Wellness

With Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes becoming such an epidemic is taking control now and following a Diabetic Diet right for you?

An estimated 23.1 million people in the United States have currently been diagnosed with diabetes and the Center for Disease Control estimates that another 7.2 million have undiagnosed diabetes, while another 84.1 million adults have pre-diabetes.  Sound like an epidemic? Well, many healthcare professionals believe it is and if not controlled much better the statistics are only going to get worse. So, what do you do to avoid becoming one of these statistics? Try eating like you have diabetes and enjoy the benefits of what this healthy association with food brings you.

I have had diabetes for a couple of decades and my doctors believe that I actually was suffering from it long before being diagnosed.  I found out when pregnant with my first child I’m now insulin dependent as things have progressively become worse with my pancreas not producing hardly any insulin.  So…this means that I MUST eat a diabetic diet in order to stay healthy…but when you examine what a diabetic diet is you can see how it’s beneficial for everyone…diabetic or not.

 

In a nutshell, eating like a diabetic means that you’re having low-carb selections, plenty of protein, minimal healthy fats, and of course…avoiding sugar!  Well, believe it or not, this is easier said than done since nature provides plenty of “sweet” options that are healthy yet high in sugar. Many people think “avoid sugar” means to not put “the white stuff” in food and drinks, avoid regular soda, etc…but it also means avoid “natural sugar” as well.  Items like mangos, bananas, pineapple, cherries, grapes, and especially ANY dried fruits (drying concentrates the natural sugars in the fruit) are all naturally high in sugar and should be eaten VERY sparingly or not at all. Items that are high carbs and starches (wheat, rice, winter squashes, parsnips, potatoes, corn, etc.) also need to be greatly minimized in the diet or omitted altogether.  

It’s not always easy to know what to eat and what not to eat and there are literally thousands of diabetic diets, food lists, etc. out there that sometimes only add to the confusion.  The best way to look at “eating like a diabetic” is to help your body stay healthy and NOT cause yourself issues by incorporating some of the basic principles of a diabetic diet that are the easiest to follow:

  1. Avoid “the white stuff”…this means white flour, white rice, white root vegetables, and of course…sugar!
  2. Cut out sugary drinks…juices, sodas, energy drinks, coffee concoctions, and even those smoothies that do contain some healthy ingredients but usually a whole lot of sugar.
  3. Avoid artificial sweeteners…these are actually many times sweeter than real sugar and make your brain and body crave more sweetness…making cutting back exceptionally difficult.
  4. Eat items as they appear in nature…avoid packaged foods as much as possible as well as eating out too much.  Many times sugar and/or fats are used for better flavor (not to mention too much salt) and can cause multiple problems with keeping to a proper diet.
  5. Still, watch your calories…even if you’re eating healthy and like a diabetic you still need to watch how many calories you’re consuming as being overweight contributes to increased risk for diabetes.

Here are some specific food items in a “lowest to highest” layout that might help you better understand what I mean and give you a good head start to making changes:

Low Carb Vegetables

This list is roughly arranged from lowest to highest carbohydrate counts, but all are non-starchy and generally low in carbohydrates:

  •  Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)
  •  Greens – lettuces, spinach, chard, etc.
  •  Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.
  •  Radicchio and endive count as greens
  •  Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  •  Bok Choy
  •  Bamboo Shoots
  •  Celery
  •  Radishes
  •  Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)
  •  Mushrooms
  •  Cabbage (or sauerkraut)
  •  Jicama
  •  Avocado
  •  Asparagus
  •  Okra
  •  Cucumber (or pickles without added sugars)
  •  Green Beans and Wax Beans
  •  Fennel
  • Cauliflower
  •  Broccoli
  •  Peppers (all kinds)
  • Summer Squash (including zucchini)
  •  Brussels Sprouts
  •  Scallions or green onions
  •  Snow Peas/Snap Peas/Pea Pods
  •  Tomatoes
  •  Eggplant
  •  Tomatillos
  •  Artichokes
  •  Turnips
  •  Pumpkin
  •  Rutabagas
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Celery Root (Celeriac)
  • Carrots (use with caution)
  •  Onions
  •  Leeks
  • Water Chestnuts

 

  • Starchy (High Carb) Vegetables,  The main veggies to be avoided when reducing carbohydrates are the starchier vegetables:
  •  Beets
  •  Peas
  •  Winter Squashes (particularly acorn and butternut)
  •  Parsnips
  •  Potatoes (all forms)
  •  Corn
  • Plantains

Choose Low Sugar Fruit
Fruit is an area where some of the low carbs diet part company.  These are sort of arranged by sugar content, taking volume and weight into account. This is not an exhaustive list.  Good news: the fruits lowest in sugar are some of the highest in nutritional value, including antioxidants and other phytonutrients.

