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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.



Perks of Water

Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?
We have all heard it before, you should drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Then to our confusion, we now hear all these other alternatives as to how much water to drink. Tired of not knowing exactly how much H20 you should drink each day? Well look no further, your water questions are answered here and now!

Health benefits of Water
Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How Much Water Do You Need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

What about the advice to drink eight glasses a day?

Everyone has heard the advice, “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation. Although the ‘8 by 8″ rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember. Just be sure to keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as, “Drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day,” because all fluids count towards the daily total.


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


Benefits of Soy Isoflavones

Watching the Dr. Oz show again, he spoke wonders about the benefits of Soy Isoflavones!


Consuming soy on a daily basis has been shown to affect cholesterol levels in women. According to NCCAM, soy has been shown to help lower cholesterol, specifically low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol levels in both men and women. The American Diabetes Association also notes that using soy products to replace foods high in saturated fat can help lower cholesterol levels.


The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, notes that consuming soy products may reduce a woman’s risk for osteoporosis, certain types of cancers and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. However, NCCAM notes that study results have been inconsistent regarding soy and menopause-related hot flashes, and not enough evidence exists to recommend soy for health benefits other than lowering


The safety of consuming soy isoflavone supplements over a long period of time has not been established. Women with hormone-related health conditions or certain types of cancer should use caution when consuming large amounts of soy isoflavones.


Soy may be recommended for women in certain circumstances. Soy proteins are high-quality proteins that can replace other animal-based protein sources such as high-fat meats or dairy products. Soy proteins are a healthy choice for vegetarian women. In women who are lactose intolerant, soy milk is typically tolerated better than cow’s milk.

Expert Insight

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can reduce your risk for heart disease. Because consuming soy can help reduce your cholesterol levels, the NIH recommends consuming 25 grams of soy protein each day, in addition to limiting dietary saturated fat and cholesterol, to help reduce your risk for heart.


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.


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!