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10 Ways to Cut Back on Sugar

Americans are consuming way more sugar than they should — 22 teaspoons a day. It’s clear we need to cut back, but it’s hard to break old habits. The American Heart Association (AHA) is urging people to aim for no more than 100 calories of sugar a day (six teaspoons). Here are some easy things you can do to lighten up on the white stuff.

1. Cut back slowly. A gradual switch is ideal to avoid the chances of regressing back to sweets.

2. Try to ween yourself off of the sugar you add to foods. Stir less sugar into your cup of joe and sprinkle less sugar on your cereal or oatmeal.

3. Choose your sugar vice for the day. Limit your daily sugar intake. Keep in mind that one soft drink, a small candy bar, a few plain cookies, or a small portion of light ice cream or frozen yogurt is equal to 100 to 150 calories of added sugar.

4. Don’t be fooled by natural sugars. Brown sugar, molasses, Sucanat, and turbinado sugar are still sugar. 5. Avoid liquid sugars. A 12-ounce can of coke contains 40 grams of sugar, and a 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water contains 32 grams.

6. Buy plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt. Either sweeten it with fresh or frozen fruit, or mix half plain yogurt with half fruit yogurt.

7. Don’t be fooled by healthier versions of treats. An oatmeal raisin cookie and strawberry ice cream are still made with sugar. So are many energy bars.

8. Get fruity. To satisfy your sweet tooth, choose naturally sweet foods like fruit, dried fruit such as dates or apricots, fruit smoothies, carrots, sweet potatoes, and homemade popsicles.

9. Check labels on fruit products. Fruit is naturally sweet enough, but some companies choose to make it sweeter by adding sugar. Choose jams and juices that are sweetened with nothing but fruit.

10. Check labels on other foods and look for hidden sugars. If a label says sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice crystals, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, molasses, or malted barley extract, it contains sugar.



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Bing Cherries and Arthritis

It’s a fact that Arthritis is a surfacing  health issue that comes with age. Here is a fruit that poses as an aid for this reoccurring epidemic. Arthritis is a painful and somewhat debilitating condition marked by inflammation, pain and weakness of the joints. While this disease is not reversible, there are steps you can take toward improving the symptoms of arthritis. Simple dietary changes, such as eating more Bing Cherries, may help.

Types of Arthritis
Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation in the joints, and it can include osteo or rheumatoid arthritis and gout. For osteoarthritis, inflammation occurs as a result of the degeneration of the joint. However, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body attacks your own joints; it is an auto-immune disorder. Gout is another type of arthritis triggered by too much uric acid inside your joint.
Blood Markers of Arthritis
Arthritis is a diagnosable condition. If you suspect you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout, your physician can take a blood sample to look for substances in your blood that indicate an inflammatory response. Uric acid, c-reactive protein and nitric oxide can signify that your body is working to attack inflammation.
Bing Cherries and Arthritis
Bing cherries may be effective in reducing the markers of inflammation associated with the different types of arthritis. A study by the USDA Agriculture Research Service in 2004 analyzed the effects of bing cherries on arthritic inflammation. Ten women were recruited and told to abstain from berries, wine, fruits and vegetables for two days before the study, as these contain antioxidants and contain the potential to alter the result of the study. The day of the study, the subjects were fed a bowl of cherries for breakfast. Then, blood markers of inflammation associated with arthritis were analyzed. The most significant change was in the urate levels, a distinct marker of gout, which decreased significantly throughout the day. Other markers of inflammation, including c-reactive protein and nitric oxide, also were monitored, and also decreased following bing cherry consumption.
Bing cherries seem to reduce inflammation through the work of their antioxidants. These are molecules that neutralize free radicals or other molecules that have become oxidized and damage cells and DNA. Following a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods like cherries, other fruits, vegetables, nuts and tea can ease symptoms of arthritis by reducing inflammation


Healthy Pizza

Ever have a guilty conscience when biting into a cheesy slice of pizza? Well, I know I do, so try this substitute – it eliminated about 20 carbs per slice!