Fruits lowest in sugar

  •  Lemon & Lime
  • Rhubarb
  • Raspberries
  • BlackberrieS
  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Casaba Melon
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Apples
  • Guava
  • Apricots
  • Grapefruit

Fruits fairly high in sugar

  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

Fruits very high in sugar

  • Tangerines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Mangos
  • Figs
  • Banana
  • Dried Fruit (dates, raisins, prunes, etc.)

It’s definitely NOT easy to always be so mindful of what you’re eating, how you’re eating, and when you’re eating…but it’s a whole lot easier to do it out of a desire to be more mindful and healthy than it is out of necessity due to a disease.  Even little changes can make a difference and the more you do it the easier it becomes…really!

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Your Metabolism:  What Helps & What Hurts

 

Metabolism…What is it?  What does it do? Well, basically, it’s the sum of everybody function…everything your body does.  Each time you eat your body breaks down the food into energy that keeps your body running. Everything from keeping your heart beating and your legs moving to your mind thinking and regulating everything happening in your body.  People with a fast metabolism burn calories at a greater rate and therefore require more calories…those with a slower metabolism don’t burn as many calories and need to watch how many they consume or the excess will be stored as fat.

There are several things that negatively affect metabolism, some can be avoided but some can’t.  Here are some things that negatively affect (or slow down) your metabolism:

Age:  The older you get the slower your metabolism naturally becomes

Gender:  Women have, on average, slower metabolisms than men

Body Size & Composition:  More muscle mass burns more calories, contributing to a higher metabolic rate

Hormonal Imbalance:  Estrogen in women and Testosterone in men decline as we age and slow metabolism

Poor Nutrition:  People who eat food high in refined sugars and/or saturated fat, and food with poor nutritional value tend to have a slower metabolism

Stress:  This causes cortisol levels to rise which can cause overeating and weight gain

Insomnia:  Sleep deprivation can cause a dysregulation of cortisol, insulin, and leptin…all negatively affecting metabolism

Chronic Diseases (Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Cushing ’s syndrome, etc.):  These particular diseases slow metabolism as part of their attack on the body

Obesity:  This slows metabolism because obese individuals have a higher fat mass and a lower muscle mass and therefore a slower metabolism

Medications:  Several medications for chronic conditions can slow metabolism (antidepressants, insulin, steroids, hormone therapies, etc.)

Physical Inactivity:  Lack of exercise can cause fat gain and slow metabolism due to a sedentary lifestyle

 

On the flip side, here are things you can do to increase your metabolism and start burning more fat:

 

Eat Regularly:  Eating several small meals during the day is a good way to keep your metabolism running at top speed

Eat Plenty of Protein:  Have protein with every meal to feel full faster and stay full longer to prevent over eating

Drink More Cold Water:  It fills you up, helps you at less, and cold water makes your metabolism speed up as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature

High-Intensity Workout:  These force the metabolism to run at a high rate and stay running high even after the workout is over

Build Muscle:  Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so building muscle can increase your metabolism in general, even when resting

Stand More…Sit Less:  Standing burns more calories and is better for posture than sitting

Green or Oolong Tea:  Both of these help increase metabolism and burn fat

Eat Spicy Foods:  Peppers contain capsaicin, a substance that can boost metabolism

Get Plenty of Rest:  A good night’s sleep keeps the body healthy and the metabolism running at its optimal level

Drink Coffee:  The caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism and promote fat burning (this does not include other caffeinated beverages)

Use Coconut Oil:  Replace other cooking oils/fats with coconut oil…the medium-chain fats in coconut oil can increase metabolism

Even if you are dealing with some of the things that typically slow metabolism, you can still do some of the beneficial recommendations to increase fat burning despite your personal health situation.  It’s never a bad thing to eat better, exercise a bit more, get better rest, and so on, which not only increases metabolism but contributes to a healthier body overall…and that’s the key to feeling better.  So happy fat burning!

