup or stews and bulgur wheat in casserole or stir-fries.
• Try rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal cutlets or eggplant parmesan.
• Add whole grain flour or oatmeal when making cookies or other baked treats.
• Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if made with little or no added salt and butter.
This is an adventure that I am just beginning as I try to maintain my health by eating nutritious foods. Whether it is by eating more fresh vegetables or including more whole grains in the diet, we need to change our American diet into one that promotes health and wellness.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
I use the recipe files to enter my favorite and most used recipes. This allows me to track easily when I make a casserole, stew or something with several ingredients in the mix. It also gives me the information regarding the amount of sodium, vitamins & minerals, as well as calories, carbs, fats, fiber, etc. that I eat each day. This information is essential to me as I work to create a healthy diet instead of a diet simply to lose weight. The healthy diet is what I am striving for.
Several people have asked and here are the instructions for building your recipe file.
1. Click on my trackers at top of page
2. go to and click on 'my nutrition'
3. You are not going to search for a food - go to the tab that says 'recipes' and click
4. Access recipe calculator on that page.
5. Click on 'Add an ingredient'
6. Type in the food that you are using in the recipe and search for it.
7. Choose the ingredient from the drop down menu
8. Choose the amount or size of the ingredient - If it is not there click on the conversion calculator on the side and change your measure.
9 Click 'Add ingredient'
10. Keep adding the ingredients in this box in the same manner until you have listed them all.
11. NOTE: I don't always record incidentals such as a seasoning or salt, etc.; however, if you need to watch your sodium, you will want to add things such as salt.
12 Fill in the complete recipe in the box below as you would want to read it in your kitchen. Be sure to include servings. The directions will be for you when you make the recipe again.....Or if you choose to Share the recipe with other SP. (your choice).
13. Save the recipe. This will take you to your recipe file and you can choose where to save it and which categories you want to use in your file.
Next time you want to make that recipe - You go to recipes except click on 'My recipe Box" Your recipe will be in there and you can save it to your nutritional tracker.
Check the nutritional information on these at any time - for the recipe or for each ingredient. You can edit your recipe with a healthier substitute and check the nutritional information for the results.
Using the recipe file takes a little time to set up but it makes tracking much easier in the long run. Just take your time and enter recipes on cold, snowy days when you didn't want to be outside anyway.
I realize that I typed this from my perspective and maybe I didn't make sense somewhere - Ask me about it and I will try to be more clear.
GOOD LUCK and Enjoy your recipe book
Saturday, January 04, 2014
It has become evident to me that as we grow older we start suffering from our poor eating choices. Most of the diseases that seem to affect many people I know - heart disease, diabetes, cancer, COPD and the list goes on - probably started because we put something into our bodies that our bodies didn't know how to handle. I grew up on a dairy farm and we enjoyed a lot of milk and milk products. Now we are not allowed to eat unprocessed milk. The milk must be homogenized so it won't break down or separate. When I drink it my body cannot break it down either so it is hard to digest - Consequently we have so many people who are lactose intolerant or have high cholesterol. That is one example. Please note: Yogurts are different.
My eating Plan is pretty simple but it involves a life change. I have dieted all my life and now I want to develop a new healthy eating plan. My husband and I want to be able to enjoy our retirement as long as we can.
I drink water - I have a cup of coffee in the morning with my husband and then I drink water. I make sure that I have a minimum of 8 glasses a day. I put a pinch of baking soda in my glass of water. I used to have acid reflux and stomach bloat/gas etc. The baking soda has cured that.
I changed my eating to whole foods - meaning I don't buy anything processed or boxed. If I was great at this I would eliminate processed sugar from my diet but haven't gone there. I allow myself one sweet treat a day. I have succeeded in eliminating white flour from my diet as well. I do have whole grains which I use to make cookies - breads, etc.
So basically my diet consists of Oatmeal & fruit for breakfast, or a green shake which consists of 1/2 greens such as spinach or kale,1/2 fruit of any kind and a handful of nuts. I use almond milk as the liquid in my green shake. Or another favorite is yogurt and a bread of some sort.
Dinner consists of a plate of 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 whole grain, and 1/4 lean meat.
Supper is a large salad with everything imaginable in it. Greens, chopped veggies, fruit, nuts, a protein such as a chicken breast, boiled egg, or beans (chickpeas are my favorite) flax meal, avocado, shredded cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. I don't skimp on this salad.
In between meals, I eat one healthy snack - Protein bars, vegetables such as carrots, celery, and often make a humus or avocado dip to go with them.
I have been researching and making healthy snacks out of whole foods. An example is a cookie made of oats, whole wheat flour, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, walnuts, etc. It is very delicious and one will do you because of all the nutrition. I buy protein bars because I seem to have a hard time getting enough of that in my diet.
We eat popcorn in the evening (a whole grain).
Now I said this was simple - Not easy. We are conditioned to eat fast, quick foods and no one has ever mentioned the word 'needed nutrition'. I believe that is why the Holidays are so terribly difficult for us. It is not about what our bodies needs to live. It is about what we want to enjoy. Through Christmas I went to several dinners - Most of them contain almost nothing that is truly healthy - except the turkey . Then how many times do we have to dress that up into something delicious but not so good for us.
It is a choice we need to make
ARE WE EATING TO LIVE? OR ARE WE LIVING TO EAT?
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