Archive for June, 2011

Eating  Well  While  Vacationing  Saves  the  Guilt  and  Waistline  too!

Should vacation be a time to indulge without guilt?  Will all those high calorie/high fat meals cause you to regret booking the trip when you return? How can you keep from ruining your vacation memories by having to purchase bigger clothes or compromising your health upon return?

Let’s explore some tips that could help you enjoy your vacation without blowing the healthy lifestyle.

Start out by choosing how many times you indulge. A great way to plan this is the 80/20 rule. This involves eating well 80% of the time so when you do indulge the other 20% can be without guilt. This involves a little planning. A part of vacation is being able to enjoy and sample local cuisine. When you focus on moderation a greater appreciation of those special meals and tastes occurs.

Don’t allow hunger to turn into an indulgence. Pack easy to carry along snacks for the long sightseeing or beach going days. Then, when it is getting close to time for a meal you can choose wisely rather than finding the first place to eat out of desperation as your body screams in hunger.

Realize that going overboard is normal, and vacation is a departure from the normal routine.  Going overboard does not break your healthy lifestyle forever. Treat the next day as a new opportunity to make healthy choices once again.

Enjoy your vacation with some active activities. This will allow you to experience the cuisine while helping your waistline, and guilt feelings too!

Vacation should be a time to relax and recharge. Don’t allow your eating and unhealthy lifestyle choices to put a damper on your fun.

Source: www.rd411.com

Author: Liz Smith, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension.chicken burrito


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The exact cause of cancer is unknown but we do know what makes it more likely to occur.  This blog message recommends that you choose and prepare healthy foods and be more active to cut the risk of cancer.What are some likely causes of cancer?

• Smoking                          • Sunlight
• Viruses                            • Chemicals
• Air Pollution                   • Radiation
What may help cancer grow and spread?

• Alcohol

• Being overweight
• Hormones
• Pollutants
 Cancer and Diet
Cancer experts believe that up to 20-40% of all cancers may be influenced by what we eat. This may be particularly true if several members of your family have suffered from cancer.

What may lower risk?

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Physical Activity
  • Weight Control
  • Soy, especially early in life
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Fat free or low fat dairy foods

What can YOU do to lower your risk?

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and Vegetables

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.

It is easy to eat more during the summer.  Many local fruits and vegetables are available.  Make sure you fill at least
half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Eat them as snacks and make sure you start your day with a fruit or
vegetable.  That helps you get a head
start on your fruit or vegetables.

Move more.  If you haven’t been physically active in awhile, be sure to check
with your doctor first.  Start slow &
add minutes to your walking or activity routine.  You won’t become a marathon runner overnight.  Find activities you enjoy such as walking,
biking or swimming.  Aim to be active for
60 minutes most days of the week.

Charred FoodsLimit your intake of blackened or
charred food. 
 Research shows that substances that develop on
foods that have been blackened or charred also increase cancer risk.  Enjoy the summer grilling season but do so in

Watch your fat intake, especially
saturated fat. 
Saturated fat comes from animals and
animal products.  If you have a high fat
intake you may be more prone to cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Season with herbs and spices and reduce the
amount of fat that you add to foods.

Drink more water.  Aim for 6-8 glasses of water each day.  Fill the glass with ice, water, and add a
sprig of mint or a lemon wedge and enjoy this refreshing drink.

Start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.  Pick one or two tips that you can do and begin today.  As you make these habits part of your routine, add another healthy lifestyle tip.  In a few months you will feel better and will have developed some healthy lifestyle habits that are part of daily life.

Begin your journey towards health today!

Sources:  The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, The American Cancer Society, The Georgia Department of Human
Resources and The Cancer Information Service.

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As people age they typically need less food (less calories), but about the same amount of most vitamins and minerals.  This means that older adults need to focus on eating nutrient-dense foods — those high in vitamins and minerals at a lower calorie “cost”.  Nutrient-dense foods include most fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, lean meats, legumes, and whole grains.  As one eighty-five year old put it, “I need more carrots and less coconut cake.”

Increasingly, research is finding that specific foods – typically the more colorful, plant-based foods – have disease-fighting capabilities. Blue, purple, and red foods, such as berries, are rich in phytochemicals that may reduce risk for some cancers.

Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, may be beneficial in preventing or slowing the disease of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in aging adults.