 

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It’s that time of year again!  The red, itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms of Allergy Season are here!  Spring is considered to be a tree pollen season but flowers, grasses, and mold spores wreak havoc on us as well as we sniffle and sneeze our way through the day.  When a harmless substance like pollen or mold enters the body of a person that’s allergic to it the immune system overreacts by producing antibodies that attack the allergen…this is what causes those annoying allergy symptoms and can make life miserable for anyone prone to this reaction.

There are different allergic responses that people have to seasonal allergy triggers that sometimes make it difficult to function properly.  Occasionally fatigue and body aches can be a part of an allergic response to seasonal triggers so it makes it difficult to differentiate allergies from a cold.  Both conditions involve sneezing, a runny nose, and congestion, but colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but some people do have these symptoms with severe allergies as well.  The itchy, watery eyes, however, are common for seasonal allergies but rare for colds.

The toll that allergies take on the body varies by individual as do the symptoms so the treatment can vary as well.  Many people reach for an over-the-counter solution if symptoms are bad enough but more and more people are opting for the more natural remedies available to achieve relief. A Neti Pot is one way people are finding allergy relief…it “rinses” out the sinuses with a salt water solution that relieves congestion and clears out allergens.  Also, staying indoors when outside levels are high and using a good air purifier are ways to ease symptoms. Here are some other ways that many people can treat and sometimes prevent allergies:

  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory, alkaline diet (the earlier you start this the better it works)…include ginger, turmeric, garlic, lemons, leafy greens, probiotic-rich foods, bone broth, coconut milk, almond butter & seeds, Gluten-free flours/grains, etc.
  2. Have local raw honey (bee pollen) to help build up your immune system to lessen and prevent attacks
  3. Try Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic unfiltered with “The Mother”…mix 1 tablespoon in a glass of water and drink 3 times a day)
  4. Quercetin…a plant flavonoid that’s a natural antihistamine and is found in various foods like apples, peppers, dark cherries, dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, etc.) tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, spinach, kale, citrus fruits, red wine, and others
  5. Stinging Nettle…soak the leaves for a medicinal tea that helps relieve allergy symptoms (they can be used alone or added to an herbal tea of your choice)
  6. Eucalyptus Oil & Frankincense Oil…use them topically as a massage oil or in a diffuser
  7. Probiotics…these improve gut health (more than 80% of immune function is stored in the gastrointestinal tract); works in the gut to improve immune system function and help defend you against infections, viruses, allergies and more.

However, you choose to treat and/or prevent allergies just keep in mind that natural remedies are a bit of a commitment compared to over-the-counter options and take longer to work.  As always, please check with your healthcare provider for specifics about any remedy and your personal health situation.

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Meditation is a word that means different things to different people and takes on many different forms.  By way of a general consensus definition, meditation is a practice by which a person uses a technique, such as focusing on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve mental clarity and an emotionally calm state.  Sometimes the purpose of meditation is to just clear your mind and not focus on anything as a way to de-stress.

You’re probably most familiar with the cross-legged person sitting up very straight with the back of their palms on their knees, chanting “OM” repeatedly.  That’s one way to do it…but there are as many wants to practice meditation as there are people practicing it and that’s what is so appealing about it. The practice of meditation doesn’t have to be one where you do much…you can just find a quiet place and a comfortable position, then try to clear your mind and relax…or you can focus on an object or thought, with or without making any kind of sound…whatever suits your purpose for meditating.

 

Here are some of the important benefits of meditation:

 

  1. Reduces stress
  2. Controls anxiety
  3. Improves immune system health
  4. Improves heart rate
  5. Helps lessen inflammatory disorders
  6. Improves breathing
  7. May reduce age-related memory loss
  8. Promotes emotional health
  9. Improves sleep
  10. Can decrease blood pressure
  11. Helps control pain
  12. May help fight addictions
  13. Enhances self-awareness, focus, and productivity
  14. Lengthens attention span
  15. Can generate kindness

These links can help you get started with your own meditation practice so you can start reaping the benefits of a calm and focused mind and a healthier, well-balanced body…the two are most definitely connected:

 

It’s just as important to take care of your mind and soul with calming practices as it is to take care of your body with a healthy diet and exercise.  Meditation won’t take away the stressful elements of life, but it will help you not respond destructively when they come around. Happy Meditating!

