Food Articles Q4 2011(3)

Big Fat Surprise

Big Fat Surprise

Dec 2, 2011

We’ve all heard that saturated fat is bad for us, and most of us do our best to avoid it. But cutting it out of your diet completely is both unnecessary, and likely to backfire. Instead of replacing whole, healthy foods with fat-free substitutes, try to eat food as close as possible to its natural state—and to embrace the saturated fat that comes along with it. In fact, top experts agree it’s OK—and even beneficial—to include this type of fat in moderation. Think of it as having a saturated fat budget. You have a set amount of calories from saturated fat and you can decide how you want to spend it. The science of fat: Fats are broken into two categories— saturated (fats that are solid at room temperature) and unsaturated (fats that are liquid at room temperature). About 600 calories each day, or roughly 30 percent of a daily 2,000-calorie diet, can come from fat and a quarter of that can be saturated fat. More simply, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories a day, your daily saturated fat budget is about 17 grams or 150 calories. The article gives five simple saturated fat rules we can all follow: 1. Splurge on your favorites. If you’re really looking forward to eating a beloved treat such as cheese (or chocolate or ice cream), you’re likely to be satisfied with less. That means you don’t just get to enjoy one indulgence, but a whole variety of healthy saturated fats (think avocado, nuts or seeds). 2. Make plant fats a priority. Such sources provide us with nature’s intended balance of fatty acids, including saturated fat, as well as phytonutrients (those nutrients found only in plants) such as carotenoids and polyphenols. 3. Maintain balance. If you choose a burger, skip the cheese on top. Or, make your omelet with egg whites if you want to add avocado. You can also offset your indulgence by logging extra time on your yoga mat or local hiking trail. 4. Eat fats with benefits. When choosing a food with saturated fat, make sure it packs an extra health bonus. Chicken, eggs and meat have protein; dark chocolate is chock-full of antioxidants and magnesium; and organic, full-fat dairy, such as cheese and yogurt, offers up calcium and good-for-your-gut probiotics. 5. Be a fat snob. What matters most is the quality of the food you put into your body. (When you indulge in chocolate, make sure it’s 75 percent cacao or higher.) So, make the best quality choice you can at every eating occasion.

Source: Natural Health Magazine

A Recipe for Longevity

Nov 7, 2011

Imagine a small archipelago where people regularly live to be 100, look half their age, work and play hard all their lives, and disease is shockingly rare. No, this isn't a sequel to "Tuck Everlasting." It's Okinawa. These tiny Japanese islands between mainland Japan and Taiwan have been the subject of study since the 1970s, when researchers discovered remarkable details about the health and habits of the population there: The number of these islanders who reach 100 is four to five times that of Americans, and those centenarians are physically and mentally agile. Despite living a modern lifestyle, Okinawans don't suffer from heart disease, cancer, or other debilitating conditions at the high rates found in the United States. Scientific markers of biological age, such as artery function and hormone levels, suggest that they have bodies much younger than their calendar years. What's their secret? Okinawans haven't sipped from the fountain of youth or hit the genetics lottery. Rather, their low-calorie but nutrient-dense diet, combined with a low-key attitude and an upbeat outlook, are responsible for their long, healthy lives Okinawan Essentials: Bitter Melon This vitamin C-rich cucumber relative (also known as "goya," and sold in Asian markets) can be used raw or cooked. Try it in a stir-fry of tofu, eggs, and canola oil, in sandwiches, or in vegetable sushi. Carrots Okinawans don't just eat the sweet roots, they also use the antioxidant-rich green carrot leaves. Chop and saute the tops and mix them with brown rice, or add them to scrambled eggs or vegetable soup. Healing Herbs Try inflammation-fighting turmeric to perk up chicken. Bottles of heart-healthy chili are found in Okinawan noodle shops for spicing soup. Digestion-aiding fennel seeds can complement vegetable sautes. Seaweed Rich in folate, iron, and magnesium, seaweed (such as (kombu, nori, hijiki, and wakame) also contains lignan, a cancer-fighting phytoestrogen. Cut strips of dried seaweed and toss them into soups or salads. Wrap sheets of dried nori around balls of rice. Sweet Potatoes What if street vendors sold baked sweet potatoes ("imo") from trucks instead of selling hot dogs? They do in Okinawa. For an antioxidant-rich snack, toss 1-inch pieces with olive oil and roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Whole Grains Okinawan lore says the gods brought rice, barley, and three types of millet to an area of the island believed to be a place of spiritual energy ("shoji"). Fiber-packed millet can be used as a stuffing, or combined with brown rice for a pilaf. Soy Tofu, miso, and edamame are high in protein and flavonoids. Go beyond vegetable stir-fries and miso soup: Experiment using miso and tofu in salad dressings, or tofu in cheesecake, like the Okinawans do.

Source: Whole Living

Recipes for Health: Dinner for One

Recipes for Health: Dinner for One

Oct 13, 2011

Healthy dinners for one person can be a challenge. Sitting down at a table alone and savoring a meal prepared for oneself seems to be a foreign concept to singles with empty refrigerators, accustomed to eating on the run. Even those who do cook are likely to be put off by recipes sufficient to feed four or six. But eating alone can be a relaxing, almost meditative experience. In their new book, "Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life," Lilian Cheung, a nutritionist at Harvard, and Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist teacher, give important advice to dieters about using Buddhist techniques of mindfulness to control overeating. When you eat alone, you have the opportunity to put these techniques into practice. Preparing a meal just for yourself can give you an opportunity to really contemplate what you eat.

Source: New York Times