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Health & Food

Food EEEEEK! Review

Nick and I watched Food Inc. on Thanksgiving (after we ate our meals). Like we expected, the movie was fantastic and it really put things into perspective. Was it a good perspective? Not so much, but boy am I glad we watched it.

What’s scarier?

THISOR

THIS?Don’t answer that please.

After watching Food Inc., my vote would have to be for A (the obese man chowing down on a fast food burger). I already knew the crap we buy at Taco Bell, McDonald’s, KFC, etc. was exactly that, CRAP. But what I didn’t know was how the animals were treated and how unsanitary and unethical the farming practices were. It’s so sad, to say the very least. And our government is actually so greedy and pathetic, they are doing nothing about these practices, in fact they are enabling them!

I’m not anti-government, but this movie really made me wonder what really goes on in here…..

Bottom line: This movie taught me that there is more than just health-related reasons to not eat fast food and many of the junk we find at grocery stores, there are also moral and political reasons not to do it, and I don’t want to pump any more money into those companies. I’m not going to promise never to eat some of those products ever again, but I am going to be more cognisant of my decisions.

The information regarding the feeding practices of the cows (Ruminants) was very interesting. I don’t know that we should assume that all grass fed animals are more safe and healthy, but they did provide an excellent argument. I’d like to read more about this. Keep in mind, however, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks in Organic foods as well (Salmonella in organic peanut butter) and also local stores that we’d assume were “safe” (Trader Joe’s beef was recalled just about a month ago).

Bottom Line: I’ll continue to buy the protein products that I buy (non grass fed) but I am not against looking into some grass fed, local protein products. I would be more willing to give it a shot now that I have learned more about the potential benefits of grass fed animal products.

The statistic that literally shocked me the most was that; “Of all the people born after the year 2000, 1 in 3 Americans will have Type II Diabetes, and 1 in 2 minorities will have Type II Diabetes”. We’ve got a serious mission to conquer here. Let’s make sure that statistic turns out to be false. Who’s with me??

One of my favorite segments was with the man who worked for Stonyfield. He said something really fantastic. Basically their initial goals for their business was to sell their products to those who weren’t necessarily interested, simply to get them to like it. After some struggles they realized that in order to “reach the masses” they needed to start marketing towards those who were already sold on the product. Building business by word of mouth is the best way to go. Eventually other people heard about their great product and started trying it for themselves. Same thing with organic products, in general. You can find them now at Walmart! Why? Word of mouth caused people to start buying them and now they are being requested!

Bottom Line: Buy organic when you can. I know it’s expensive, trust me, but if you see a sale on an organic item that you would like to try, buy it! Every purchase helps make organic foods a bigger, and cheaper business. And that’s what I do. I don’t let the high prices hold me back, I just don’t waste my money on other junk so I am able to make those purchases.

I would like to end this little review with a quote from an article in the LA Times. This article, which isn’t available online anymore, focused on how a healthy diet can have a tremendous positive effect on your immune system.

“The human body doesn’t have to be starving to suffer malnutrition. Studies show that obesity, in addition to its other health risks, may also make people more susceptible to infections like the flu. A diet heavy on processed and fast foods may be low in the vitamins and minerals important for health.”

If you didn’t read this post, I am going to be posting 5 random things I learned this year as part of every other post, from now until January. I know I skipped it last time, just pretend I didn’t….

Five Random Things I’ve Learned This Year

– Wierd is spelled Weird

– Becomming is spelled Becoming

– Buying bagged popcorn is a waste of money, the kernels last longer and are much cheaper

– My IBS actually effects my mood and my life in a negative way, therefore I am doing something about it.

– Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store ever (I just started shopping there this year!)

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a fantastic day.

Categories
Health & Food

The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review

I know it might sound crazy, but Monday, November 16th, 2009 was my FIRST experience eating a pomegranate. I automatically assumed I wouldn’t like it because it was “seedy”, you know? But just look at it:

Not only are they delicious, but they are beautiful. I already knew that, but boy am I glad I discovered their goodness before they went out of season! Why didn’t any of you tell me?! haha, I know, YOU DID!