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I’m sure everyone is familiar by now with the terms “Western medicine” and “Eastern medicine” and take them to mean the difference between focusing on pharmaceuticals (prescriptions) being the “go-to” for treatment of ailments (Western) versus a more natural approach (Eastern).  Even over-the-counter products are considered to be in the realm of Western medicine while herbs and various therapeutic practices are more Eastern. There is a striking difference between the two and hopefully, this can help you decide which is right for you.

There are several terms for Western medicine…conventional, mainstream, orthodox…but it all means the system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.  Here are some pros and cons regarding Western medicine:

Pros

  • Best in cases of trauma, serious accidents, broken bones, wounds, necessary surgery, and certain infections; best suited for emergency response situations
  • Completely science-based, focused on drugs, radiation, and surgery to treat symptoms (physical intervention)

Cons

  • Not a strong belief that the body can heal itself
  • Most widely practiced in the United States and considered the “standard” or “norm” for care
  • Doesn’t acknowledge alternative forms of treatment therefore not always providing the best care for patients
  • Completely reactive and doesn’t focus much on disease prevention, only treatment AFTER illness is diagnosed; doesn’t often address the root causes of disease
  • Methods can be invasive, dangerous, costly, and side effects can be worse than the original condition

Eastern medicine, also known by the terms Chinese medicine, folk medicine, holistic, natural, unconventional, unorthodox, and so on.  These all refer to a system of health care based on the concept of incorporating vitamins, herbal preparations, teas, body treatments (massage, reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture, etc.), essential oils, yoga, meditation, special diets, etc. to balance the body and bring it back to health and proper functioning through natural means.  Here are some pros and cons of Eastern medicine:

Pros

  • Treats the actual cause of the disease instead of just the symptoms with a more gentle, natural approach
  • Focuses on improving the quality of life while treating illness; a whole-person approach
  • It’s safer than mainstream medicine (using natural remedies) and less invasive
  • It is more flexible and changeable according to lifestyle changes of the patient
  • Takes into account the overall health by balancing out other aspects of life beyond the disease
  • It doesn’t contribute to dependency and harmful side effects of the body and mind

Cons

  • Limited scientific research (but centuries of practice with noted results exist)
  • Potentially dangerous interactions…when not using caution and mixing with pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter medications; some natural products do have side effects of their own

 

Sometimes Eastern and Western medicine can both be a part of a treatment plan…especially when body treatments can aid in healing or when certain supplements can improve recovery and tolerance of needed prescriptions.  For example, …probiotics are essential when taking antibiotics to maintain proper gut health and massage can greatly improve the recovery from injury and surgery. There isn’t always one clear-cut answer when it comes to treating illness, but there is nearly always more than one option.  Look into what treatment options are available for your particular situation and what approach you’re willing to commit to. After all, it’s your body and your life so it’s most definitely your choice.

 

 

 

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The Mediterranean Diet is an eating plan inspired by the diets of the people living in the Mediterranean region.  It’s been touted for years as having many health benefits…lowering the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, fighting certain cancers and chronic diseases, helping you avoid diabetes, and aiding in achieving weight management goals.  Plus, it’s easy, affordable, and delicious!

Is the Mediterranian Diet Right For You_

Many people are confused about what types of foods are allowed on the Mediterranean diet, so here is a brief overview of things you are able to eat on this plan:

 

  • Eat Freely: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil.

 

  • Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt.

 

  • Avoid: Sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils, and other highly processed foods.

 

Here is an illustration of the items on the Mediterranean Diet and how to eat them:

This eating plan stresses healthy fish (salmon, etc.), healthy oils (olive oil, etc.), whole grains (Quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, etc.), legumes (peas, beans, etc.), nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.), and fresh fruit (berries, apricots, etc.).  While all of these are very healthy options they do still have fats and calories to consider…so be sure to properly portion out items and accurately account for the fat and calories in them.

As with any diet or eating plan, please consider your personal health situation and any medications and/or supplements you take…and please speak with your doctor to make sure the Mediterranean Diet is a healthy and beneficial option for you.  Enjoy all that this plan has to offer for the benefit of your health and possibly in helping you drop a few pounds in the process. Happy Eating!

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Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells, and the substances they produce, protect us from infection and foreign organisms.  However, in some diseases like arthritis, the body’s defense system (the immune system) triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign organisms to fight off.  These diseases, called autoimmune diseases, cause the body’s normally protective immune system to damage its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected.  

