Category Archives: nutrition

Feeding your body and your brain – Infographic

For the record, this has nothing to do with losing weight, but everything to do with providing your body and your brain with proper nourishment. I especially liked the final segment which points out how your brain benefits from exercise. 

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Filed under anxiety, depression, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, nutrients, nutrition

Sweet potatoes are sweet enough – Harvard

I am a big fan of sweet potatoes. Drum roll, please. Number one on the countdown of 10 best foods from the Center for Science in the Public Interest is Sweet Potatoes. A nutritional All-Star — one of the best vegetables you can eat. They’re loaded with carotenoids, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

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Harvard School of Public Health says, that sweet potatoes are typically recognized by their copper-colored skin and vibrant orange flesh, though the hundreds of varieties grown worldwide display colors such as white, cream, yellow, reddish-purple, and deep purple. Although they are often found on holiday tables covered in marshmallows or mixed with added sweeteners, there’s no need! True to their name, sweet potatoes have a naturally sweet flavor, which is further enhanced through cooking methods like roasting. They are also one of the top sources of beta-carotene—a precursor to vitamin A. Continue reading

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Latest update on U.S. nutrition, physical activity and obesity

Each month, the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion releases an infographic with the latest data related to a Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicator (LHI) topic. These infographics show progress toward Healthy People 2020 LHI targets — and show where there’s still work to be done.  

This month’s featured LHI topic is Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Check out the infographic below, then head over to the Healthy People 2020 LHI Infographic Gallery to see infographics for other LHI topic areas.

LHI_2017_November_Full-Infographic.png

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Filed under childhood obesity, Exercise, exercise benefits, how much exercise, nutrition, nutrition information, nutritional deficiencies, obesity

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes Without Losing Nutrients

I don’t do a lot of cooking items, but I wanted to reblog this for two reasons. I think sweet potatoes are delicious and also they are one of the under-appreciated foods. I bet you don’t eat them often enough.

Nutrition summary:

Calories
112
Fat
0.06g
Carbs
26.16g
Protein
2.04g
There are 112 calories in 1 5″ long Sweet Potato.
Calorie breakdown: 0% fat, 94% carbs, 6% protein.

Tony

Our Better Health

Few foods are as versatile as they are nutritious, but the humble sweet potato is one exception. Whether you bake, roast, grill, saute, steam or microwave it, the orange-fleshed root vegetable delivers substantial amounts of vitamins A, C and B-6, potassium, iron and dietary fiber. Boiling sweet potatoes is not the most nutritious option because some of the vitamins are lost into the cooking water. You’ll get the most nutritional value from a sweet potato if you eat the whole thing, as its skin is a highly concentrated source of minerals and fiber. You’ll also absorb more of the vegetable’s beta-carotene – which your body converts to vitamin A – by consuming it with a small amount of fat.

In the Oven

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Rinse the sweet potato under cool running water. Use your fingers to brush off any dirt, as…

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How Do We CREATE (CAUSE) Disease And Dysfunction?

This is a perfect description of the phrase “organic machines” which I use to describe our bodies.

Please check my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further on this.

Tony

All About Healthy Choices

lived-700x476Most people think of disease as something we “CATCH.” The flu, chicken pox, sinus infections, are a few examples. Then there are diseases that are non communicable like diabetes, obesity and cancer. Dysfunction is a term that applies to the loss of muscle, vital organs (ex. heart, liver, gastrointestinal tract, etc…) joint, tendon or ligament function. These are the basic causes of health complications we contend with that affect the quality of life we live.

Many of you probably think of disease and dysfunction as a “NORMAL” aging process. It is commonly believed that “LUCK” determines who will suffer disease and dysfunction and who will remain healthy.

It is because of this FALSE BELIEF that I write this article!

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screen-shot-2013-06-11-at-9-23-22-am-500Creating disease doesn’t mean placing your head in a vat of viruses and breathing deeply. It means CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT within the BODY and MIND that is so weak…

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Filed under cardiovascular diseases, chronic disease, coronary heart disease, Exercise, exercise and brain health, nutrition

Research Reveals How A Single Choice Affects Mental Health More Than Medications

Regular readers know that I have stressed the importance of exercise for the brain. So, it seems a logical corollary that food also affects the brain as well as the body.

nutrition

Tony

Our Better Health

“We need to get serious
about the critical role played by nutrition.”

