The Nutritarian

Healthy Eating Insight

Get it While it’s Hot Dog Month

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 28•14

Here are some recommendations for healthier vegan hot dogs and a homemade hot dog from scratch recipe. With the proper Chicago Style Hot Dog Toppings it all taste great, some are just better for your heart.

Smart Dogs 

Yves Meatless Hot Dog

All American Hot Dog Recipe from JustTheFood.com

2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons (14 g) smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 (355 ml) cups water
4 ounces (112 g) extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup (84 g) brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons (33 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Mix together flours, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, maca powder, and turmeric.
In a blender, purée together water, tofu, oil, soy sauce, syrup, tomato paste, and liquid smoke.
Add wet to dry and mix until uniform. The mixture will be wet.
Divide dough into 8 to 12 pieces, depending on how large you like your wieners.
Tear off 8 to 12 pieces of aluminum foil, about 6 x 12-inches (15 x 30-cm).
Form each piece of dough into a sausage shape and place near the long edge of the foil.
Roll up the foil and twist the ends tight.
Place seam side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until firm.
Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle before unwrapping.
Enjoy as you would any hot dog.

Yield: 8 to 12 wieners

Nobu Sushi New York

Written By: The Nutritarian - Nov• 03•13

This place is a culinary dream.  Incredibly fresh and creative dishes, excellent ambiance and service. No wait here either, since it’s not exactly Nobu, it’s Nobu Next Door. Raw scallops don’t sound ideal, but they taste way better than you can ever imagine.

IMG_0759

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa

Written By: The Nutritarian - Mar• 19•13

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa 

by Laine DeLeo

Serves 2-4

IMG_0295

Ingredient Quantity
Carmelina Brands® Cherry, chopped, or peeled tomatoes 1 14.28 oz can
Drained Carmelina Brands® Italian Carmelina Brands® Lentils (optional) 1 14.28 oz can
Fresh organic tomatoes, one set aside to add later (chunkier) 3
Cilantro, fresh, de-stemmed 1/2 c
Sea Salt 1/2 t. & to taste
Yellow onion, small 3/4 c – 1 c
Lime, fresh juice of one small 1
Jalapeño, de-seeded 1/2-1
A blender I
Organic cucumbers, sliced 1-2
Tips: Delicious as a topping for salads and sandwiches.  Serve with warm pita, toasted wheat bread sandwich or dipping, lentil chips, whole wheat pretzels, Lentil chips, whole grain chips, or pretzels to dip
Sea salt, even blanket over top of sauce to taste
  1. Wash and cut veggies making sure the pieces fit into your belnder, open cans, de-stem cilantro.
  2. Pour Carmelina tomatoes into the blender and add all other fresh ingredients, except one tomato and the lentils.
  3. Add salt, Blend to into desired consistency.  Add last tomato and do a quick short blend allowing for visible chucks of tomato. Continue to next step if adding lentils
  4. Carefully pour lentils into a separate serving bowl.
  5. Chop the extra tomato and any other ingredients to make it chunky and pour over the lentils. Taste adding salt and pepper as necessary.

Tips:  The salsa makes an excellent vegan sandwich, salad toping, or sauce for any protein. Try freshly cut vegetables, whole-wheat pita, and/or toasted wheat bread instead of chips.

* Recipe created by Laine DeLeo, The Nutritarian, in collaboration with Mangia, Inc™

For more information about Carmelina Brands® and great recipe ideas, visit www.carmelinabrands.com.

Copyright© 2012, Mangia, Inc

Obesity Imbibes America

Written By: The Nutritarian - Feb• 12•13

What Is Obesity?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, obesity means having excess total body fat and differs from just weighing too much (being overweight).

A person being 20% or more above normal weight would classify as obese.  A common measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI). A person is considered overweight if BMI is between 25 and 29.9; with a BMI over 30, the person is considered obese.

