Category Archives: healthy eating

How about some good luck foods for Friday the 13th?

Feeling blue on Friday the 13th? Perhaps you are triscadecaphobic, which is to say, fearful of Friday the 13th.

The publication Environmental Nutrition offers the following 5 foods that are super nutritious and might bring you good luck at least in terms of your general health.

Amazing avocados, is their first offering. “Ounce for ounce, they contain more blood-pressure lowering potassium than bananas. Avocados are rich in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, and cholesterole-lowering beta-sitosterol and cancer-protective glutathione, along with Vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and fiber.”

Brain-boosting blueberries come in second. “These little blue marvels are the antioxidant leaders, plump and nearly 4 grams of fiber per cup and a good dose of vitamin C. They also have cancer-protective ellagic acid, and may boost your brain health and vision.”

Anti-cancer Brazil nuts come in third. “This hearty tree nut is a ‘trigger food’ that may cause cancer cells to self-destruct. It’s a super source of selenium, a promising anti-cancer trace mineral that also promotes DNA repair and boosts immunity. Just two medium nuts contain enough selenium to perhaps reduce the incidence of prostate, colon and lung cancers.”

Good old Broccoli is number four. “Here’s an easy way to get two cancer-blockers that modify natural estrogens into less damaging forms and increase the activity of enzymes that fight carcinogens. Aim for three servings a week of broccoli or its cruciferous cousins.”

Number five is Butternut Squash. “This tasty fruit (yes, fruit) is an exceptional source of beta-carotene, the antiooxidant tyour body converts to vitamin A. But it’s also an overlooked source of bone-building calcium.”

So, look on the bright side and focus on the great nutritional benefits you can derive from these five super foods and forget about the fact that today is Friday the 13th. Just don’t walk under any ladders.

Tony

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Choosing Healthy Meals As You Get Older – NIA

Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Food provides nutrients you need as you age. Use these tips to choose foods and beverages for better health at each stage of life, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

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1. Drink plenty of liquids

With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. Learn which liquids are healthier choices.

2. Make eating a social event

Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.

3. Plan healthy meals

Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eat, how much to eat, and which foods to choose, all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Find sensible, flexible ways to choose and prepare tasty meals so you can eat foods you need.

4. Know how much to eat

Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. When eating out, pack part of your meal to eat later. One restaurant dish might be enough for two meals or more.

5. Vary your vegetables

Include a variety of different colored, flavored, and textured vegetables. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber.

6. Eat for your teeth and gums

Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Don’t miss out on needed nutrients! Eating softer foods can help. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.

7. Use herbs and spices

Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook! Maybe your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both have changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.

8. Keep food safe

Don’t take a chance with your health. A food-related illness can be life threatening for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid certain foods that are always risky for an older person, such as unpasteurized dairy foods. Other foods can be harmful to you when they are raw or undercooked, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat, or poultry.

9. Read the Nutrition Facts label

Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know as well as calories, fats, sodium, and the rest of the Nutrition Facts label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients and nutrients you might need to limit or to increase.

10. Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements

Food is the best way to get nutrients you need. Should you take vitamins or other pills or powders with herbs and minerals? These are called dietary supplements. Your doctor will know if you need them. More may not be better. Some can interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.

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Study identifies best healthy eating nudges

Actions speak louder than words. Turns out that just telling people they need to eat healthy doesn’t work nearly as well as some simple physical actions. Clearly, with almost 70 per cent of us overweight, just talking about healthy eating isn’t enough.

Behavioral nudges have emerged as the best way to improve healthy eating, according to a new paper by Pierre Chandon, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD, and Romain Cadario, Assistant Professor of Marketing at IÉSEG School of Management.

Ever since Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economics, “nudge” has been front and center in the interest of researchers and policy makers. A simple definition of nudge is an intervention that attempts to influence behaviors without using economic incentives and while preserving freedom of choice.

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In a meta-analysis of real-life experiments drawn from food science, nutrition, health economics, marketing and psychology, the authors find that behavioral nudges – facilitating action rather than providing knowledge or inducing feelings – can reduce daily energy intake by up to 209 kcal, the same number of calories as in 21 cubes of sugar.

“Just changing the amount of food on a plate or the location of the food – without necessarily educating people about nutrition content or convincing them that they should eat healthily – is the most effective intervention because you don’t need to rely on changing people’s beliefs or their goals,” said Chandon. “There is tremendous potential to help people to eat better.”

Seven ways restaurants and grocery stores can nudge food choices

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Holiday Eating Tips – Mirror Post

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat.. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
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Just how healthy is watermelon?

It’s early in watermelon season and I thought it might be nice to discuss this giant member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Although watermelons are sold year ’round, summer is their season and that’s when you get the best tasting ones. It is aptly named because a watermelon consists of 92 percent water. Can you say super-hydrator?

Full disclosure: Mr. Lazy Cook loves watermelon. What’s not to like? It is utterly simple to deal with and tastes delicious. Below is a photo of my first watermelon this year. Yum.

