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There is an ever-increasing bounty of gluten free foods available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Why? Are more people needing a gluten free diet, or just choosing to avoid gluten? The short answer is yes… to both questions.

Gluten free food products.If we look at the percentage of Americans that must avoid gluten for health reasons, that includes 1% of the US population with Celiac Disease, 0.4% with a wheat allergy, and then there’s that confusing category of non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, which may affect up to 6% of the US population. For more information on these conditions, you can read this blog article from Live Smart Ohio. That adds up to 7.4% of the US population avoiding gluten for medical reasons.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, approximately twenty percent of Americans are on a gluten free diet. So what is the remaining 12.6% of our population doing on a gluten free diet? The most popular reason consumers give for buying gluten-free products is they believe the gluten-free diet has health benefits, including weight loss. While there is evidence to show that gluten free diet can help lessen symptoms associated with certain autoimmune diseases such as dermatitis herpetiformis, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis, and psoriasis, there is no evidence to support gluten-free health claims for the general population. Gluten is found in foods that are part of a healthy diet and contribute nutrients and fiber. Some people that are on a gluten-free diet simply don’t need to be.

As for losing weight, that all depends on how you go gluten-free. Reducing refined carbs like white bread, crackers and pasta and processed grains and replacing them with whole grains will reduce calories and increase fiber. However, if you replace gluten-containing products with their less healthy gluten-free substitutes, you’re likely to consume more fat, sugar and calories. Additionally, refined gluten-free foods are not usually enriched or fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

While there are medical diagnoses that require avoiding gluten, there is little evidence to support gluten-free health claims for the general population. If you would like more information about gluten-free eating, please visit this 30 minute webinar by OSU Extension on Gluten Free Eating.

Sources:

“9 Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-Free” 2016. Celiac Disease Foundation.

Gaesser, G.A., PhD & Angadi, S.S., PhD “Gluten-Free Diet: Imprudent Dietary Advice for the General Population?” 2012. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“What is Celiac Disease?” 2016. Celiac Disease Foundation.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

 

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While ringing in the New Year, many of us also resolve to make THIS the year that we finally realize our goals. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves off the resolution wagon before January has ended. Every year people say they are going to exercise more, be healthier, quit smoking, get organized, lose weight, manage money, etc. By the time February rolls around, those ambitions have gone by the wayside. Well, FEAR NOT! Using some scientifically proven steps, lasting change is achievable.

Researchers have identified distinct stages of change that people who are able to achieve success progress through. The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) was developed in the late 1970’s by James O. Prochaska, PhD and Carlo C. DiClemente, PhD, when they contrasted the experiences of people who were able to quit smoking on their own, versus those who needed additional treatment. People quit smoking when they were ready to quit. The TTM operates on the assumption that people do not change behaviors quickly and decisively. Rather, change in behavior, especially habitual behavior, occurs continuously through a cyclical process.1

The Transtheoretical Model

  • Pre-contemplation: Someone may realize there is a problem and they may be thinking about changing it, but they have not yet made a commitment to do anything about it. People can be stuck in this phase for many years.
  • Contemplation: Someone plans to make some changes in the relatively near future. They have started to think about the good and bad things associated with making these changes.
  • Preparation: Someone is going to take action soon. They may start taking small steps toward the change.
  • Action: Someone has recently started making some changes in their behavior to make progress toward their goal.
  • Maintenance: Someone has been continuing with the behavior changes for a period of time and they plan to stick with them.
  • Termination: Someone no longer has any desire to revert back to their previous behaviors. Most people don’t get to this point, so it is often not part of many programs.

changePeople do not succeed in achieving their New Year’s resolutions or other goals because they are unaware of these stages. In addition to this, the professionals people seek for help, may also be unaware of what stage of change the someone is actually in. They assume since a person has come to them asking for help, that they are in the action phase, when this may not be accurate. Consider whether the stage of change that you are in right now is appropriate for the expectations you may have set on January 1st. If not, adjust your timeline and your goals accordingly.

So, if achieving your goal weight, exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, managing finances, or whatever has slipped by the wayside, you can still be successful in 2017!

Author: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Washington County.