– Julia Rucklidge, Clinical Psychologist

We pretty much all agree that good nutritional habits are vital to good physical health, yes? But what about mental health? Do good nutritional habits translate to a healthier mental state? On the surface, it would make sense. After all, the food that we eat contains nutrients – and these nutrients are transported throughout our entire body via our bloodstream. We already know that the brain requires nutrients to operate effectively…so, yeah, it makes sense.

But is eating right more important to mental health than prescription medicine?

Ah, this is a bit trickier. After all, pharmaceuticals are research-intensive and science-based products that have undergone extensive trial and error, often over a period of multiple years. These same products have earned the coveted “seal of approval” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)…no easy…

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MEDICATION

This is absolutely worth reading. It is good thinking and meets all my biases regarding living a healthy life.

Tony

All About Healthy Choices

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Webster’s dictionary defines MEDICATION as, “a SUBSTANCE used for medical treatment, especially a medicine or drug.

Webster’s dictionary defines FOOD as, “any nutritious SUBSTANCE that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to MAINTAIN LIFE AND GROWTH.

We have a tendency to separate the two words MEDICINE and FOOD believing they are INDEPENDENT of each other. Hippocrates (the founding FATHER OF MEDICINE) quoted, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates understood that food provided the body an ESSENTIAL COMPONENT necessary to maintain healthy FUNCTION. He understood the body was under constant “attack” by environmental, emotional and physical factors and needed FOOD (as Webster’s dictionary states) “to MAINTAIN LIFEAND GROWTH.” He recognized that GOOD HEALTH was the body’s NATURAL STATE of EXISTENCE. Hippocrates understood that DISEASE only manifested when the body was unable to…

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Nutrition and Healthy Aging for Men

Here’s a closer look at five of the most common health conditions that affect men as they age, and how better nutrition and lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk.

Excellent information in this. I must admit to being highly satisfied to see the increased emphasis on exercise.

Please check out my Page on Important Facts About Your Braind (and Exercise Benefits).

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Judith C. Thalheimer, a dietitian wrote . . . . .

As men get older, their risk of developing chronic diseases increases. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits can decrease that risk and help ensure a higher quality of life for years to come.

“Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods can help men promote their overall health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases,” says Ximena Jimenez, MS, RDN, LD, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy). By sharing that wisdom with male clients in a way that empowers them to take control of their health through lifestyle choices, nutrition professionals can have a major impact on their lives.

Here’s a closer look at five of the most common health conditions that affect men as they age, and how better nutrition and lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk.

1. Heart Disease

The statistics…

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Nuts Offer Great Nutritional Benefits – Infographic

I am a great believer in eating nuts and seeds.

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Check out my posts to read further:

6 Reasons You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds Year-Round
The Super Seeds: Which is Healthier?
What are the Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Dr. Oz on Chia Seeds and Green Tea
Are Chia Seeds Good for You?
Quinoa and Brown Rice – Seeds of Change
Are Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) Good For You?

Tony

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Eating in season: Kale

Although this blog is based in Utah, the ideas about nutrition, appreciation and preparation are totally on point. Good recipes, too.
Tony

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Peanuts: Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits

Here is another arrow in our quiver of healthy nuts and seeds.

Our Better Health

Posted in Nuts by admin on 20 May 2014  

Peanuts are salty and delicious pleasure. Ideal for appetizers while watching a sports game or a great substitute for potato chips while watching a movie. Besides being delicious, it can be very healthy.

  •     Regulate the level of sugar in the blood

For stable blood sugar throughout the day, eat peanut butter. It is recommended this product to eat for breakfast.

  •     Increase concentration and memory capability

Thanks to vitamin B3 that contain peanuts, helps the brain to function normally and increases concentration and ability to remember.

  •     Peanuts reduce cholesterol
Nuts

Although the belong in the category of products that contain high amounts of calories and fat, recent studies have shown that peanuts can act preventively heart disease and lower cholesterol and triglycerides without weight gain.

  •     Contains vitamins

Peanuts are rich in vitamins B1, B3, 3, magnesium, calcium, iron and…

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Blog-Hopping

When I started writing this blog in March 2010, I was excited at the prospect of sharing what I had learned about healthy eating and losing weight. I hoped to help  other folks avoid the eating mistakes I had made. Now, in the fifth year of blogging, I have made a number of discoveries. First, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about healthy eating and losing weight. I certainly learned more than I thought I knew before I started. Second, I was amazed to learn what interesting things were being created by fellow bloggers. I now look forward to reading the blogs daily rather than just writing my own.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Shop with Vinny Grette for fun and good food

Shop with Vinny Grette for fun and good food

1. What are you working on?

Cook Up a Story, my food blog, grew out of a book I wrote for kids and their families by the same title. A retirement project, the book was an experiment in creativity and positive thinking.