My first watermelon of the season

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Can you make up for years of poor eating? – Harvard

Our bodies are, in fact, organic machines. We dwell inside them and operate them in society. Sometimes, we forget that our machines need proper fueling and maintenance. When that happens, our bodies, like regular machines, begin to break down. Because they are organic in some cases we can simply correct our bad maintenance habits and revive them with exercise and good nutrition. But decades of neglect are another story.

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In your 20s, maybe you sometimes chose fast-food burgers and fries over healthier foods. Perhaps in the decades that followed you pursued a series of fad diets, questionable lifestyle choices, and too many days when you skipped your workout in favor of the couch.

You’re now repenting for the sins of the past, but the question is, can you undo the damage? Can you unclog clogged arteries (otherwise known as atherosclerosis) and reduce your risk of heart disease in the process? Continue reading

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Dining hall intervention helped students’ choices

As I have written in some of my blog posts on the brain. It is our frontal lobes that separate us from the rest of the creatures on this earth. That’s where our conscience resides and our decision-making takes place – our impulse control. It is a fact that the frontal lobes are the last to develop, often times this part of the brain is not developed until the individual reaches age 25. Personally, I found this fact to be an excellent explanation of why I made some of the really dangerous choices I did as a teen. It is well to keep this slow development fact in mind when thinking about freshmen in college living away from home for the first time in their lives.

As students transition from high school to college, they enter a critical period for weight gain. Although eating in a buffet-style dining hall offers freedom and flexibility in food choice, many students cite the abundance of food available as a cause for weight gain. As most college students’ diets are low in fruits and vegetables and high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium, researchers from the University of Toronto and Memorial University of Newfoundland created a cross-sectional study to examine whether messaging encouraging fruit, vegetable, and water intake could influence the habits of university students.

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“Our labeling, focused on beverages and fruits and vegetables, may have been useful to decrease students’ consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increase consumption of , fruits, and vegetables,” said lead author Mary Scourboutakos, PhD, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto. Continue reading

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You Are What You Eat, and Who You Know -Study

When it comes to trends in body weight, there are no easy answers.

A new study by by Vanderbilt University researchers reveals new nuances in the links between a person’s weight and the socioeconomic status of the people close to them, and suggests that gender plays a significant role in that relationship. The study, Does Your Body Know Who You Know? Multiple Roles of Network Members’ Socioeconomic Status for Body Weight Ratings, appears online in the Journal of Sociological Perspectives. (my emphasis)

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Though in the West high socioeconomic status is associated with slenderness, the relationship between status and weight is actually more nuanced than that. Using nationally representative data from the 2004 U.S. General Social Survey, Lijun Song, professor of sociology, and graduate students Philip Pettis and Bhumika PiyaSong analyzed the relationship between an individual’s weight as measured by a visual evaluation, the socioeconomic status of the people they’re close to as measured by their educational attainment, lifestyle as measured by self-reported athleticism, and gender.

While Song and her colleagues found no direct link between an individual’s weight and the socioeconomic status of their personal network, they did find an indirect one through lifestyle. Continue reading

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Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh wait, I did.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I hope this edible Christmas tree will give you healthy ideas about your eating this holiday season and in the coming year.

While you are thinking about it, don’t forget that you need to exercise, too. You won’t be exercising just to burn calories. Exercise benefits your brain and body in many ways. Check out the exercise tags at the right to read further on this.

I hope you will enjoy all the benefits of good food and exercise! Eat less; move more; live longer. Healthy eating is healthy aging and we all want that. Okay, we seniors are more aware of it than you younger folk, but keep at it and you will come realize and appreciate it too.

Best wishes for this holiday season!

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Tony

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CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter Grades the Changing American Diet

Cheese Consumption hits All-Time High; Americans Still Consuming Too Much Beef & Soda Despite Declines, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to regular readers that the CSPI gives a barely passing grade to the quantity and quality of food we are consuming.

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Americans are eating too much of everything, and it’s not just how much, but what we eat, that needs work, according to a report card on the changing American diet published today in Nutrition Action Healthletter.  The average American consumes about 2,500 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.  That’s up from about 2,000 calories a day in the 1970s. (my emphasis)

(Ed. note:  CSPI is hosting a quiz about America’s Changing Diet. Take it now, if you like, since spoilers follow.)

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Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, eat healthier

What we eat for lunch in the cafeteria and buy in the supermarket for dinner depends on the order in which the dishes are presented to us, and how easy it is to get to the products. This is the conclusion of a collaborative review of existing research at the Faculty of Science – University of Copenhagen.

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Is it possible to change our behavior when it comes to food choices only by presenting the food to the guests in a cafeteria in a different order, or by making it more difficult to reach the less healthy food? Yes, a review of existing research in this area concludes. The review shows that manipulation of food product order or proximity can influence food choice and that healthy food nudging seems promising. Eighteen studies were included in the review. Sixteen of the studies showed nudging made a positive impact. Continue reading

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Foods for a Leaner Body – Infographic

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Some folks don’t advocate avocados because of calories and fat considerations. I think that is a mistake. Check out my post – Are avocados good for you for much more info.

Also, while olive oil is healthy, I prefer the much-maligned coconut oil. You can read my Page – Why you should include coconut oil in your diet to find out why.

