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Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category

It’s strawberry season, my childhood favorite time of year. I grew up on a small farm where my dad grew strawberries. Fond memories linger of those days when fresh-from-the-field strawberries were often a part of every meal. I ate all the berries I wanted throughout the growing season plus unending amounts of frozen berries during the year.

It never occurred to me how healthy thImage result for free clipart strawberriesose bright red fruits were or the many nutritious benefits from eating them. Today, researchers assure us that strawberries are a part of a healthy diet and may contribute to well-being in many ways. They are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and phytochemicals. Flavonoids, a type of phytochemical, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antimutagenic properties. Strawberries have been associated with many health conditions and may help or prevent the following:

  • Reduce total cholesterol, LDL oxidation, and cell inflammation: These factors influence risks of heart attacks. A diet high in strawberries significantly lowers cholesterol levels. Researchers found that women who ate three servings per week of strawberries or blueberries reduced their chances of heart attacks by nearly one-third.
  • Prevent weight gain: According to studies in the British Medical Journal, flavonoid-rich foods like strawberries may help manage weight more easily.
  • Improve insulin resistance: Anthocyanins, responsible for berries’ bright red color, may improve insulin sensitivity. Researchers found that women who ate strawberries at least once a month were at a lower risk for diabetes.
  • Improve cognition: Strawberries and blueberries may help prevent age-related cognitive decline. They offset negative effects of cell oxidation and inflammation in the brain and protect women’s memory. Eating strawberries may delay mental aging in older women by as much as 2.5 years. In one study, women who ate more than two servings a week experienced less deterioration than those who ate one or fewer servings.

As a bonus, strawberries also seem to improve motor skills in women. What a delicious way to improve health and keep our brains intact. Make it a point to include ample servings in your diet. During this plentiful strawberry season, remember you are helping your overall health and brain function while enjoying a tasty treat.

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March is National Nutrition Month, and today, March 8, 2017, is National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Why is that significant? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy represent more than 100,000 credentialed practitioners, primarily registered dietitians nutritionists, who are committed to improving the health of individual patients/clients, families, and the community.
I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

In 2008, the Academy created a special day for Registered Dietitians Nutritionists. According to their website,  key messages for the public about these leading nutrition and dietetic experts encompass the following:

  • Acquire degrees from Academy-approved programs in colleges and universities in specific fields of nutrition, food service, and dietetics plus additional internship training or plans of study,
  • Translate the science of nutrition into practical application for healthy living,
  • Help individuals achieve positive lifestyle changes,
  • Advocate the advancement of nutritional status of Americans and people around the globe.

The Academy distributes nutrition related educational materials, and for National Nutrition Month has posted a word game for adults. Try it to refresh your memory and challenge your brain.

Celebrate this month with wise food choices. Should you need help with diets or food issues, remember to contact a registered dietitian nutritionist.

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Heart health took center stage when Lyndon B. Johnson issued Proclamation 3566 in December,1963. He declared February as American Heart Month and Congress passed a joint resolution requesting presidents each year to follow suit. In that era, more than half of deaths in the United States resulted from heart-related conditions.

In the 2017 proclamation, President Donald Trump stated “The death rate from heart disease in the United States has fallen dramatically since the 1960s . . . [yet] heart disease remains a leading cause of death. . . . During American Heart Month, we remember those who have lost their lives to heart disease and resolve to improve its prevention, detection and treatment.”

 Globally, more than 17 million deaths occur annually from heart related conditions with projected increases in future years. What is more appropriate than to think about healthy hearts on Valentine’s Day? As a day of love, it’s befitting to encourage those we love to eat healthy and to express our love to family and friends by practicing a healthy-heart lifestyle.                                     

      Image result for free heart healthy clip art                                                             

 If you plan to treat those you love with any type of food this Valentine’s Day, make it healthy. Increase the availability of fruits and vegetables, avoid offers of high-sugar, high-salt foods, and provide meats low in fat, especially saturated fats.

As we commemorate a day for hearts, remember to protect yours. Helping yourself and others choose healthy-heart foods can reduce the number of people likely to meet untimely deaths due to cardiovascular disease. It’s the way to honor a national treasure―you and those you love. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Before this year slips into the sunset, let’s take a quick look back at food-trends for the past year. Below are a few trends noted by culinary experts. Some of us may have lagged in these choices. If we haven’t incorporated them into our cooking, we can see what others have been up to.

Comfort Foods with an Asian Twist. Nothing like getting out of the doldrums by jazzing up everyday foods with a little zing. Within the past few years, favorite dishes showed up with touches of Korean kimchi and gochujang and Japanese dashi stock or Sriracha sauce (and no, I haven’t tried them). These products blend well with many comfort foods we’ve enjoyed through the years.