You see, I spent my career editing and directing the production of scientific material for Canada’s Department of Agriculture. All of that seemed rather dry. Even the work we did getting science discoveries into the schools, although a lot more fun than the usual assignments, was subject to strict approvals at many levels. Most of the fun was edited out in the process.

My first adventure upon leaving the public service was a course on writing for children. It stirred up lots of fun material, all of which mysteriously contained some reference to food… or to food and science. So I decided: why fight it? I’d put together a book focusing on healthy eating for kids and their families, built on the backbone of six of my children’s stories.

2. How does your work differ from others of this genre?

As it turns out, the book is completely different from what is on the bookshelves. No-one publishes books that contain both fiction and nonfiction. Where would you put it in the bookstore? Even the famous Canadian author Yann Martel (who wrote Life of Pi) had the same problem getting his subsequent book published, because he wanted to intersperse his fantasy novel with critical nonfiction.

3. Why do you write/draw what you do?

So I decided to self-publish. I had no problem with the production of the book itself. In fact I was told by publishers it is extremely professional in its finish. But as far as promotion and distribution went, I was at a loss.

Enter the blog. And my life has never been the same since.

What began as a tool to promote my book took off with a life of its own.

I’ve tried to maintain the same fun tone in my blog as I use in the book. My goal is to get kids interested in thinking about how their food choices affect their health.

With newspapers and magazines full of stories about fast foods, processed foods, and sugar leading to rampant obesity in kids as well as their families, I thought my background might be suited to making some small difference in this area. This idea keeps me motivated.

Vinny goes to school

Vinny goes to school!

I began presenting in schools and in the community, in hopes of getting kids into the kitchen where they could learn to choose and make healthy foods for their table.

4. How does your writing/drawing process work?

I begin by choosing a healthy food. Then I give it a silly name and invent some kind of character for it. I try to find songs or nursery rhymes I can use to give more life to the piece. I create a little story to draw families into the recipe. The idea is to give people a reason to try the food, beyond it being good for you. Then I help with some tasty but simple ways to use the food. There is always a recipe :).

Often, I tried making the recipe with the kidlets in my family. That would lead to changes in the recipe or the description. I took lots of pictures. My aim wasn’t so much to show kids how to cook. There are all kinds of wonderful recipes books in the stores that do that very nicely. Rather, I wanted to teach them what to cook… and why they should make the effort to learn how to make these foods taste good.

I’m thinking of doing up a second book using material from my blog. There would be more recipes than I had in the first book, which should be considered the appetizer in the quest for knowledge about healthy eating. The new book would be the main course… the entree, so to speak.

It’s all fun. I may take a breather over the summer to collect my thoughts and see where to go from here. In the meantime, folks, keep on cooking!

Now where was that?

Vinny Grette wonders what to cook for dinner

The second is Rob Gott a genius with a pencil, or whatever it is he uses to draw those delightful characters.

Robin ( Rob) Gott grew up in North London, England, in the house once inhabited by the boy who would grow up to become Boris Karloff. Scared away by the ghost of the famous horror film actor, the family moved to a house in Stansted in Essex, previously owned by Douglas Fiarbank’s Junior’s daughter, and the venue of a Rat Pack party or two.

rob_portrait
Whether all this show business history had any effect on the youthful Robin is food for thought, but he did drift into working in the film and TV animation in London, as an artist and later working with story development. In 1994 he packed his bags, moved to Malmoe in Sweden, fell in love with the lovely Karin, and there he’s been ever since.

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He draws cartoons, acts and writes. He’s written songs, poetry, scripts for graphic novels, two screenplays (one commissioned by Per Holst, a Danish producer) and is now being encouraged by his two boisterous sons, aged 8 and 10, to write a children’s novel. This is very much in the early stages and at the moment he’s gathering all the ingredients for a hopefully wondrous concoction inspired by Anthony Horowitz, Roald Dahl and of course – Boris Karloff!