“Morbid obesity” refers to a person 50%-100% over normal weight, more than 100 pounds over normal weight, having a BMI of 40 +, or being sufficiently overweight causing interference with health or normal function. Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-obesity

Prevalence

Obesity prevalence varies across states in 2011:

  • By state, obesity prevalence ranged from 20.7% in Colorado to 34.9% in Mississippi in 2011. No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. 39 states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states had a prevalence of 30% or more: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
  • The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (29.5%), followed by the Midwest (29.0%), the Northeast (25.3%) and the West (24.3%).
  • Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2008 the prevalence of obesity increased in adults at all income and education levels.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Causes of Obesity:

Consuming more calories than the body burns causes excess weight gain, and eventually obesity. This is often a matter of consuming too many calories and too much fat while exercising too little. Other factors can also play a role in obesity. Besides age, gender, genetics, environmental factors, and physical activity, these may include:

  • Psychological factors. Psychological factors also influence eating habits and obesity. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. People who have difficulty with weight management may be facing more emotional and psychological issues; about 30% of people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating. During a binge-eating episode, people eat large amounts of food while feeling they can’t control how much they are eating.
  • Illness. Although not as common as many believe, some illnesses can cause obesity. These include hormone problems such as hypothyroidism (thyroid problem slows metabolism), depression, binge-eating disorder, and in rare cases; Prader- Willi Syndrome.
  • Medication. Drugs, such as steroids or antidepressants, may cause excessive weight gain.

The Problematic Weight of the Nation

  • Today, 1 of every  3 children and 2 of every 3 adults are overweight or obese compared to 2002
  • Half the population is pre-diabetic, have type two (preventable), or have the disease and remain undiagnosed.  37% of adults are pre-diabetic, 8% of adults have type 2 diabetes , 3% have it and remains undiagnosed

Other Obesity Related Health Concerns

Cardiovascular disease

Type 2 diabetes

High blood pressure

Sleep apnea

Depression

How much are we willing to pay?

$190.2 billion; estimated annual cost of obesity-related illness

21%; annual medical spending on obesity related illness

$4.3 billion; annual losses to businesses because of obesity related job absenteeism.

What has gone awry?

Lack of physical activity

  • Almost half as many people are walking to work or school these days as compared to 1977.
  • Only 19% of Americans hit the recommended amount of physical activity.

Out of control eating

  • Portion size and calorie consumption has increased.
  • 30-40% of children and adolescent eat fast food. Who has seen Super Size Me from 2004?

Poor choices

  • 20% of the weight increase in the U.S. between 1977 and 2007 is attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages.  Many large food corporations are trying to join the health solution bandwagon.  But, are they sincere?

Media consumption

  • 87% of food and beverage ads seen by children ages 6-11 on TV are for products high in sugar, saturated fat, or sodium.
  • Children consume more than 7.5 hours of media each day.

Trepidation

  • Many health care providers feel unprepared or uncomfortable discussing weight with patients.  Professionals in the education field follow suit here.  Where else do we turn? Half of children’s waking hours are spent in school, and many families entrust doctor’s with health concerns.

Recognizing the Severity

Jeff Stier*, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research writes, “Food and soda companies are at all times the villain, while people, adults and children alike, are mindless zombies unable to withstand the lure of a Super Bowl halftime show.” He continues to say, “If public health groups truly seek to help Americans deal with obesity, they should seek higher ground and abandon the attacks. Instead, they should take a seat at the table with anyone willing to have a constructive dialogue, with the focus on helping people, rather than on battering companies.”  Many would likely agree that it’s not that simple.  Some still have not realized that at this point, encouraging healthy dialogue has been done and we still need help.  *Quoted from: Forbes online

Gradual Changes:

An easy way to begin forming healthy  habits is to make small changes.  Dining habits can be a great starting point.   Try to avoid buying items that will sabotage your goals.  Look for satisfying replacements for big problem foods.  Take a look at pizza for example.  It is often loaded with fat and cholesterol while lacking nutrients.  Instead of sacrificing things you love to eat, try asking for light cheese with veggie toppings when eating out, or try this favorite healthy recipe: Robust Rustic Roasted Veggie Pizza.  You will find this healthy pizza is easy to make and will leave your tummy perfectly full of superfood fuel.  It is a vegan pizza recipe, but can be made with regular cheese if you prefer.