Substitute: Portobello mushrooms for pizza crust

Cut the gills out of the inside of the mushroom, says Ruben, “then place the mushroom on an oiled cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes so it dries out slightly.” Add tomato sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni or other toppings and broil until the cheese begins to melt. You can also make bite sized mini pizzas in each mushroom if you want to avoid making a big mess – plus, it keeps your portion sizes in check!

10 Strange Pineapple Facts

I bet you have never thought about these interesting things when picking out a pineapple at the grocery store or eating one. These are just 10 strange pineapple facts, of course there are plenty more out there!

  1. There are a lot of foods that affect the taste of your seminal or vaginal fluids, but pineapple is one of the strongest. Eating a lot of pineapple makes you taste sweeter, and less ‘fishy’.
  2. When you cut up a pineapple at home, you normally chuck the skin, core and ends in the bin. The pineapple canning industry doesn’t though, these bits are used for making alcohol, vinegar and animal feed.
  3. Each pineapple plant only produces just one pineapple per year.
  4. Unripe pineapples don’t just taste vile, but can actually be quite poisonous. Eating it causes serious throat irritation and it has a strong laxative effect.
  5. Pineapples grow slowly, and can take up to two years to reach full size, so we pick and eat them when they are much smaller, but if they are left to their own devices they can reach up to 9kg (20lbs).
  6. If you want to speed up the ripening of a pineapple, so that you can eat it faster, then you can do it by standing it upside down (on the leafy end).
  7. Traditionally pineapple juice was used as a diuretic and to induce labour.
  8. The Bromelain enzyme in pineapples breaks down proteins. This means that you can use pineapple or pineapple juice as a meat tenderiser.
  9. The same Bromelain enzyme means that you can’t put fresh pineapple in jelly, because it breaks down the gelatine. You can stop this from happening by boiling the chunks of pineapple in their juice or in water for a few minutes, or you can use canned pineapple.
  10. In case you find yourself on a sailing trip in the tropics without any Ajax, you might like to know that pineapple juice mixed with sand is very good for cleaning boat decks and machete blades.


Fun Fact – Bananas

Did you know? Bananas are herbs, not fruits.

I found this neat site that gives nutritional facts, check it out!


Artisan and Microbrews

Tired of going to parties and functions and being handed a budweiser or coors light? If so we share the same sentiment towards “corporate” beers. Luckily for all of us there’s a whole world of full-bodied beers and microbrews.
Most folks don’t know where to begin when exploring the world of microbrews ~ and this is completely understandable as the beer aisle in any market can be a daunting task to search through. So let’s start with introducing the more widely enjoyed species of beers each brewed through a different process and using different ingredients.
IPA’s (my personal favorite)
Stands for India Pale Ale – these beers tend to be very much on the bitter side however due to their traditional dry-hopping process and their overall usage of extreme amounts of hops tend to create a higher alcohol content beer (6.5-18% ABV).  IPA’s yield a very full bodied flavor hinting piney, floral, and hoppy characteristics.
These beers are often times more on the expensive side but are extremely flavorful and full-bodied.  They consist of a plummy, oaky, and roasted flavor providing for an often times sweet tasting beer in comparison to IPA’s.
Hefeweizen’s (Weissbier)
Hefe’s are enjoyed by everyone but ladies especially seem to be very fond of them. This might have to do with the ingredients used in their brewing process. A traditional hefeweizen is brewed with banana cloves and vanilla extracts which provides for an extremely palatable flavor and enjoyable finish.  Usually on the sweet, Hefe’s tend to be lower in ABV % however, I have seen some hefeweizen’s with 8% ABV.
The next time you find yourself in the beer aisle at the supermarket or perhaps a Bevmo, take the extra time to look at the different types of beers. Not only are you in for a treat with the unique flavors of these various brews but also “hoppier” and more artisan beers can promote better health (only if consumed in extreme moderation). You don’t have to stick to drinking budweiser, coors, and miller as the world of microbrews is endless and as mentioned, healthier too! Until next time…cheers!