For the typical caregiver, buying nutrient-dense foods means shopping with color in mind. Upon entering the grocery store, start with the produce section and select a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those in season. Buying produce in season is important for taste and nutrition, and it is economical. Spend as little time as possible in the aisles with processed or canned foods. Those generally contain ingredients, like sugar, salt, and fat, which add calories with few or no micronutrients that are important for good health.

Start slowly and select one or two appealing vegetable items; then identify a variety of simple tasty ways to prepare them. The options abound. Even something less well known, such as kale (the curly-edged, dark green, leafy vegetable often used as garnish in restaurants}, has tasty possibilities. Consider making “kale chips” by washing and thoroughly drying the kale and cutting it into chip-size pieces with kitchen shears. Be sure to remove the middle rib on each leaf of kale. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the pieces with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with a seasoning (such as turmeric, nutmeg or a salt-substitute). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Another approach might be to place cut-up, well washed, and dried kale leaves in a blender or food processor and turn them into flakes. Store those flakes in the freezer in a sealable bag. Regularly add a spoonful of kale flakes to soups or sprinkle on salads. Those are just a few of the type of ideas found on Oregon State University’s recipe Website http://healthyrecipes.oregonstate.edu.

The question of food as medicine?
Deliciously so.

Source:  http://www.extension.org/pages/The_Question_of_Food_as_Medicine

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Are you getting enough potassium?  With emphasis on limiting sodium, potassium gets forgotten.   Yet, potassium can help in your effort to lower blood pressure.

In the U.S. one in three adults has high blood pressure and 56% do not have it under control.  So what does potassium have to do with it?  Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure.  Studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes have lower blood pressures.  High levels of potassium have also been associated with a reduced risk of bone loss, kidney stones and type 2 diabetes.  Low potassium levels are a predictor for stroke.    That’s why the new USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend you choose foods that provide more potassium.

Can’t potassium supplements work?  They can but they also can be hazardous, especially if you have kidney disease and don’t know it.   Having too much potassium in your blood can be life-threatening.    However, getting your potassium from foods usually does not cause any problems.  If you have a disorder that causes potassium retention, such as diabetes, kidney disease or heart failure, check with your doctor before increasing your potassium intake. 

Eating more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products is the BEST way to increase your potassium.   Bananas may come to mind when you hear the word potassium.  Bananas are a good source and so are potatoes, oranges or orange juice, beans, yogurt, milk, tomato products, spinach, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and prunes.  Follow “Choose My Plate” (http://www.choosemyplate.gov ) and fill up half your plate with fruits and vegetables.   You will be getting the potassium you need as well as other nutrients and fiber.  With summer here, now is the time to enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables and get your potassium, too.

References:  USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010; Nutrition Action Healthletter, Getting Enough? September 2010.

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The USDA revealed their new education program to help families build healthier diets recently. They plan for Choose MyPlate to replace the Pyramid that they have been using. For many of us in the nutrition and health education fields – this isn’t a new concept – we have used this in teaching healthy meal planning for diabetics.

So what are some of the basic concepts in Choose MyPlate –

–   A dinner plate is divided in half, with one side featuring fruits and vegetables; and the other is divided between protein and grains. A small serving of dairy is shown with a cup.

–  The plate graphic is focusing on avoiding oversized portions of food – by using a small to medium sized plate.

–  The dairy foods you eat should be fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

–  Move toward eating whole-grains for at least half of your grains. Try popcorn, whole-wheat breads or pastas, brown rice, whole oats, or whole-grain corn products.

–  Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to fill that half a plate. Focus on those bright red, orange, dark green and purple varieties.

–  Check out the sodium in foods by reading labels. Try to choose more that are reduced or low sodium versions. Work toward reducing your sodium level to no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. Include many fresh and home-made foods in your diet.

–  Drink water and milk and avoid soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks. They just add empty calories to your diet, which may result in unwanted pounds.

–  Proteins in your diet need not be a traditional meat –they can include dried beans or peas, eggs, nuts, soy foods, or sea foods.

I’m sure you will hear a lot more from us about the revised plans for healthy eating for Americans. Check out the USDA resources available from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. They include: Daily Food Plans, Interactive Tools such as a Food Tracker, Recipes, and Sample Menu’s.

 Author:Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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