Sources:

  1. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation”
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library

The Old Oak Tap: Phenomenal brunch, Ukrainian Village Chicago

Written By: The Nutritarian - Feb• 04•13

Bison, quinoa, and deviled eggs, oh my.  How is it even possible that we didn’t have to wait in line at brunch? I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon The Old Oak Tap.  Everything healthy I love to see on a menu, whole wheat pancakes with fresh blueberries, fancy glass mimosas that are LARGE, arugula, tasty green tea, vegetarian options and a flexible chef in the West Loop?   We were taken care of the entire time, never did we wonder where our server was or why our glasses were empty; allowing for full engagement in conversation and palate pleasing flavors and textures.  This is the kind of service I am talking about.  The seating and atmosphere may be some of the most comfortable I’ve experienced in awhile too.  I hope no body believes me and it remains off the beaten path.  However, that seems unrealistic considering the EXTENSIVE beer and wine list, $3 mimosas, outdoor front patio, and delicious healthy options.   I could not have been more appeased.  Once people discover this gem; forget about flocking in without a worry for time.

What is in Season Now?

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jan• 17•13

Save your wallet and help the farmers by eating seasonally!  How easy is it to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your kitchen?

Easy to read Seasonality Chart

Athletes’ Nutrition: No More Charley Horsing Around

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jan• 06•13

How to avoid Charley horses

First understand that they often occur from a mineral or vitamin deficiency, or circulation issue.

4 Quick Fixes (vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and hydration), and No More Suffering. The following quick lists of Charley horse fixes are ordered from highest to lowest mgs per cup.

  1. Vitamin E.

Charley Horses solely occurring at night or while sleeping may signify a circulatory issue. According to: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/ , here are some of the top Vitamin E rich foods to help with circulation.  They are listed from most to least vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, 1 T, about an ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds. sunflower or safflower oil; 1 T, hazelnuts, peanut butter: 2 tablespoons, spinach: cooked, broccoli, soybean oil; 1 T, kiwifruit, mango, tomato, spinach; raw.

  1. Magnesium, best choices listed under the following link in BOLD.
Top choices for Magnesium include:
Halibut
Tuna
Artichokes
Bananas
Figs
Barley, raw
Buckwheat, flour
Oat Bran, raw
Brown rice
Whole wheat Flour
Low fat yogurt
Almonds
Brazilian
Cashews
White beans
Black beans
Navy beans
Artichoke
Spinach (cooked or canned)
Cornmeal
Pumpkin seeds
Chard
Soybeans
Tomato paste
  3.  Potassium- Notice detailed list of  highest potassium choices in BOLD following this link:
Clams
Apricots, dried
Avocado
Banana
Fig
Cantaloupe
Kiwi
Carrot, prune, and tomato juice
Almonds
Molasses
Beet Greens
White Beans
Potatoes
Lima beans
Winter Squash
Soybean
Spinach
Pinto
Baked
Lentils
Kidney
Black-eyed peas
Re-fried
Brussels sprouts

4. Hydrate

Start your day with at least a glass or two of water.  During each snack or meal, have at least one large glass.  Carry an H2O bottle with you.

Read more http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-potassium.php#7TSMGSWefPSptDbL.99 

 

Detrimental Diabetes: Preventable, Research Shows

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jan• 04•13

Do you ever think of disease as a detrimental cost to society?  According to the American Diabetes Association the total cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $218 billion.

  • $18 billion for people with undiagnosed diabetes
  • $25 billion for American adults with pre-diabetes
  • $623 million for gestational diabetes

Diabetes: What it is

Healthy bodies know how to efficiently absorb carbohydrates for use, while diabetic bodies are more problematic because they interfere with this process and the body cannot regulate blood sugar (glucose).  Fluctuations in glucose, as such, damages delicate tissue and can lead to blindness, seizures, kidney failure, poor circulation, amputations, stroke, and heart disease.  Not to mention a burning hole in the health care pocket.

Diabetes Breakdown:

Type 1- Body doesn’t produce enough glucose for the brain to function properly.  Untreated type 1 can lead to coma and death.

Symptoms: frequent urination, unusual weight loss, unusual thirst, extreme fatigue, and irritability.

Type II- Body is resistant to insulin after long-term biological changes over time.