THE FODMAP DIET

Recently I was informed of a diet for IBS, called the low FODMAP diet, by a blogger named Kristen over at Simply Savor. This diet is low in many of the things I already knew I needed to be avoiding, such as fructose, oligosaccharides, lactose, and polyols. Click on this link to learn more about the diet, and more specific details about what to avoid if you have IBS. There was a helpful table that was part of the PDF supplied by this site, which listed all of the specific foods that are best to avoid. Reading this list made me cry, as many of the foods were some of my favorites. Some of them weren’t too shocking:

Grapes
Dried fruit (and dried fruit bars!)
Asparagus
Cabbage
Brussel sprouts
Beans
WHEAT (I’ve been avoiding gluten)
Artificial sweeteners
Lactose

But some of them were very shocking, and actually quite depressing:

Apples (I think cooking will help!)
Honeydew
Watermelon
Peaches
Artichoke (tear)
Honey (triple tear)
Coconut

Source: Practical Gastroenterology, August 2007

My plan is to stick to this FODMAPS diet while continuing to monitor my sodium intake. Something else I am doing is cutting out the gas-causing foods from my diet (the foods that cause ME gas, that is). I’ve been doing a little experiment to find out which foods cause me the most gas, in an effort to save money (I spend about 20 dollars a month on Beano!!). From what I have learned this week, aside from the FODMAPS foods, I also need to limit these:

Eggplant
Mushroom
(two of my favorite veggies)

But before you feel bad for me, here are the veggies and fruits I CAN eat!

Pomegranate
Oranges
Blueberry (any berry really)
Spaghetti squash!

 Pumpkin!Greens (collard, kale, spinach)

Green beans, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes

This list is still in the works, by the way, as I am finding more and more fruits and veggies that I can eat as the days go by.

Question: Are you sick of my gassy posts yet?! Please, don’t answer that

BIGGEST LOSER REVIEW

Dislikes
It’s great that they are trying to get people to donate to Feeding America, however, it’s pathetic that they have to use that as a way to get people to go to their website. Lame.

Who is going to spend their money on these zip lock bags that are made with “wind power”? I mean come on, stop making us poor people feel bad about buying the $.99 baggies that are made with electricity, instead of $5.00 to help save the planet. Let’s be green and good at saving money.

Likes The “surprise” (I won’t say it in case people haven’t see in it) definitely made the speech easier! Great idea to do that, as giving a speech like that even scares ME! And I enjoy giving speeches more than most people, I think.

The speeches were a great way to motivate America. I gotta give it to the Biggest Loser! Heck, they even even motivated me to make a positive change. Although I felt bad for eating a rice cake and peanut butter while listening to Liz say she used to eat ice cream while watching the weigh ins

The person who got kicked off (I won’t name names here) is such an inspiration! I couldn’t even do what he/she was doing in the last 2 minutes of the show, SO IMPRESSIVE!

Next Post
Stay tuned for my next post, which will include some new food products and creations, plus some information about a better way to monitor your health status! Have a great day, and thanks for reading

***Stop by Coco’s blog, Balance, Joy, and Delicias, to enter her PopChip giveaway! And, check out Naomi’s Chocolate and a Coffee giveaway! ***

Categories
Health & Food

Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria

Today I have an blog post agenda. The agenda includes clearing up a few things about my last post, sharing with you my favorite part about the holidays, a little probiotic review session, a giveaway update, and my life update! Alright, here we go…..

Sodium and “Bloating”

It became clear to me, after reading all of your comments, that I did not make myself clear when I said that sodium causes me to be bloated. Here are two definitions of “bloat”:

  1. To cause to swell up or inflate, as with liquid or gas.
    1.A swelling of the rumen or intestinal tract of cattle and domestic animals that is caused by excessive gas formation following fermentation of ingested watery legumes or green forage.

The bloat that I get from consuming too much sodium is the first definition. It just causes me to retain water to the point that I am extremely uncomfortable. It does NOT give me gas and cause me gassy bloat, like many of you believed from my post. I apologize for that confusion. With IBS, many foods can cause gas and bloating, therefore the water retention caused by sodium just adds to the uncomfortable feeling.