Rob loves being with his family, especially at their lakeside cabin nestled cozily in a Swedish forest, fishing, running, cooking, playing guitar and flopping about on sofas, drinking English ale and watching old black and white films.

You can learn more about him at www.robingott.com or on Facebook.

Tony

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How About Some Granola Without any Grains?

Let me hear that, get me near that
Crunchy Granola Suite
Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin’
Crunchy granola’s neat ( Neil Diamond )


I agree with Neil about crunchy granola being neat. It has been a part of my diet for more years than I care to remember.

I know ‘Granola Without Grains’ sounds like something left over from April Fool’s Day. But it isn’t.  That’s why I was so surprised to discover Paleo Granola by CJK Foods of Chicago, IL.

“Granola,” according to Wikipedia “is a breakfast food and snack food, popular in the Americas, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, are sometimes added.”

So, clearly, grains are an integral part of granola.

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I must confess almost total ignorance of the Paleo diet. I just checked the web and the first thing I learned is that they don’t eat grains. They do eat grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthful oils, like coconut oil. Lots of good eating there. So, the fact that you don’t eat grains explains why the Paleo Granola has no grains in it.

Before going further, I need to tell you that I bought it from my local grocer who had a girl passing out samples. I tried one and was blown away by the taste. A party in my mouth! I went right back and picked up a package. I am now on my third one.

Okay, so what is in Paleo Granola?

The ingredients are Organic almonds, organic sunflower seeds, almond flour, organic cashews, organic walnuts, maple syrup, organic flax seeds, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, vanilla, organic coconut flakes, spices and salt.

Here is the nutrition breakdown:
Serving size 2 ounces, 57 grams
Calories 295
Total fat 23 grams
Saturated fat 8 grams
No Trans fat
Sodium 16 mg
Dietary fiber 4 grams
Sugar 11 grams
Protein 7 grams

A quick comparison with a regular granola, puts Paleo slightly higher on calories, a lot higher on total fat, due to the nuts and coconut, way down on sodium and higher on fiber and protein. Not a bad tradeoff, I think.

Although I am a big granola fan and have a bowl almost every day. I have found that I like the taste of this Paleo mixture so much that I use it as a snack and sometimes take chunks of it with me for energy breaks when I ride the bike.

While I usually refrain from writing up local products that are not available to readers of an international blog, I did this one because I thought you might enjoy being exposed to the concept of granola sans grains. Also, resourceful readers might even try to make it on their own with a little experimentation. You have all the ingredients.

If anyone does try to make their own, I hope you will share your experience with the blog.

For Neil Diamond fans, here is the best audio version I could find on You Tube:

Tony

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Filed under breakfast, eating, energy, energy bars, Exercise, fresh fruit, granola, health, healthy fats, healthy living, meat, nutrition, nuts, Paleo Diet, protein, salt, saturated fat, snack foods, Snacking, Weight

Should We Cut Carbohydrates to Lose Weight?

“Carbs are fattening – cut down on them” is another of the popular food myths. Many people think that by reducing their carbohydrate consumption they will lose weight.

Not true, according to Erin McCarthy, MS. RD, LDN, professional dietician at the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

McCarthy said that no matter what food group you choose, if you cut out the items from that group, you will reduce your caloric intake and lose weight.
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So, cutting down on carbs is not necessarily the way to go if you want to lose weight.

Back when I first started writing this blog, I took a course called Nutrition Made Clear from the Great Courses.

It was taught by Professor Roberta Anding, registered dietician and a certified specialist in sports dietetics.

Professor Anding said that carbohydrate is a maligned nutrient. She considers it a nutritional powerhouse.

“It is the exclusive fuel of the central nervous system, your brain and for exercising muscle.”

It is necessary for both brain and muscle function. She considers carbohydrates central to our human physiology.

“For most of us, Carbohydrates should account for about 50 percent of our diets,” Anding said.

The functions of carbohydrates to provide energy. “folks on a low carbohydrate diet are irritable, fatigued and lethargic….” and the reason is that they have eliminated a major source of energy.

One further function of carbohydrates is that they protect proteins which are used for building our muscles and tissues. If we are low on carbohydrates, the body will burn protein for energy. Ironically, it is protein and not fat that is taken by the body when carbs are low. The liver is able to convert protein into carbohydrates, but not fat.

So, as always, the answer is balance. Cut out extra calories, but don’t distort the basic nutrients. Try to eat a balanced diet. I have written repeatedly about the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. You can read further by typing Mediterranean Diet into the search box at the right.