Symptoms: any of the type I symptoms, plus; frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, tingling/ numbness in the hands or feet, recurring skin, gum or bladder infections.

Risk factors for diabetes include:

Obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and a diet high in sugar with little or no exercise.

How can we afford these bad habits?

  • $174 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007
  • $116 billion for direct medical costs
  • $58 billion for indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality)

After adjusting for population, age, and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.  There’s more, the economic burden of diabetes is expected to triple to $336 billion in 2034 according to a University of Chicago news publication.

Diabetes Prevention 

2013 Tune Up For Healthy Habits in 8 Steps (it is recommended to take on one healthy habit at a time for best success)

1. Demand whole grains instead of highly processed carbohydrates.  This will stabilize blood sugar, and keep you full longer.

2. Read labels and skip products with added sugar.  Exchange sugar drinks for an occasional flavored water.  Carry extra water and green tea with you for hydration and extra antioxidants.

3. Choose better fats.  Avoid empty foods that offer zero nutritional benefit.  Start with eliminating fried, fatty, or unnecessarily creamy foods.

4. Limit red meat and avoid processed meats.  Try beans and other cholesterol-free meat alternatives to sustain protein and energy levels.  Carmelina Brandsâ Italian Beans found at your local grocery provide the best variety (all of which are on the top ten ANDI score list for super foods) and are the easiest, and best tasting.  Check out the healthy super food recipe below.

5. Load your fridge with fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens like kale, bok choy, greens (mustard, collard, turnip), spinach, and arugula have highest antioxidant levels.

6. If You Smoke, Quit.

7. Occasionally enjoy alcohol in moderation.

8. Exercise. Even 3 hours per week can reduce the type 2 diabetes risk by 58 percent.  Work toward daily exercise, practicing varying levels of intensity.

  • Set weekly goals. Try to get a minimum of 30 minutes exercise several times a week to begin, gradually increase as you become fit.
  • Encourage others to join by making an activity (walking) a regular bonding habit with family, friends, or pets.
  • Find activities and groups that motivate you, make exercise fun with family and friends.
  • Step out of your comfort zone and try something new: swimming, dancing, boot camps, biking, or yoga.  Once you find something you like, make it a healthy habit.

For research supporting the 8 tips, please reference The Nutrition Source posted by Harvard School Of Public Health.

According to a health professionals, like registered dietician Katlin Andersen, and a Harvard School of Public Health posting (2012), type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

Research says weight loss of just 5 percent to 7 percent of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk. That’s 10 to 14 pounds for a 200 lb. person.

If you are living with diabetes, the following can help you maintain normal blood sugar levels:
Prepare. Plan healthy, small meals or snacks at regular 2-3 hour increments throughout the day.  This will pique your metabolism, regulating blood sugar and mood.  These should be fast and tasty experiment to see what works for your body i.e. a fresh piece of fruit, a small handful of nuts, whole wheat pita and hummus or nut butter, fresh veggies dipped in fat free Greek yogurt with sea salt and fresh dill, carrots, raspberries and tahini, Newman’s spelt pretzels with baked kale or sea weed, fresh cherry tomatoes.  Further recommendations for tasty, healthy products can be found on TheNutritarian.org.
Know thy Carb. Carbohydrates will raise blood sugar. They are found in grains, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, dairy, fruit, and sweets. Look at the food label and learn total grams of carbohydrates for the serving size of food you’re consuming.
Watch portion size. The MyPlate symbol is a great visual guide for portion control.

You’ll find these tips aligning well with creating a fabulous 2013.  Envision yourself maintaining a healthy weight, accruing less doctor’s visits, and staying disease free.  This will allow for more enjoyable quality time with friends and family in good health.  Start now with a great healthy recipe!

CARMELINA BRANDS®

Soulful Winter Stew

Serves 6-8 

Ingredients

 

Quantity

Carmelina Brands® Italian Cannelini Beans

Water, add more if needed

Sea Salt & White pepper

Rosemary, fresh dried, divded

2, 14.28 ounce cans

2 C.

to taste

2 t.