Sources:

Boston University School of Public Health http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.html

Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285796052_Applying_the_Stages_of_Change

SAGE Journals http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.4278/ajhp.140627-QUAL-304

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162833.html

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162820.html

Harvard Business School http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-keep-with-the-help-of-behavioral-science-research

Case Western Reserve University http://www.centerforebp.case.edu/stories/stages-of-change-co-creator-carlo-diclemente-discusses-practical-applications-of-his-transtheoretical-model-for-health-wellness-and-recovery

University of California, San Francisco https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/12/405201/scientific-reasons-keeping-your-new-years-resolutions

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/behavior.htm

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veggiegirl2

According to MyPlate.gov, snacks can help kids get nutrients needed to grow.  This blog will show some ideas to help you make creative snacks with veggies & fruits. By making food fun, you may encourage your child to try something new. If possible, involve your child in food preparation or cooking. Kids like to try their creations!

Concerned about the cost of fresh vegetables and fruits? Select vegetables & fruits when they are “in season” or on sale. Make sure to buy enough, but not too much where you end up throwing it away.

  • Winter “In Season” vegetables & fruits include kiwi and citrus fruits like tangerines, clementines, oranges and grapefruit.
  • Spring “In Season” vegetables & fruits include snow peas, broccoli, greens, asparagus, strawberries and spinach.
  • Veggies & fruits that are readily available “year round” include bananas, celery, carrots, apples, potatoes & onions.

Here are some recipe ideas to try:

    • Veggie Kid. Add light ranch dip for the face of the kid and make the body out of vegetables & fruits you may have on hand.
    • Cheese and Crackers. Try the convenience of single serving string cheese and pair it with whole wheat crackers. To ramp up the veggies, add a few carrot sticks or apple wedges.
    • Make a fun “character” fruit tray. Easy and fun! The eyes in this fruit tray are hardboiled eggs. Watch the children “gobble” up the fruit.

Need more inspiration? Try these:

elmofruit

  • Apple Smiles made with peanut butter and raisins.
  • Fruit Kabobs. Use your favorite fruits for this fun snack!
  • Crunchy Berry Parfait. Use your favorite fruits in this easy favorite.
  • Cowboy Caviar. A favorite of adults and kids alike! Serve with whole grain chips, fill celery sticks or top a salad with this tasty salsa.

Remember that some children don’t like foods that are mixed up. If this is the case, serve them individually.

Final Tips:

  • Make it easy to choose add-ins. Try hummus, creamy vegetable dip made with yogurt, or applesauce with a little “crunch” (granola or cereal) and cinnamon.
  • Let them pick a new vegetable or fruit to try if you take them grocery shopping.

What ideas do you have to add more veggies & fruits to your day? Post your ideas in the comment section.

Sources:

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (2017). Spend Smart. Eat Smart. http://extension.iastate.edu

USDA (2016). MyPlate snack tips for parents. MyPlate, MyWins. www.choosemyplate.gov

USDA What’s Cooking? Recipe Finder available from https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

Photo credits:

Jennifer Driesbach, driesbach.2@osu.edu

Michelle Treber, treber.1@osu.edu

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin county, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

 

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post-95090_1920

For many people, the cold winter months bring an onset of what is described as the winter blues.  The colder, darker winter months can cause a change in our moods and our behaviors.  Some examples are sleeping more, becoming more irritable, eating more, and avoiding friends or social situations.

Dr. Emma Seppala, Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at Yale University, offers these tips for beating the winter blues:

  • CONNECT
    • One great way to connect to others in the winter months is to volunteer, at a shelter, a food bank, a nursing home, or at an after school program.
    • Another way is to stay active.  Join a fitness class.  Invite some friends to go on a walk or meet at a gym to shoot some hoops.
  • BREATHE
    • Practice mindfulness activities, like yoga or meditation, to help center your thoughts and help you to relax.
  • SAVOR
    • Be present in whatever activity you are engaged in. Turn off the cell phones and focus on where you are and who are you are with.
    • Curl up with your loved ones (spouse, childen, grandchildren) under a warm and cozy, blanket and read a book or watch a funny movie.
    • Eat healthier meals and take time to eat at a leisurely pace.

If you find that the winter blues are interfering with your daily activities for a period longer than two weeks, please consult your family physician or a mental health professional.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that is categorized as a type of depression and occurs during months where individuals have less exposure to natural sunlight that can be treated with appropriate medical help.