  • The New Butters. Now many butters are seasoned with favorite flavors that make a hit with bread or added into other dishes. Flavors vary from toasted sesame seed, to madeira, shiitake, lemon, and even double chocolate. Create your own unique flavors by softening butter and adding oregano, garlic, tarragon, or ginger.
  • Ubiquitous Coconut. Coconut seems to be everywhere. The meat of coconut, a long-time staple in many kitchens, now takes center front with coconut milk. Also, look for chips, spreads, and vinegar as well as coconut flour.
  • Dukah. This blend may contain nuts, black pepper, coriander, fennel, cumin, and other spices. Ingredients vary by the chef. These blends add crunch and pizzazz to many dishes.
  • Farm-raised Fish. While wild varieties had their heyday, American fish farms are more likely to have better controlled health and safety measures. As one indirectly involved with catfish farming for nearly thirty years, my husband insists on local farm-raised fish when we eat out or purchase. Others may want to take notice. Quality and taste are so much better.

The list goes on, but these foods were trending this past year and probably, will find favor in the coming year. Forecasters predict more consumption of goat meat, and in select markets, sherry is expected to become a potential trendy item for 2017. Try these new food experiences. Whatever your choices for the new year, make them healthy.

Image result for 2016-2017 free clip art

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Eating is a major focus during the busy holiday season. Many people add a few pounds to their weight from the festivities centered around food. This isn’t the time to diet, but with a few simple changes, we can spare ourselves from gaining additional pounds.

    1. Choose smaller portions. Not easy, but many times we not only add extra calories but become uncomfortably full from excess food. Gauge those portions sizes and feel better afterward.
    2. See what calorie-laden foods you can skip or resolve to eat less. Gravies and creamed dishes add lots of calories. Select unsweetened beverages. Choose red sauces over white ones for fewer calories.
    3. Choose desserts with less calories. Double crusted pies and those with whipped cream or topping have more calories. If you must have a piece of that traditional coconut cake, make it a smaller portion.
    4. Watch out for snacks of candies, nuts, party mixes and yellow cheeses. Look for veggie or fruit trays and skip the dip.

A few simple changes can keep away those dreaded extra pounds. Make the holidays a time of love and joy without those rich, fattening foods. Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

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As summer wanes, jazz up your menus with a new dinner salad. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a non-meat dish loaded with nutrients that promiMediterranean Quinoa Dinner Saladse fullness.

The tasty Mediterranean Quinoa Dinner Salad uses quinoa (pronounced Keen wah or ke NO ah), a grain crop grown primarily for its seed, as the basic ingredient. If you haven’t tried it, check it out. It’s gluten-free and packed with vitamins, minerals, and about six to eight grams of protein per serving. An added touch of black beans gives even more protein. Other ingredients add flavor, texture, and healthful choices.

Diets eaten in the Mediterranean part of the world include ample fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and olive oil plus servings of seafood, especially tuna and salmon. Choose this eating pattern to improve blood pressure and enhance heart-health. A recent study showed that those seemingly high-calorie nuts, olives, and oil had little effect on body weight or waist circumference when compared to those who ate a low-fat diet. So enjoy this economical, healthy, and tasty dish.

Mediterranean Quinoa Dinner Salad

1 cup                                      Mediterranean Herb Quinoa (uncooked)

2 to 3 tablespoons                   Black beans

5 or 6                                      Black olives

½ medium                              Tomato Wedges

½ large                                  Sliced cucumber

Pine nuts or toasted slivered almonds to taste

Feta cheese

Olive oil

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Layer ingredients on individual plates. Place ½ cup cooked quinoa on each plate.Top with  black beans, olives, feta cheese, and nuts. Arrange tomato wedges around the edge of plate. Place sliced cucumbers on one side. Drizzle all ingredients with olive oil.

The Lemon Gelatin Supreme, a nice blend of lemon gelatin, marshmallows, and bananas topped with a creamy pineapple sauce, shown here gives a tangy taste to the meal. Finish dinner with a rich chocolate pudding made with non-sugar sweetener and low-fat milk. Or if calories allow, enjoy a dish of your favorite chocolate ice cream.

Try this simple dinner salad and let me know what you think.

 

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A designated “day” seems to exist for everything imaginable. June 10, 2016 is National Iced Tea Day.

The history of tea goes back some 5,000 years. Recipes for cold spiked punches, made mostly from green tea, surfaced in the late 1700s. Nearly 100 years later, recipes of the iced tea we love today appeared in cookbooks. While iced tea is great unsweetened, early versions were mostly sweetened and often served  with lemon.

Iced tea became a national favorite after Richard Blechynden, a tea merchant, decided on a hot day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis to distribute free iced tea instead of his usual hot tea. This iced beverage immediately became a hit and has become one of the most popular drinks around the world. Some 85 percent of tea drinkers want theirs iced.

Celebrate this national day with a tall glass of refreshing and healthful iced tea.

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