Tony

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Filed under body fat, carbohydrates, health, healthy eating, healthy living, nutrition, Weight

What Are Some Differences Between Fat and Muscle Tissue?

So many people are hung up on their body weight, but fail to realize that the more important issue is their body composition.

All there is to us is fat, muscle and bone. Our body weight is equal to the sum of these parts.

I hope this illustration will help you to see the issues clearer.

It is clear from this picture that fat weighs less than muscle, so it takes up much more room than muscle.

It is clear from this picture that fat weighs less than muscle, so it takes up much more space than muscle.

Once you have an idea how much more space in your body that fat takes up, you can understand the importance of knowing your percentage of body fat. You can read about how to measure your body fat percentage in an earlier post.

Once you know this you will have a baseline from which to work. This is important because often when a person starts to do cardio and resistance exercises his weight doesn’t tell him there is much change going on. Yet, if he is burning fat and building muscle, his body will be changing in important ways. Shirts will fit differently, pants will become looser around the waist line.

Another important consideration in body composition is that one pound of fat burns about 5 calories each day while one pound of muscle burns 50 calories in a day. So, once you get yourself on the road to fitness and start building muscle and burning fat, you will be transforming yourself into a calorie and fat burning machine. You will have started a wonderful positive spiral.

It is important to understand your body fat composition because while you may presently think you are at a good weight, if you have too large a percentage of fat, you may not be all t hat healthy and may be headed for medical problems despite you ‘good weight.’

Similarly, if you are overweight, once you learn your percentage of body fat you will have a guideline against which to measure yourself by and you won’t be troubled by the fact that you ‘aren’t losing weight,’ when you begin an exercise program and start trying to eat in a more healthy manner. You will be burning off fat and muscle weighs more than fat. Often when an overweight person starts working out and getting healthy he/she finds that their close fit looser/better despite no change in their weight.

Tony

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Filed under belly fat, body fat, calories, cardio exercise, Exercise, healthy eating, healthy living, nutrition, obesity, overweight, percent of body fat, Weight

How Many Calories in Boston Market’s New Ribs?

Boston Market has introduced a new meal this week in the form of BBQ Ribs. The firm considers it a natural progression in the form of a ‘comfort food’ that goes with their chicken. Lots of firms offer chicken and ribs. However, Boston Market does not have fryers in their restaurants and I think most chicken and rib joints sell fried chicken along with ribs. Boston Market has specialized in the healthier oven-cooked chicken. I wonder if there may be more of a gap between the ribs and chicken than they envision.

I confess that I have a soft spot for Boston Market, having enjoyed a lot of tasty and pretty healthy meals there. When I took care of my aunt with Alzheimer’s I would pick up a turkey dinner from Boston Market for us to dine on at Thanksgiving.

The firm also boasts about 100 combinations of meals ‘under 500 calories,’ so it is possible to eat there reasonably.

Now comes the BBQ ribs. Not so healthy. Boston Market offers a half rack and a quarter rack.

boston-market-ribs-and-chicken-promo

Here is the nutritional breakdown for the half rack from their website:

The half rack has
Calories 1180
Total Fat 74 Grams
Saturated Fat 29 Grams
Cholesterol 215 mg
Carbohydrates 67 Grams
Sodium 3150 mg
Sugar 58 Grams
Fiber 2 Grams
Protein 65 grams

The calories come to around half of a normal person’s plus 2000 calories per day budget. Not horrible, but you will need to watch your consumption the rest of the day.

That is a lot of fat and saturated fat. More than you need and more than recommended for a day’s consumption.

Sodium is another problem. The daily recommendation is around 2300 mg, but if you are over 50 it drops to 1500, so this is double.

The sugar at 58 grams falls just short of 12 teaspoons full. There are 4.2 grams of sugar per teaspoon.

You will be getting pretty much your entire protein allowance with the 65 grams. Might be a digestion problem, but it is all the protein the average adult needs in one day.

Keep in mind that this calorie breakdown does not include any side orders of mashed potatoes and gravy or corn bread or a beverage, so you will likely be consuming at least half of the normal man’s 2000-2200 calorie per day budget by the time you finish.

Tony

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Filed under bbq ribs, Boston Market, fast food, fat, health, junk food, nutrition, portion control, portion size, salt, sodium, sugar, Weight