Why I Love the Holidays

Although I’m a total Scrooge when it comes to starting to celebrate the holidays early, I became a fan of the early holiday celebration on Monday night when Nick and I walked to Kroger and found THIS:
Great Lake’s Christmas Ale has been a favorite of ours since we worked together at an Irish Pub that used to sell this on tap. It’s the best beer in the world, no joke. If you enjoy a good beer, you’ve got to try this stuff, and grab it while you can, it goes fast! We were tempted to buy an entire case, as we could remember last year when everyone had run out. But instead we only purchased two six packs. We walked home fast, and poured ourselves a cup of holiday cheer.

Beer is one of the worst things for my IBS (the gluten, the carbonation….) but sometimes you just gotta make an exception and live through that uncomfortable feeling.

Dietary Change #2; Probiotics

My diet already includes plenty of prebiotics (the food for the probitoics) so now I include probitics as well. They actually have a synbiotic relationship. The perfect product, which contains both pre- and probiotics, is kefir. I recently decided to start drinking Kefir again.

What is Kefir?
Wikepedia:
Kefir (alternately kefīrs, kefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep‘s milk with kefir grains.

How can kefir help?
(Source: Lifeway Kefir)

Dietary changes are often suggested as a first-line defense against IBS.
Many studies show that adding certain types of yogurt – specifically, those containing the bacteria (genera) lactobacilli and bifidobacteria – to your diet may alleviate the symptoms of IBS. These “good” bacteria, also known as probiotics, are normally found in the large intestine, but adding them to your diet can help with gas, pain and bloating, while reducing the time it takes for food to move through the intestine This, in turn, may be helpful in people with constipation; probiotics may also decrease the frequency of loose stools, improving IBS-related diarrhea.

My Extra Thoughts
** When you purchase a product that claims to provide helpful “probiotics”, make sure it lists the type of probiotic, which is usually written with the genus abbreviated, and the species written out (ex: L. Lactis). If you purchase a probiotic supplement it should also disclose the amount of probiotic in the product, as well as the species. The species will tell you more specifics about the health benefits of the product, and the amount will disclose whether the product is even worth taking, as 1 to 10 billion units is what is necessary for clinical effects. If the product does not say, be sure to call the company to confirm.**

I bought this kefir the other day. Check it out, not only does this provide probiotics, but also more PREbiotics (inulin in this case) to feed the probiotics. Do you notice another important component of this product??

VITAMIN D!! Now vitamin D is more important than ever. Have I mentioned that before ??

Both of my dietary changes have made me a happier girl. I rarely get that uncomfortable bloat, or feeling that my food is stuck half-way through its absorption process, and I rarely have bad gas (Nick likes that part). The reduction in gas may have to do with the fact that probiotics are said to produce some beneficial enzymes for digestion. It’s quite nice. Also, check out the post by Stephanie or “The Skinny Plate”. She reviewed LifeWays probiotic bars, which is another great way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

If you would like more specific information about probiotics and prebiotics, click on this link. It will hopefully answer all of your questions that I could not describe in this post (or it would have been a mile long!)

Giveaway Update
Jessica of How Sweet It Is is giving away a Cusinart Food Processor! Check it out.

Life Update

Well I’m still really busy with the new job. Our company is growing, very slowly, but surely. We’ve decided to create some webinars and maybe even write a book! I will also be including an option for some personal and group dietary consulting within the companies we are working for.
All together, I still love the job and I can tell it’s only going to get better!

Stay tuned for my next post, which will include my Biggest Loser review! Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Categories
Health & Food

Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Yeah, I know this is a repeat picture, but I had to post it on Halloween!

Today and tomorrow I will be talking about food labels. They are a big issue right now, and I believe you can never know too much about them.Would you feed your child, or yourself for that matter, bagel-fuls for breakfast or a snack, and think to yourself “I’m making a healthy choice, or a “better” choice?” . With 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and very few health benefits (10% calcium and 10% iron among them), these Bagel-fuls are just glorified junk food if you ask me. Yet, they proudly display the “Smart Choices” logo on the front of the box, providing parents, adults, and children a false sense of security. If this is a smart choice, what isn’t smart choice?