Much of the chronic inflammation situations are in the joints, but chronic inflammation is a part of many diseases like asthma, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eczema, psoriasis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Parkinson’s disease.  In these diseases, the body is in a chronically inflamed state, essentially on “high alert” all the time. This prolonged state of emergency can cause lasting damage to the heart, brain, and other organs. For example, inflammatory cells present in the blood vessels for too long can promote the buildup of dangerous plaque.  Chronic inflammation can also damage your gut and joints, sabotage your sleep, harm your lungs, damage your gums and bones, make it harder to lose weight, and can contribute to depression.

There are some tell-tale signs of chronic inflammation that you should look out for:

  1. A “spare tire” around your waist
  2. High blood glucose levels
  3. Digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation
  4. You’re tired all the time
  5. Skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, or your skin is red and blotchy
  6. Allergies
  7. A puffy face, or puffy bags under the eyes
  8. Gum disease
  9. Depression, anxiety, or “Brain Fog”

Beyond bacteria, viruses, and autoimmune disorders…sugary and fatty foods along with stress can cause chronic inflammation.  Dietary changes and better stress management skills are the easiest ways to combat the sugar, fats, and stress as a more natural alternative to medications.  Here are a few:

  • Load up on omega-3 fatty acids from sources like salmon, seaweed, hemp, and flaxseed
  • Eat fermented foods & liquids (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc.), probiotics, and fiber
  • Cut out processed sugar
  • Focus on healthy fats (avocados, nuts, etc.) and lean proteins
  • Incorporate ginger and turmeric into your daily diet
  • Reduce stress with yoga, meditation, and consciously being aware of what causes you stress

Our Joint Formula contains 2000 mg of Biocell® Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II, 400 mg of Tart Cherry and 100 mg of Ginger. These ingredients are said to support joint health with their healing and pain-relieving properties, also aiding in reducing inflammation. 

Even if your inflammation cause or situation is seemingly difficult to control there are many ways to investigate how to reduce its effects on your body and your life.  Take time to look into some ways to keep inflammation at bay through natural means for better overall health.

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Balanced Meal- Balanced Plate… What do these terms really mean?  Are they the same or do they represent different things?  Hopefully, We can clear up some misconceptions about these terms and aid you in eating better with the explanations.

First…Balanced Meals.  This term is thrown around all the time to explain how to eat healthy, whether, on a weight loss plan or a dietary requirement, balanced meals are important.  A balanced meal is one that includes one food from each food group…dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. Dairy is probably the category most often omitted mid-day and evening while vegetables don’t always make it into the morning meal.  In fact, vegetables are probably left out of many people’s diet simply because they don’t like them. The reason a balanced meal is so important is that each food group contains essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep your body properly nourished, healthy, and functioning properly.

Here’s an example of a day of balanced meals…utilizing the five food groups:

The one thing that’s a variable is fat…butter, oil, etc…it can be used in moderation but be careful to keep close track of it for a better health choice.

The Balanced Plate or “Plate Method” of healthy eating is similar to having a balanced meal except it’s more of a visual that you can use to properly portion out your meal.  This method says to fill ½ of the plate with 2 servings of non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate with lean protein (about 3 ounces cooked) or another high-protein food, fill ¼ of the plate with a starchy vegetable or whole grain serving.  Dairy and fruits are in minimal amounts. This method allows for more of a specific breakdown of portions yet still allows you to choose what fills those portions. Here’s a typical “Plate Method” for reference:

Regardless of which plan speaks to you, the main focus is being aware of the foods you’re eating and the portion sizes.  It’s easy to eat too much and not properly arrange meals to incorporate all of the food groups, but hopefully, this makes it a bit easier to treat your body to a healthy meal.

 

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How to Read Nutrition Labels

by Michelle on April 10, 2018

Making healthier choices about the foods you eat requires more than discipline.  Fresh foods are of course the main part of a healthy diet, but when you do use packaged items it’s important to know how to read the nutrition labels on those items to ensure you’re making healthy choices.  Hopefully, the information below can make understanding things a bit easier.

 

 

  • Serving Size:  This shows the size of the serving the nutrition fact pertains to as well as how many of those serving are in the item.  Both the Standard unit of measure (United States) and the Metric unit of measure (international) are usually listed.