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County, Ohio State Extension, dellifield.2@osu.edu

Reviewed By:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu

SOURCES:

Sepalla, Emma M. PhD, “3 Definitive Ways to Beat The Winter Blues”, Psychology Today. Web January 20, 2016 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201601/3-definitive-ways-beat-winter-blues

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/mood-disorders/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.html

REFERENCES:

Roecklein, Kathryn A., Rohan, Kelly J., PhD, “Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview and Update”, Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005 Jan; 2(1): 20–26. Published online 2005 Jan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004726/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/dealing-with-winter-blues-sad.aspx

“Information from Your Doctor: Seasonal Affective Disorder”, American Family Physician. 2000 Mar 1;61(5):1531-1532. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html

PHOTO CREDIT:

https://pixabay.com/en/post-light-lamp-outside-95090/

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Do you recall this childhood playground song?  In celebration of National Bean Day, take a minute to learn why you should be eating bebean-1684304_1280ans.

Although beans are not a fruit, they may be magical because they fit under not one, but two food groups. Within USDA’s MyPlate they are found under the vegetable and protein groups because they are so packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

Beans are a mature form of legumes. They include kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). All are available in dry, canned, and frozen forms. These foods provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc and are excellent sources of plant protein. They are similar to meats, poultry, and fish in their contribution of these nutrients.  Thus, they are considered part of the protein group. Many consider beans a vegetarian alternative for meat. However, they are also considered part of the vegetable group because they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and nutrients such as folate and potassium.

The high nutrient content makes consuming beans recommended for everyone, including people who also eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly. The USDA classifies beans as a subgroup of the vegetable group. The USDA also indicates that beans may be counted as part of the protein group. This allows individuals to count beans as either a vegetable or a protein food.

Beans are convenient and cost effective. They are available in the dry form in sealed bags and precooked in cans. A can of cooked dry beans can easily be used in dips, main dishes, soups, or salads.

How do canned beans compare to dry-packaged beans?

Canned beans are convenient since they don’t have to be presoaked and cooked. They can be eaten straight from the can or heated in recipes. According to the American Dry Bean Council, one 15-ounce can of beans equals one and one-half cups of cooked dry beans, drained. For most recipes, one form of beans can be substituted for the other.

Unless canned without salt, precooked canned beans generally are higher in sodium than dry-packaged beans. Always thoroughly drain and rinse canned beans in a colander or strainer under cold running water before using them in a recipe. This may help lower the amount of sodium by 41% and may help remove some of their potential gas-producing properties.

Bean Benefits

  • Beans are low in fat and calories and high in dietary fiber and protein. The fiber in beans provides a sense of fullness that helps keep food cravings down. Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans is only about 120 calories.
  • Because of their high fiber, low glycemic index, and high nutrient content, eating beans may help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

Recipes and Uses

Navy beans are great for soups, stews, or baked beans. Kidney beans are used in chili and three-bean salads. Pinto beans are used refried in stews and dips.  Black beans are used in casserolechili-bean-dip-bean-blogs, soups or baked bean

dishes.  Great northern beans and lentils are used in soups and stews. Garbonzo beans are used in salads and hummus.  Check out these “no recipe required” bean meals and snacks.

 

Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources

The Bean Institute, http://beaninstitute.com/no-recipe-required-pdf/

The Bean Institute, http://beaninstitute.com/volume-6-number-2-2015-dietary-guidelines/

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/eat_more_dry_beans_enjoying_their_health_benefits

United States Department of Agriculture, https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_BEANS_BLACK_110020.pdf

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, http://food.unl.edu/chili-bean-dip

US Dry Bean Council, http://www.usdrybeans.com/

 

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Welcome to 2017! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If so, chances are you set at least one goal related to staying fit and healthy. About 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and losing weight is at the top of the list.

myplate_yellowWe all know that healthy eating is important, but sometimes it’s easier said than done when hectic schedules and tight budgets get in the way. To achieve your goal, a little bit of thought and planning can go a long way! One strategy is to use MyPlate as a guide to brainstorm meals that fit your family’s lifestyle and preferences. I find that it can be helpful to consider three main meal components – grains, vegetables and protein – and think about how to combine those components to make fast, nutritious meals throughout the week.