Another example is Cocoa Puffs. The first ingredient, whole grain corn, does a nice job of providing the consumer with a whopping 1 gram of fiber. The second ingredient, sugar, does an even better job of providing the consumer 12 grams of sugar. Personally I like to look for no more than 10 grams of sugar for my morning meal. Let’s not forget the serving size is 3/4 cup, which is not much. So I’m confused, what makes this a “Smart Choice”?

If you haven’t read about the smart Choices controversy yet, click the link and enjoy. For a review, the Smart Choices program uses “science-based” guidelines and criteria to select the foods on the market that are “smart choices”. This program was designed to help consumers make better choices at the grocery store. While the concept is great, it seems to be a bit misleading.

My last example is the new Fruit Loops, with FIBER! Check out the ingredients;

Ingredients

SUGAR; WHOLE GRAIN CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; WHOLE GRAIN OAT FLOUR; OAT FIBER; SOLUBLE CORN FIBER; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OILS)†; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); NIACINAMIDE; REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; TURMERIC COLOR; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; ANNATTO COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12.

I actually made note of the fact that SUGAR is the first ingredient to the lady at the FNCE conference in Denver. She was flustered, to say the least. And if you go to the website you’ll notice some fun recipes they have provided for you to create with your Fruit Loops. More Smart Choices here; crispy ice cream sandwich sundaes, crunchy pudding squares, fiesta cookies, lovely!

I’m not going to turn into some really strict RD who says no to everything, but the thing that really makes me mad is that these claims are misleading. Most of you are very good at reading labels and understanding what is “healthy” and what is not, but the lay public may not know much about food labels, which is why programs such as Smart Choices were created! Unfortunately when a program is created by a food company, it will be created in a way that will allow it to include many of their own products. Too bad.

Question: What are your thoughts on the Smart Choices program? Do you think there is a better solution? Personally I think cereals and other products should be required to highlight the “good” and the “bad”. This way people could actually learn what to look for. If ALL companies did this, it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s sales. The companies could also provide advice such as, “mix this cereal with a small handful of bran flakes to add more fiber to your breakfast!”, for their products that are lower in fiber, like the Cocoa Puffs. Or, “Add some fruit to your cereal to add more vitamins and minerals!”, etc.

Coming Up: Stay tuned for some foods that may be in YOUR cabinet and which may be tricking YOU (they tricked me!).

Giveaway Update: Check out the blog makeover giveaway over at the Zesty Cook ! I hear he does an amazing job, plus I’ve seen some of his work and it’s very impressive.

Tonight Nick and I are taking his mother out for dinner, as it’s her 35th wedding anniversary (and Nick’s dad passed away a couple years ago). Everyone have a spoooooky GOOD DAY! Thanks for reading.

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Health & Food

Do You Weigh Yourself?

Yesterday I spent the entire day re-creating many of my lost files, but I’m very much aware that many of them are gone for good, including all of my statistics from my research (if my adviser ever finds that out….I’m in trouble!!). Anyway, before I get started on my work for the day, I thought I would post the “Top Ten Reasons Not to Weigh Yourself”, as I know many people weigh themselves often and I truly believe it’s not the best idea. Why? I used to weigh myself all the time back when I had an eating disorder, and I really believe it made things worse. This is not to say that anyone who weighs themselves will get an eating disorder, but I do think that it puts the focus on the wrong issue and it causes one to become pre-occupied with a number, rather than an overall sense of health and well-being.

The Top Ten Reasons Not To Weigh Yourself

  1. Weight fluctuates from day to day, which is not a significant indication of overall weight change.
  2. Daily weight changes often are due to water weight, which naturally rises and falls.
  3. Seeing a change we don’t like on the scale may make us feel negative about ourselves and our bodies.
  4. Focusing on weight tends to correlate with other negative behaviors that we want to avoid.
  5. The scale will never say what we want it to say.
  6. How we feel about ourselves is more important than the number on the scale.
  7. The scale does not consider body composition (the ratio of muscle, fat, and other tissues). For example, as we exercise and gain muscle, we might look trimmer and more fit but actually weigh more, as muscle is heavier than fat.
  8. We should not let a machine determine how we feel about ourselves.
  9. Weight is not a measurement of self-worth
  10. YOUR reason

Source: NutriFit, Sport, Therapy Inc.