Tony

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Can Food Be Both Delicious and Nutritious?

On its face the answer appears to be affirmative. Of course there is delicious and nutritious food. But not all food. I think food both delicious and nutritious is in the minority. For the most part food is a greater or lesser amount of either quality.

For me, a good example is apples. A while back I posted a suggestion to add blue cheese crumbles to a fresh apple to really spark up the taste. Delicious and nutritious. The cheese makes it more so, but the apples taste great on their own.

The dark side of apples that is, apple pastries, like apple turnovers, apple pie and apple cobbler are also delicious, but not very nutritious. They are packed with a lot of empty calories and bad fats for those few seconds of taste delight.

On a personal basis, I eat apples every day, but I don’t have an apple turnover every day. If I haven’t ridden my bike 20 miles, I don’t even consider eating an apple turnover. That way, at least I have put some calories ‘in the bank’ so I don’t exceed my calorie budget for the day. I also limit myself to half an apple turnover.

But what about other popular taste treats like cheeseburgers, french fries and pizza, that are also delicious, but not nearly as nutritious as other foods less tasty.

I think it is a balancing act. I indulge in all of the above foods, but sparingly. I try for the most part to get my protein from nuts and seeds rather than animal sources. This slashes the amount of bad fats going into my blood stream.

I can give you an example from my own experience. Normally, I start the day with a smoothie from my Vita-Mix machine. But sometimes, I will buy a scone and consume it instead for my breakfast. The smoothie is around 400 calories, but mostly carbs with a lot of protein. The scone has only 190 calories, but they are empty ones compared with the smoothie. One morning that I had a scone instead of a smoothie, I took the bike out for a ride. I managed 20 miles, but found that I was wiped out at the end. I often ride 20 miles after a smoothie breakfast and feel fine. I attribute my lack of energy to having put bad fuel in my tank in the form of the scone. I chose delicious over nutritious.

I have posted a number of my ‘Mr. Lazy Cook’ recipes that are very simply prepared, but offer good nutrients along with the calories. You can click on the lazy cook tags at the right or just search lazy cook and you will find a number of tasty and nutritious items.

When I was writing the blog items on the brain I was particularly impressed with the function of the frontal lobes. They make up our conscience – our director – our impulse control. We need to exercise our frontal lobes when confronted with these tasty treats that are just empty calories. French fries is a good example. They taste great, but are cooked in fat and have lots of empty calories. A small handful of peanuts is a healthier snack.

I talk a lot about exercise here in the blog. I think exercising the frontal lobes is an especially good one. Decide in favor of nutritious over delicious even if you have to give up something in terms of taste. At least you can feel good about the fact that the food isn’t going to waist (yours).

Tony

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Health and Fitness Ideas

Instead of health and fitness funnies, I thought I would pass on some of these graphic ideas that impressed me recently. Hopefully, this week the laugh isn’t on me.

 

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In conclusion, I wish more people would focus on living a healthy life than just dropping some unwanted pounds. The first way is positive and long lasting. The second is superficial and most of the time doesn’t result in permanent weight loss.

Seems a simple choice to me.

Tony

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Don’t OutEat Your Exercise

The item yesterday on mall-walking presented a really clear example of a well-intentioned exercise outing possibly resulting in going overboard on calorie consumption. Since it all happened within an hour or so, it was very straight forward.

Consider this a variation on that theme.

A couple of years ago, I was counting up my bike riding miles. On November 28 I had a total of 3493 miles. I figured I was a cinch to reach my goal of 3500 miles for the year. There were two days left of November and the entire month of December. How could I miss getting another 7 miles?

Benefits of bike riding

Then came the snow and the ice and the freeze and winter’s winds. Chicago became Narnia under the spell of the White Witch. I looked out my window each morning and felt like a little kid who couldn’t go out and play.

At that point I was only weighing myself weekly so I didn’t catch on to what was happening for a while. The first week went by and I was unable to ride my bike. I gained 3 lbs. I didn’t take it too seriously because I know that water retention and elimination can through your weight off by a couple of pounds.
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Creating Health Bite by Bite: The Wonders of Diet and Digestion

Let’s think about what happens when we eat. We take in vegetables, grains, and animal products and we transmute those materials into their fundamental components in a form that our cells can assimilate. From that we create tissues, organs, bones, and fluids. We eat a tomato and turn it into a heart. We are recreating ourselves everyday through a process to which we give little to no thought or attention.

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STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

The process of eating and digesting is a wondrous thing. It is magic. It is alchemy. Ayurveda acknowledges this. In our Western culture the process of eating has become mindless or at best, a form of entertainment. Too often as we eat we watch TV, have meetings or socialize or, worse, we eat standing or on the run. The consequences of this disconnection to the process of eating and digestion are seen in the growing prevalence of problems such as malabsorption, irritable bowel, food sensitivities, bloating, gastritis, indigestion/heartburn, and excess gas. It also leads to lowered immunity. Before opting for a flu shot this winter, think about fine-tuning your eating habits.

There is an ancient Ayurvedic proverb: “Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need.” When we think of proper diet we need to think not just of what we eat but…

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