The Awesome Onion! July 23, 2015 12:51
Be it yellow, red, or white, this humble vegetable adds lots of flavor to food and packs a powerful nutritional punch. Onions are a great source of chromium, vitamin C, folate and fiber. They also contain the phytonutrient allicin, which has been linked to reducing blood pressure.
Onion and Rice Casserole
1 cup rice
2 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Add oil to medium sauce pan and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and saute till softened (about 5 minutes). Add rice and stir to coat with oil, then add stock, a pinch of salt and bit of pepper. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Serves four. 128 calories per serving. 40.2 mg potassium, 5 g protein, 3.4% of RDA vitamin C.
Is Buying Organic Produce Worth the Price? July 16, 2015 12:48
According to the Environmental Watch Group (EWG), nearly two thirds of the more than 3,000 produce samples tested by the US Department of Agriculture contained pesticide residues. In some fruits and vegetables, the pesticides persisted even after they were washed, and in same cases, peeled. Created to kill insects, plants and fungi, pesticides are toxic by design, and many pose health risks to people.
Yet, organic produce is expensive, and can be hard to find. And, it turns out, some conventionally grown fruits and vegetables aren't so bad when it comes to containing pesticides. To help you shop smarter, the EWG researched what produce you should try to buy and which conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are okay.
The Dirty Ones - Organic Must Haves
Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, lettuce)
Peppers (sweet and hot)
Snap peas (imported)
The Clean Fifteen - Conventionally Grown Okay
Sweet peas (frozen)
For more information visit the Environmental Watch Group's web site.
Team Up with My Fitness Pal for Better Health May 13, 2015 10:55
Yesterday afternoon our Vice President of Wellness made us drop everything. “Have you seen this?” She said, pointing to her iPhone, “This changes everything!” Because she’s our boss, tried not to roll our eyes, and took a closer look. She’d discovered the My Fitness Pal app, and for someone trying to get a handle on their health and nutrition, it really is a game changer.
We knew that our VP wanted to shed some pounds, but we also knew that she was extremely busy – work, kids, aging parents – just getting to the gym is a minor triumph, and while she eat the right foods, she just isn’t the type to keep a food journal to track calories. But she is the type that always has her smartphone with her. Her doctor really got on her case, and suggested trying My Fitness Pal. “I wasn’t sold at first,” said our VP, “but this app really makes keeping track of what I eat and how much I exercise easy.”
The app is free, and works on an Apple iPhone or on an Android smartphone. You punch in your weight and your goal (loss, gain or maintain; a pound or half pound a week) and the app calculated how many calories you should eat each day. The real genius of the app is that it draws on a huge database food and exercise facts and keeps a running daily total. You tell it you just ate a small banana, and it tells you that you just consumed 110 calories 450 mg of potassium and 30 mg of carbs and adds the calories to your daily count. You tell it that you spent 15 minutes cooking, and it tells you that you burned 43 calories and subtracts them from that day’s total. It uses the tracking devise in your smartphone to count your steps, then adds the calories burned to your allotment. Using the phone’s camera you can scan the barcodes of what you’re about to eat, or drink (Budweiser, 12 ounces, 1 serving, 145 calories, 10.6 g carbs, 1.3 g protein). The app will suggest foods that you often eat together (Rolled Gold Fat Free Twist Pretzels, 1 ounce serving, 110 calories, 1 g fat (.5 g polyunsaturated) 450 mg sodium, 80 mg potassium, 23 g carbs, 2 g protein and 6% of daily recommended amount of iron. Pretzels as a source of iron – who knew?). Tell My Fitness Pal the ingredients of your world famous homemade pasta sauce (3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, 2 anchovies) and it will calculate the calories (312 per serving), the fats, the carbs and all the rest and then stores the recipe so you only have to tell it once.
Our Vice President of Wellness has been using My Fitness Pal for a month – she’s two pounds shy of the goal her doctor set back at the beginning of April. “But I’m not stopping there,” she said, “This summer I’m going to look better in my bathing suit!”
A User’s Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements April 27, 2015 17:18
Okay - what exactly are vitamins, minerals and supplements, anyway? Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients (protein and carbohydrates are examples of nutrients) that are necessary for good health. Vitamins are organic (made by plants and animals), and minerals are inorganic (made by the earth, which we get when we eat the plant or animal that absorbed it from the earth). Dietary supplements are substances used to get micronutrients into your body that might be missing from your diet, to lower your risk of certain health problems, or to address a particular condition. A supplement might have in it vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs or other plants or enzymes, either as a single ingredient or in some combination. Supplements can come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, gel tabs, extracts or liquids.
Getting enough vitamins and minerals is really, really important to your overall health. For instance, a lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy (a horrible and potentially deadly disease) and not enough iron can cause anemia (which means you don’t have enough red blood cells, and feel weak and puny). The good news is that if you eat a health, well-balanced diet, you’ll most likely get the right combination of vitamins and minerals to be healthy. Oh yeah, and you need to get out in the sunshine too – sun light is a major source of vitamin D (fortified milk, and fatty fish are others) which your body needs to absorb calcium (a mineral); calcium is important for bone health. And without bones, well…let’s just say, it wouldn’t be pretty. So yeah – eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of sunshine and exercise (which is important to bone health too), and your health will most likely be just fine.
But research shows that most of us don’t eat the well-balanced diet that nutritionists recommend. In fact, it can be downright hard to eat “right”. And your nutritional needs depend on your age, gender and overall health. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you need more protein, iron, calcium and folic acid in your diet. If you’re training for a marathon, you need will more carbohydrates and minerals. If you don’t go outside much, or live where the skies are cloudy all day, you may not be getting enough vitamin D. And once you’re over 50, according to the National Institute on Aging (part of the US National Institutes of Health) you need more vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B6.
So what should you do? Take charge of your health. Learn as much as you can about your health and nutrition. Try to eat a well-balanced diet – there are plenty of great recipes out there. A lot of folks take a multi-vitamin, like AsUage, to ensure that they’re getting enough of all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Work with your doctor and health care providers. Ask them about your health concerns. Be sure to tell them about all of the vitamins, supplements, prescription and over-the-counter medications you use (different drugs have different interactions). And, finally, while nutrition is important, it is just one piece of your overall health and well-being. Go outside. Visit a friend. Take a class. Have fun. Feed yourself - body, mind and soul.