Potatoes, fingerling, ½ in. Slices/circles

Parsnip

Cauliflower

Onion, cut in half, then quarters

Fresh cubanelle peppers, sliced

Fresh jalapeno, sliced

Eggplant, sliced, then quartered

Mushrooms (Crimini), sliced

Squash or pumpkin puree

2 ½ C.

2 large, 2 cups

1 small head

1 large white or yellow

Three

1 or, more for spicy

1 small, 2-3 C.

5 cups

½ C.

Full cabbage Leaves or fresh spinach

Greens: Kale & chard, chopped

Pea Shoots

1 serving per person.

6-8 large leaves

garnish

Procedure:

  1. Wash all ingredients, open beans and partially drain.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add sea salt, and pepper to water.  Add 1 teaspoon of rosemary, salt, and pepper to potato slices.
  3. Separate veggies into medium sized bowls.
  4. Sprinkle remaining rosemary, salt, and pepper over each bowl of ingredients. Add potatoes to boiling water. Cook for 4 minutes, stir.
  5. Add parsnips and cauliflower, stir, cook for 3-4 more minutes.
  6. Add onion and peppers, stir. Cook for two minutes.
  7. Add eggplant, mushrooms, pumpkin puree, remainder of rosemary, and beans.  Turn over/stir gently for a minute or two, just until eggplant begins turning translucent.
  8. Taste stew, add salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Position fresh cabbage leaves or spinach leaves into each serving bowl.  Add the greens (chard and kale) to pot and cover for 1-2 minutes; until vibrantly green and slightly wilted.  Stir and taste for necessary adjustments.
  10. Ladle stew into cabbage cups.  Garnish with pea shoots.  Enjoy!

Tip: This stew serves as a satisfying, well-balanced meal; in small portions, a hearty appetizer. Serving over fresh spinach or cabbage adds nutrients along with a fresh, crisp crunch. Accompany with warm toasted whole grain sprouted bread for extra iron and satiation.

* Recipe created by Laine DeLeo,The Nutritarian, on behalf of Mangia, Inc™

For more information about Carmelina Brands® and great recipe ideas, visit www.carmelinabrands.com

Unlinked Sources: Thompson, Janice, and Manore, Melinda: Nutrition an Applied Approach, 2nd Edition, 2008.

Material from Mercy Hospital Intergrative Medicaine and Wellness Program Health Fair, informational speakers, and packets (Nov. 2012).

Why Choose Organic?

Written By: The Nutritarian - Nov• 19•12

Enjoy eating delicious foods?  Silly question – who doesn’t?  Knowing how to choose foods that not only taste the best, but are also best for you may be more of a challenge.

Educated foodies, farmers, restaurateurs, and consumers are making conscientious decisions to purchase food products based not only on quality, but also with the knowledge of where, how, and by whom their food is produced. People are turning to sustainable foods that represent higher quality, flavor, and freshness.  We have debunked the highly processed manmade food mystery.  People are finally removing their feet from the table and the blinders from their eyes.  I am no longer the lone warrior scrutinizing nutrition labels and ingredient lists at the grocery store.   Everyone is looking for products that they trust.   So whom shall we turn to?

I have this to say: One nation, a food revolution, with liberty of choice, and justice for organics.  Let us continue to demand quality food by taking a stance to support the restaurants, products, and practices that represent high quality freshness and flavor.  Personally, organics immediately come to mind when addressing such standards and according to many, organics not only taste better, but may even have proven health benefits.
So what qualifies as organic?  Let’s begin by outlining the strict set of standards that the USDA organic label certification tag represents.

Organic certification according to the USDA means:

• Farmland used to grow produce must be free of chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.) for at least three (3) years. During the three-year period, they are considered “transitional” and before that they are simply conventional.
• A paper trail insures product is indeed the organic product you expect.
• Organic poultry and beef are raised on organic feed or organically maintained pastures.
• Organic cows and chickens cannot be given growth hormones, stimulants or antibiotics.
• No more than 5% of the ingredients (excluding water and salt) can be     conventional, or at least 95% of the product is organic as per the standards of certification.

