Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Another Clarification About Gluten


There is a lot of misinformation about gluten out there. So I am going to reiterate from prior posts, the facts and fallacies of the gluten free diet.

This trend, which many people believe is better for them, is not necessarily intended for everyone. Those who don’t necessarily need it may use it to lose weight. Weight loss occurs because going gluten free means consuming fewer carbs. But one can restrict simple carbs without going gluten free, while preserving healthy carb choices such as whole grain breads and cereals.

Gluten is a protein. Generally speaking, protein is good for us. It builds muscle, repairs tissue, it helps you lose weight. Hair and nails are mostly protein. Your body uses protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. So why limit proteins unless you really have to?

Also, commercial gluten free foods contain more sugar, fat and salt, less fiber (an important part of good diet and gut health) than regular foods.

Of course, if you have celiac disease, gluten can harm your digestive tract, and should be avoided. A biopsy of your intestine is required to confirm this diagnosis. Some people have a gluten sensitivity that a doctor can also confirm.

Before going gluten free, confirm the proper diagnosis so you don’t needlessly eliminate any heathy elements of your diet, or introduce more expensive, less healthy options.

Here is an article from Silver Sneakers, with more information.

https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/qa-what-is-gluten-and-should-you-avoid-it/?utm_campaign=SilverSneakers%20-%20Newsletter%20Yes&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=64521404&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–ycjIUxGdhJxJvPRfysLZyjO0A9l9TdDWA6ck3bWM3JJEf1fJ6FyTQTHzoSokd7xrvnTaWSmBeuZPLwWkKDtYqPel94A&_hsmi=64521853

Revisiting the Supplement Conversation


I have written about supplements in the past. As research continues on their efficacy, it is being shown for the most part, that they are a waste of money.

Studies Show Little Benefit in Supplements

Foremost is the lack of accountability placed on supplement manufacturers. are unregulated. The burden is on the government to prove they are harmful, for them to be removed from the marketplace (remember fen-fen?) Supplement makers aren’t supposed to make health claims that aren’t substantiated, yet it is done all the time. By the time regulators catch up with them, they have made their profits.

Secondly, nutrition specialists know that nutrients are best absorbed from food. For the most part, an excess of water-soluble vitamins (B1 or thiamin, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or Niacin, B6 or pyridoxine, B12 or cobalamin, Biotin, Folic acid or folate, pantothenic acid, C) won’t hurt you but will be a waste of money as anything your body doesn’t need is excreted in the urine. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D E, K) can build up in body fat and become toxic. an exception is vitamin D, especially when you are deficient.

These links are useful for explaining what these nutrients can do for you and where they occur naturally in food.

Water soluble: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/water-soluble-vitamins-b-complex-and-vitamin-c-9-312/

Fat soluble: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/fat-soluble-vitamins-a-d-e-and-k-9-315

Whole foods also provide micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber, etc., all necessary for healthy bodies as well.

Bottom line: “Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and don’t get suckered into taking many supplements you don’t need. With all this said, if you have unique medical issues, always consult with your doctor. This is generic advice for the mostly healthy.

 

BBQ Season is Here. Grill Vegetables to Reduce Cancer Risk.


From the Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/evidence-grows-linking-grilled-meat-and-cancer-but-you-can-lower-the-risk/2017/06/02/f946078c-4549-11e7-a196-a1bb629f64cb_story.html?utm_term=.d12905c6ff81&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

Gluten, Gluten, Gluten


Gluten is the new “Atkins,” or “Paleo.” Seems that each year brings a new wave of diets, all promising better health, more radiance and weight loss. You’d think that by now, especially for those who have tried each one, only to discover it was either unsustainable or ineffective – of even harmful, we would collectively learn that there is no magic formula, shortcut or substitute for healthy eating and exercise.

But alas, an optimistic and perhaps lazy society we are. Most people prefer to take pills in lieu of changing their behaviors. It has been shown that those taking statins for cholesterol actually have unhealthier food choices since they feel their meds will “take care of” the problem. Diabetics relying on insulin, Metformin and the like, continue to skip meals, overindulge in or not balance their carbs, and don’t exercise – all strategies that could actually eliminate the need for these drugs in many.

The food and drug industries are partly to blame, but when push comes to shove, we must make our own choices. But I digress. This post is about gluten – the totally misunderstood element in our diets. In a quick nutshell, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.  It is also used in many, many commercial products, and not necessarily labeled in a way the average person can identify it, making it a problem for those with Celiac Disease – a true gluten allergy or autoimmune disease, in which an affected person is unable to process gluten. This affects many systems in the body, resulting in the inability to absorb nutrients, causing nutritional deficiencies. Then there is a condition termed “gluten sensitivity” or “intolerance,” for which there is no current consensus of definition. Finally, some are allergic to wheat – of which gluten is a part.

Here are a few links to the topic of gluten: definition, where it is found and current thinking about sensitivity. In the end, the message is that no one should follow a diet based on what their friends are doing or saying. If it involves eliminating healthy components of a diet, it is probably not wise unless there is a medical necessity for it. Do your research and consult with nutrition professionals before starting any diet.

Enjoy the links. To warm you up, the first is Jimmy Kimmel’s reporter asking people who follow a gluten free diet, to explain what gluten is. It about sums up the issue!