Bottom Line: I do think it’s ok to weigh yourself every once in a while to keep yourself on track and to prevent gradual weight gains/losses throughout your life. I usually weigh myself about once a month, just to keep myself on track (and also to make sure I have not LOST weight). I encourage you to take this list seriously and really think about how the scale effects your emotions.

Today I leave you with the only mountain view I had while in Colorado. This was the view from the convention center in downtown Denver!HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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Health & Food

FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates

To those of you who commented on my post from today, it WAS a duplicate post  I realized I had not updated the date and it wasn’t showing up when I opened my blog, so I re-posted it. Sorry for the confusion! To update you on my hard drive, it’s officially gone and I have had it replaced now. I am still about 5 days behind since it had all of my documents for the company we are launching next week, therefore I have yet to read anyone’s blogs and I feel so bad. I am just a mess right now, PLEASE forgive me! Again, I am still drawing the winners of the giveaway tonight, and I will post about it tomorrow. Thank goodness I had already uploaded all of my pics from the week/weekend before my computer started to hate me, so this post will take you through FNCE day 2!

Free Breakfast!

For breakfast on the second day my friend Fatinah and I decided to eat some of our freebies, so an apple with Barney Butter was perfect! I had never tried Barney Butter and let me tell you, it’s AWESOME! It tastes like peanut butter, but it’s made with almonds. This is good for me because I know almond butter is a bit healthier, but I like the taste of peanut butter better.

We walked into the expo on day two and I went right to the Smart Balance booth to complain to them about their FISHY peanut butter. Guess what?? This (below) is their new reformulated peanut butter! I tasted it and it was FISH TASTE FREE!! I was so excited, people probably thought I was crazy. Notice what it says on the front, “Rich Roasted”. This is new, so keep your eyes peeled.Seminar #3
Omega Fats, The Latest Research

– Research now indicates that an increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids (chicken, dressings, corn oil) DOES NOT lead to more inflammation, and it in fact reduces the risk of heart disease.

– An increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids also decreases IL-6, an inflammatory compound in the body.

– ANOTHER update from one of my posts; Do you choose wild salmon because you think it’s got more omega-3 fats? Well if you do, you should stop! Why? There is actually MORE omega-3 in FARMED salmon! And, it’s cheaper

– For those of you who take a flaxseed supplement or choose to eat walnuts and other sources of ALA (an omega-3 fatty acid) instead of fish or fish oil, you should know that it has been shown to be VERY POORLY converted to DHA and EPA.

Ok, back to the expo. LARABAR!!! Check it out, they were just sitting there on the table for us to grab. They weren’t the full sizes, obviously, but the small sizes are just as good.I’ve heard a lot about these VitaTops. I grabbed a few of them and I thought they were Ok. Not what I expected though, sort of dry in my opinion.Puffins! Many of you were interested in this cereal. I asked the lady if I could have a coupon and she was so rude, she said; “Do you EAT this cereal?!”. I was like, “umm, yeah, or why else would I want a coupon?”Thank goodness for these eggs, as I was on sugar overload with all the juice and bar samples! Eggs on a stick are pretty fun, you should try them sometime.And of course sitting in a plastic egg is just as fun. I look like a moron.Kettle Cuisine had a pot of about 6 different types of soups for us to sample. I tried the carrot and butternut squash soup. It was delicious.The Beef Council was there also. This little taste was just what I needed. Healthy, right? An egg and some beef! hahaAnother favorite in the blog world, Cabot cheese!Ok I’ve got to get back to work now. All work, no play. Sorry this post was sort of “to the point and boring”, but I hope you learned some things. I am so excited to get back to regular posting and reading everyone’s blogs. I hope you all understand why I have not been commenting on your blogs lately, I am just so behind. Stay tuned for the announcement of my giveaway tomorrow morning! I would also like to give a special shout out to;

LESLIE AT DREAM DINNERS in Seattle, Washington. She was kind enough to supply me with two awesome bags, one for me and one for my giveaway! One of the lucky winners will receive it one, they are great.

Thanks for reading everyone, and of course, thanks for being patient with me and being loyal to my blog  You are all so great!