In a recent Stanford organics study to compare pesticide residues, antibiotic resistance, and vitamin and nutrient levels in organic and conventionally produced foods, researchers meta-analyzed more than 245 studies to determine whether eating organic foods was in fact healthier than consuming conventionally grown.  The study concluded that, “consumers can markedly reduce their intake of pesticide residues and their exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria by choosing organic produce and meat.” Researchers did not find a significant difference in nutritional makeup between organic and conventional foods.

Not everyone agrees on Stanford’s nutrition findings or lack thereof when it comes to organics.   Charles Benbrook, PhD and professor at Washington State University, stated in an August 2012 Environmental Working Group (EWG) publication, that several well-designed studies have proven organic crops have higher concentrations of antioxidants and vitamins compared to conventional crops.   According to Benbrook’s article, apples, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, milk, carrots, and grains contain 10-30 percent higher levels of nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin C, and phenolic acids.   Besides this, they just taste better in my opinion, not to mention the plethora of environmental and health reasons that support buying organic.

The decision is easy and choice is key here. I don’t know about you but my book of wellness insists that taste, quality, and health should never be sacrificed. We the people, as a large force of consumers, can create an enormous demand if we just make sure to support the best products and producers. We can do our part by simply buying what keeps us, and the environment healthiest, and happiest.

Grocers, farmers, manufacturers, and other businesses, in conjunction with supply and demand, have to keep up and keep consumers happy! If you can’t budget for organics, be sure to reference the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” to find what is safest, and where to save in the conventional vs. organic combat.
Where ever you stand, Stanford’s publicity has shed light on some important issues surrounding health and organics. Regardless of whether or not there are significantly higher nutritional benefits in organic vs. non-organic, there are still plenty of reasons to buy organic.

Why Choose Organic Foods?

• Organic food is produced without the use of chemicals, herbicides, fungicides, petroleum, sewage, or sludge-based fertilizers or chemical pesticides.

• Organic food is not bio-engineered, genetically modified (free of GMOs), nor is it irradiated.  Animals are fed only organic feed, organically maintained pastures, and are not given antibiotics, hormones or animal by-products.

What a relief!

With this powerful knowledge, we can continue the organic conversation to further explore bigger societal concerns that stem from many preventable negative environmental and long-term health effects. As more people support this realization, more options and lower prices will prevail. Until then, one of the easiest ways to contribute to a healthier future and environment today is by choosing organic.

Do you want to be a part of a food system that protects our water supply, wild life, families, and future? I certainly do and buying organics is a vote for that demand.

Listed below are a few of my favorite products that are affordable and delicious for cooking fast, easy, and healthy.   Cooking with these ingredients makes everything taste better.  Check back for quick, creative, and delicious recipe posts using healthy products.  Until then, mangia bene!

“Best of” Product Recommendation from The Nutritarian:

Produce-

Whole Foods

Canned/Cooking-

Carmelina Brands® San Marzano Italian Chopped Tomatoes

Carmelina Brands® Italian Beans

Snack-

Newman’s Own Organics Spelt Pretzels

Pasta-

Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Rotini (Gluten Free)

Hodgson Mill Organic Whole Grain Fettuccini

Delallo 100% Organic Whole Wheat Orecchiette

Cholesterol: What is keeping your levels elevated? Could you be your own worst enemy?

Written By: The Nutritarian - Oct• 31•12

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Today more than ever, Americans are realizing that preventative health care is a smart habit and are taking initiative to eat better, exercise more regularly, and keep current on physician check-ins.

When it comes to health, it is vital to rise above feelings of invincibility or fear. These negative emotions hinder us from taking proper care, and instead create an overwhelming sense of paralysis. Thoughts like, “I can ignore this pain, it will eventually go away” or “they’ve got a pill for that…” Let us move away from these degenerative thoughts that are holding us back.

Carpe Diem! Seize the day! It’s time to take charge of your own health by understanding cholesterol – the good, the bad, and what it means to overall health.  Get ready to find out how easy it is to incorporate small, manageable changes into your daily life to put you on track for preventing heart disease.

 

LDL vs. HDL: What is Bad and What is Good?

LDL is the lousy form of cholesterol. It circulates in the blood when there are excess amounts of fat and cholesterol.  This can form thick hard deposits that narrow arteries and cause clot formation, not allowing for proper blood flow through the body, which can eventually result in heart attack or stroke.