Jimmy Kimmel Show: 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/jimmy-kimmel-gluten-free-diet-video?cm_mmc=Fox_Health-_-3_Signs_You_Should_Get_Tested_for_Gluten_Sensitivity_or_Celiac_Disease-_-Article-_-Watch_People_Who_Say_they_Eat_a_Gluten-Free_Diet_Try_to_Explain_What_Gluten_Is

A Grain of Truth to Gluten Intolerance

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/a-grain-of-truth-to-gluten-intolerance-20140527-zrpb3.html

Sources of Gluten:

http://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/gluten-free-diet/sources-of-gluten/

HuffPost: 7 Places You ever Knew Contained Gluten

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/surprising-foods-with-gluten_n_3769463.html

Truth About Gluten

http://flcourier.com/2014/05/01/the-truth-about-gluten/

People with gluten sensitivity who have not had tests

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/07/us-celiac-gluten-sensitivity-idUSKBN0DN1HU20140507

Supplements and Your Doctor


We assume we can and should trust our doctors – as it should be. We go to him or her for life impacting advice and treatment. So what if your doctor suggests you take vitamins or nutritional supplements s/he conveniently has for sale in the office? Should you take get bait?

The American Medical Association frowns on the ethics of doctors selling supplements. For one thing, doctors are not trained nutrition professionals. They study a perfunctory numbers of hours in nutrition sciences. A registered dietitian or dietetic technician studies nutrition science and has more education and experience than an MD, unless s/he has specifically and intentionally studied it in his/her training.

Doctors can diagnose, through blood work and symptoms, nutritional deficiencies and may prescribe medications or supplements a patient can purchase at the pharmacy. But never should s/he offer them for sale in the office.

When there is a profit motive, which is the only reason a physician is selling vitamins and supplements, one must question his/her ethics.

See this short video link.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/823569?nlid=55703_439&src=wnl_edit_medp_publ&spon=42

The Best Roasted Kale Chips


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I have been experimenting with kale chips for awhile, mostly focussing on the spice factor. I discovered however, that using a different variety of kale is the real secret to improvement. When regular kale is roasted, it becomes so brittle (because it is a thin leaf), that just picking it up causes it to crumble. A variety called Lacinato kale has a thicker leaf, therefore is sturdier when roasted.

So now I have the perfect leaf and spices that will even get your kids to gobble these up. Quantities are loose here, since every head of kale is different, so you have to be a little flexible.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F or 375degrees if using a convection oven. Use a head of Lacinato kale (or a different flatter, thicker leafed kale than the traditional one). For best results, prepare the kale before washing/drying. Cut out the hard spine that runs in the center of the leaves. Break up the pieces of kale into approximately 2-3″ pieces. Soak in cold water, swishing the leaves around to loosen any sandy earth. Remove the leaves by hand, into a strainer (don’t dump it out or you pour the sand onto the leaves again!). Repeat the process one more time. Now drain and dry thoroughly. A salad spinner works wonders if you have one.

Very finely grate a hard cheese such as parmigiana reggiano, so it is snowy fine. 

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Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with good olive oil. I use Lyrika Groves. It’s expensive, but worth it! (Shameless plug: https://www.facebook.com/LyriKaGrovesOrganicExtraVirginOliveOil) Place your kale leaves in a large bowl and lightly coat with oil. Toss well for even distribution.

Lay out your kale pieces, touching, but not overlapping. Spread a dusting of the grated cheese evenly on the leaves, followed by a VERY light dusting of chili pepper. (When the kale shrinks, the chile gets more potent, so unless you like your mouth ON FIRE, use sparingly.) 

Here’s the main potential for kale chip destruction: Place the tray in the preheated oven. DO NOT WALK AWAY. If you must multitask, do it in front of your oven. Leave the oven light on so you can observe the chips. They go from “not ready” to “ready” in seconds!

Figure on about 10 minutes, but since ovens vary, watch your chips. When they appear to have shrunk about a third to a half in size, open the oven gingerly, remove a chip with a small spatula and test it. It should be nice and crisp. If you have distributed the leaves evenly on the sheet, all the chips will be ready when the sample is.

Let cool completely and store in a tight plastic container. I guarantee, they won’t last long!

 

 

Grilled Japanese Eggplant


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I needed a side dish to bring to a party and had all these cute little eggplants from the farmer’s market. “What to do with them?” I thought. Well I figured making an Asian inspired dish would fit the bill, and I would feel good about bringing a healthy dish.

The eggplant is a nutritional winner. Low in calories and fat, rich in fiber, it has a low glycemic index, contains many essential vitamins and minerals and is high in antioxidants. These properties are effective in helping to control cholesterol ,  sodium and the inflammatory processes that are harmful to our bodies.

And now, the recipe . . . . . .

Use the long, skinny, baby eggplants. I used the purple and white striped variety, but any color will do. You do need the thin, baby variety however, as they have no seeds and are ore tender than the mature types.

Ingredients:

12 baby eggplants, washed, stems removed and sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup soy (regular, tamari or reduced sodium)
1/3 cup sherry or port wine
3 TBS sesame oil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes, ground (can substitute another chili-based hot sauce)
4 cloves of finely minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Roasted sesame seeds
Optional: fresh grated ginger (about 2 tsp)

Directions:

Mix the soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, pepper flakes, garlic, and black pepper and pour into a large , flat pan (a foil-lined cookie sheet is good). Place the eggplant halves in a single layer, into the pan, cut side down. Let them marinate for half an hour on the counter.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees for a convection oven, or 400 for traditional oven.

After half an hour of marinating, pour off the excess marinade into a bowl and set aside. Place the eggplant pieces into the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the eggplant over, cut side up, brush with some leftover marinade and roast for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top. This can be served hot or at room temperature.

You can also grill them on the barbecue, but use one of those mesh grill pans or the delicate eggplant will get too mushy and fall through the grates of the grill. Cook on lower heat and for less time than in the oven.

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