  1. Grains – Grains are often the base of a meal, especially if you’re fixing a skillet dish or casserole. Foods in the grain group include rice, quinoa, barley, pasta, couscous, bread and tortillas. MyPlate recommends we make at least half our grains whole grains, so look for whole grain varieties as available. When you cook a grain such as rice, quinoa, barley or pasta, you may want to fix a full pot so that you have enough to keep in the refrigerator or freezer and use to create “heat and eat” meals throughout the week.
  1. Vegetables – MyPlate recommends we make half our plate fruits and vegetables, and this can include fresh, frozen and canned items. I like to roast fresh vegetables in large batches and combine them with pre-cooked grains to create quick meals throughout the week. Frozen vegetables are also a fast and convenient way to add nutrition to meals.
  1. Protein – Protein includes meat, poultry, fish and eggs as well as nuts, seeds and beans. As with grains, when cooking meat or poultry, consider cooking enough to last the entire week. You can bake or grill meats, then use them in soups, casseroles or skillet meals in addition to being entrees. Canned beans are great to have on hand to conveniently add protein to your meals.

couscousWhen you take the time to prepare grains, vegetables and protein in advance, it’s easy to throw together a quick weeknight meal. Dairy and fruit can then be added as toppings or side dishes.

Here are a few examples:

  • Whole grain couscous with broccoli, carrots, chickpeas (or chicken), feta cheese and raisins
  • Whole grain pasta with salmon, asparagus, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese, served with a side salad
  • Risotto with Brussels sprouts, bacon, Parmesan cheese and apple slices
  • Hamburger skillet with whole wheat macaroni, bell pepper, onion, tomato and cheese
  • Tuna noodle casserole with peas and mushrooms
  • Quinoa with roasted beets, orange slices, goat cheese and almond slivers served over arugula or spring mix
  • Quinoa with sliced apples or pears, feta cheese and almond slivers served over spring mix
  • Veggie wraps with sliced turkey, avocado and cheese

Do you have any favorite 30-minute MyPlate meals? Look for additional inspiration and share your ideas at MyPlate, MyWins.

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, O.S.U. South Centers, remley.4@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Statistic Brain (2016). New Year’s Resolution Statistics. http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2016). MyPlate, MyWins. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins

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listIt’s hard to believe that we are approaching the beginning of 2017. This is the time when many of us make our New Year’s Resolutions.  Do you make a resolution or two each year? How successful are you at fulfilling your resolutions?

I recently saw a definition of a New Year’s Resolution as a “to do list” for the first week in January!

For many people, unfortunately, this joke is their reality. Research shows that only 8% of those who make New Year’s Resolutions are successful in achieving what they have resolved. Some say that the reason our resolutions don’t work is that they are sometimes based on wishful thinking. Who doesn’t want to be happier, thinner, fit, more financially secure, etc.!  If only we could wave a magic wand and make it happen. Since that’s not possible, how can we help to ensure that the changes we want to see for ourselves are carried out?

The best advice for making positive changes in our lives is to be ready for the challenge.  There are  two basic strategies that can help you be successful:

1st Set realistic goals

  • Choose one or two achievable goals.
  • Don’t be overly aggressive with behavior change – take it slow!
  • Write them down. If you can see them each day, it may give you the motivation you need.

2nd Create an environment that will help you to succeed.

  • If you want to lose weight or become more fit, find an activity that you enjoy.
  • Ask others to help. A walking buddy can help you commit to that daily walk.
  • Enjoy a piece of fruit (or vegetable) every afternoon as a snack. This behavior helps you increase your fruit and veggie intake which may lead to behavior changes that encourage weight loss.
  • Don’t buy junk food – fill your refrigerator and pantry with healthy food and snacks.
  • If saving money is your goal, be sure you know the difference between your “wants” and “needs”.
  • Increase your money management skills by taking a class on budgeting or finance.

As you are making these new habits a part of your life, it would be good to avoid places, people, and situations that you know encourage your old habits. Stay away from people who try to sabotage your plans for a healthier life. Start with a small change and once it becomes a habit, explore the next step that you can take to achieve your overall goal.

Set some milestone markers and reward yourself when you reach them. That first marker might be walking at least 3 days per week when your goal is 5 days.  Buy yourself something fun – maybe a new pair of funky socks.

Maybe most importantly, don’t expect perfection!  Remember, you want this to be a new-years-resolutionlifelong change. There will be times that you will slip back into old habits but don’t use that as an excuse to give up on your goals. Recognize your mistake, refocus and move forward.

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County

References:

http://moneysmarts.iu.edu/tips/basics/new-years-resolution.shtml

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statisticshttp://extension.usu.edu/htm/news-multimedia/articleID=4157

http://extension.psu.edu/health/news/2016/be-successful-in-keeping-new-year2019s-resolutions

http://uwyoextension.org/uwnutrition/2013/01/31/new-years-resolution-solutions/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_three_most_important_tactics_for_keeping_your_resolutions

 

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