HDL is the healthy cholesterol that can protect against heart attack. It removes excess cholesterol from arteries, carrying it back to the liver where it is passed out of the system.

HDL numbers lower than 40 mg for men and 50mg for women are considered risk factors for coronary artery disease. Desirable HDL numbers are 60 mg or more, which can help to lower the risk of heart disease. Optimal LDL numbers should be under 100 mg.

Total Cholesterol Level

Less than 200 Desirable
200-239 Borderline high
240 and above High

LDL Cholesterol Level

Less than 100 Optimal
100-129 Near optimal/above optimal
130-159 Borderline high
160-189 High
190 and above Very high

Source: The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). Your Cholesterol Goal, 2012

 

To put things in perspective, below is a chart of high, moderate and low cholesterol foods.

HIGH CHOLESTEROL FOODS

CHOLESTEROL MGS PER 100 GRAMS

Butter 250
Oysters 206
Lobster 200
Crabmeat 127
Shrimp 125
Cream Cheese 110

MODERATE CHOLESTEROL FOODS

CHOLESTEROL MGS PER 100 GRAMS

Yellow Cheese 108
Whipped Cream 86
Beef 72
Pork, Fish 70
Chicken 64
Ice Cream 47

LOW CHOLESTEROL FOODS

CHOLESTEROL MGS PER 100 GRAMS

Cottage Cheese 15
Skim milk 4
Egg whites 0.3
Fruits, nuts, veggies, & grains 0
Soy, almond, or rice milk 0

The data is always a bit heavy, but the point is, if your numbers aren’t where you or your doctor would like them, you can make your food work for your body! I’ve listed some smart, health-conscious choices, including readily available products and recipes to help you immediately practice making a difference in your cholesterol through the way you eat.The acceptable daily-recommended intake, according to the USDA, is 300 mg of cholesterol.  A 100g serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards, or the palm of your hand.  Eat three large shrimp and you’ve consumed more than a third of the recommended limit.  This example also assumes you were eating cocktail shrimp that weren’t sautéed in butter.  According to research from a Livestrong.com Cholesterol Content article, people with higher cardiovascular disease risk should keep their intake to less than 200 mg a day.

The Mayo Clinic writes about the top 5 foods to lower cholesterol numbers as being; fish, nuts, oatmeal, olive oil* (especially EVO), and foods with plant sterols or stanols.  According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, credible institutions, nutritionists, dieticians, and doctors, we need to focus much more on how we eat.  Choosing more Super Foods in our daily diets can work wonders while alleviating feelings of deprivation.

8 Super Foods to Incorporate Daily: 

  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Barley
  • Okra

All rich in soluble fiber, which helps your body eliminate cholesterol.

  • Soy

Reduces liver’s tendency to produce cholesterol.

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds

Naturally occurring sterols in nuts reduce cholesterol.

  • Tomatoes

High in the “red” antioxidant Lycopene linked to lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

My Favorite Fast Tomato, After the Vine

Carmelina ‘e..San Marzano® Italian Tomatoes are one of the cleanest and easiest to cook with products I’ve found for fast cooking.  They taste great plain, like tomatoes straight off the vine, and are less acidic than any other plum variety I’ve tried.  I love making sauces, stews and soups.  Unlike most every other tomato brand I’ve inspected at the grocery, Carmelina ‘e…San Marzano® doesn’t add any preservatives (citric acid, calcium chloride, salt, or sugars).  Check out the ingredients list, it’s straight up, all-natural tomatoes, and that is all.

Don’t Wait!

So what are you waiting for? According to a study published by The American Journal of Nutrition, patients who avoided animal products and added these Super foods daily had a 30 percent drop in LDL in just four weeks.  That’s no time at all! Come on, try it – we only have wellness to gain!

Super foods, moderate carbohydrate intake, and regular exercise (which heightens HDL, healthy cholesterol), leaves no room for high cholesterol.  You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take care by avoiding illness and disease.  Making good food choices now will allow for avoidance of costly drugs, medical procedures, or worries for your family later on down the road.

Source: Neal D. Barnard, MD, President of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve your Health.  From: Vegetarian Times, Oct. 2012.