 

 

 

  • Calories:  These are the total calories per serving size.  This number isn’t the total calories in the item itself but the calories in each serving…so be careful to know how many servings there are in the item and multiply this number by the number of servings to get the total calories in the package.  The calories from Fat are often listed here as well; be sure to avoid Trans Fat.

 

 

 

  • Nutrients to Limit:  This is where things like Total Fat (separated into types of fat), Cholesterol, Sodium (salt), And Total Carbohydrates (separated into Dietary Fiber-see note below-and Sugars).  These items are things that many people need to pay close attention to and limit in their diets and the further separation in the Fat and Carbohydrate categories is valuable information to properly account for these items.  In particular, Diabetics need to not only look at the Total Carbohydrates but also what part of those carbs are Dietary Fiber and Sugar.

 

 

NOTE:  Dietary Fiber is a healthy and important part of daily nutrition and it needs to be in higher amounts than most people end up getting.  It’s listed in this section only because it plays a role in the Total Carbohydrate count.

 

 

  • Beneficial Nutrients:  Make sure to get enough of these items…Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.  These important vitamins and minerals are crucial to health and we need them each and every day.  Many packaged items aren’t healthy but these days there is more of a focus on packaged “healthy” items for an ever-growing educated and health-conscious public.

 

 

 

  • % Daily Value:  The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV (5% or less). If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV (20% or more).

 

 

Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending on your personal situation so adjust accordingly.  Also, when the label says “0g trans fat” but the list of ingredients includes “partially hydrogenated oil” it means the food DOES contain trans fat…but it’s less than 0.5 grams per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving size you ARE getting trans fat…proportionate to the Nutrition Information listed.  Use the Nutrition Facts label as the valuable tool it is to keep track of what packaged foods you’re eating so as to not derail your efforts. Remember…fresh is always best, but if a “healthy” packaged food is on your radar review the label and ingredients to make an educated choice.

 

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For years we have been taught that the food pyramid is the end all when it comes to proper nutrition. Is there still any merit to the food pyramid today?

I’m sure you all remember learning about proper nutrition in high school…and the Food Pyramid was a vital part of that education.  Have you ever wondered where that came from? The food pyramid was first published in Sweden in 1972 but there were only three levels on this first version and it led to some confusion.  The “newer” pyramid (or Westernized version) was introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992 and was called the “Food Guide Pyramid”. It had more sections (six this time) that made it easy to understand what amounts of certain foods to eat daily.  These six levels broke down as follows:

 

Grains (bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc.) Group:  6 – 11 servings daily

Vegetable Group:  2 – 4 servings daily

Fruit Group:  2 – 4 servings daily

Dairy Group:  2 – 3 servings daily

Proteins (meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, etc.) Group:  2 – 3 servings daily

Fats, Oils, and Sweets Group:  use sparingly

This 1992 pyramid emphasized the importance of eating balanced, varied meals by showing the food groups in a way so as to keep proper categories and inform people about the number of servings to have each day.  There were several problems with this version however which included…no one knew what a proper “serving” amount was, healthy fats were lumped in with unhealthy ones, and this version was heavy on carbohydrates (grains) which isn’t the healthiest way to eat for a variety of reasons.  There was also interference in this pyramid’s creation by the major food industry groups who, of course, wanted higher profits by promoting more consumption of their products.

The pyramid was updated in 2005 to show a better understanding of reducing the carbs/starches section and including some healthy fats but it was still essentially the same old pyramid with minor clarifications.  There was a newer and better way to arrange your diet just a few years away.

In 2011 a completely new arrangement came about…”My Plate”!  This replaced the “pyramid” visual of days gone by showing how to arrange each meal better on your plate with a proper proportion of food groups:  Vegetables, Healthy Protein, Whole Grains, Fruits, Dairy, and minimal healthy fats. Vegetables & Fruits are to be about half of the plate with Whole Grains and Healthy Protein are each one quarter.No version of the pyramid or plate can take the place of proper eating nor can it be adequately displayed in a graphic that everyone will comprehend…but seeing how to proportion food on a plate is a good visual to start with.  Everyone has dietary likes and dislikes, caloric requirements, as well as possibly having some restrictions, but learning how to eat properly and counting calories is vital to a healthy body. This is just a way to hopefully help you start to understand proper nutrition and to get you thinking about your relationship with food and health.  As always, please check with your doctor before making any major dietary changes to make sure they’re appropriate for your personal health situation.

 

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