Archive for October, 2013

Sugar Blues: Making Choices Outside of the Box

October 7th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

First it was trans fat, then it was salt. Sugar is now in the spotlight. I’ve been mulling over the article about sugar published in the National Geographic a few months back. Late last week the Fifth Estate show featured this other legal white powder….

I watched it in earnest as I’m sure my fellow nutrition compadres did. I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t a hard hitting jolt of extreme journalism pushing consumers to be more food phobic than some already are.

So just to introduce the topic of sugar, understand that all forms of added sugar should be lumped together from granulated, icing, brown, honey, syrup and molasses because our gut recognizes it the same no matter the source. When I talk about “natural” sugars, they do not include these, such as that seemingly innocent honey bear in your cupboard, he is certainly not sporting a halo! Let’s be clear from the get go.

The crux of the message from the segment was that added sugar is present to a much greater degree in our food supply and eating way too much could surely have negative health consequences for us from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more. They exclaimed people are eating way too much ~26 teaspoons of this white stuff daily when we ought to only be getting 6 or 9 teaspoons for women and men respectively. That number will put a lump in your throat. Yes soul sister I’m talking to you….

I loved how they featured a family who allowed their diet and physical status to be evaluated on camera from their home, to the grocery store to Dr. Flanders medical evaluation, to Jaclyn Pritchard, the dietitian’s assessment. The family was given meals (without excess sugar added) for a three week timeframe, then reevaluated. The results were certainly positively stunning, showing all family members’ key biomedical indicators improved, including their waist circumference being smaller and losing weight. All in 3 measly weeks, bravo! How’s that for progress?

I talked this over while on a walk over the weekend with my sister the mathematician who’s rather concrete and black and white. We chatted about how to spot added sugar on the food product labels by looking at the ingredient list AND the nutrition facts table. The closer to the front of the list the ingredient is mentioned, the more of it is in the product. Then take a look at the nutrition facts panel and make a judgement call on the product. She asked “why not separate out the added sugar on a different line on the panel?” And I said, why NOT, capital idea! That would certainly help consumers to more clearly identify the added sugar, don’t you think? This exists where fat is listed in the table teasing out the trans fat. Consumers shouldn’t need a degree in nutrition after all to help them make better choices.

Next it’s important to compare different brands and see which has more or less sugar. Along the seemingly miles in the grocery store there really is so much choice. Keep in mind though, that some healthy foods contain natural sugar, such as fruit, milk and vegetables for example. The last thing any nutrition minded person wants is for consumers to start slashing and burning their sugar consumption in all of the wrong places. Cutting out these nutrient rich foods would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face and would short change your masterful machine and nutritional status. Don’t do it to yourself!

Something was niggling in my mind after the segment though. The spotlight was on the food package industry and nothing was mentioned about restaurant food. What gives?  Families eat out more and more these days and use a lot more convenience foods. Sadly, this sector isn’t bound by those food labelling laws the packaged food industry is bound by. I say that it’s about time they were!

I have been talking a lot about “awareness is bliss” lately so of course you need to know what ALL of your food contains if you’re making important choices to cut down the sugar in your diet. It’s easy to order food in a restaurant unknowingly while eating blindly as if you can allow the flood gates to open when you don’t know what’s in any of it. We really must know these facts given eating out is part of everyday life and not simply a treat like days of old.

So decide to choose your food from outside of the box, whether the food package or the take out container and have more food in it’s natural form. Ok so call me a broken record, I can take it! You’ll be better off in the long run when you do.

Like Barry White sings, “too much of anything’s not good for you baby….”

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Policy for the People | No Comments »

Fessing UP – Monitoring Mania

October 4th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , ,

There are times when I wish I never started a blog. From the outset, my hard and fast rule was to be relatable and honest and over time; however, sometimes to a fault – ug. I’ve admitted to a faux pas here, a nasty habit there and since the mere mention of me going for my annual physical check up hawk eyes abound waiting for me to fess up. What gives?

Truth be told I’ve been mulling over my experience, if that’s alright with you. At my age my physical is like an orchestra reaching a crescendo between the various tests, mammogram (ouch), blood work, eye exams, dentist, I lump all of this bodily monitoring stuff together.

I discussed in my book Skinny on Slim the importance of “monitoring the machine” your bodacious body. Having your annual check up is key. I also divulged that I “broke it off with my scale” years back so I do the drum roll all the way to the doctor’s office as I hold my breath for my annual weigh in.

I’ll confess that despite the cooler temps I wore featherweight garb for it – dum dum dum dum, as if it made any difference. I’m sure the receptionist did the “butcher manoeuvre”, instead of putting her thumb on the scale she had her big toe back there and found much joy in pushing, pushing, pushing the dam lever further up – almost 10 pounds up from last year’s visit, thank you very much. There I said it. Are you happy now? It wasn’t even worth all of the shivering wearing summer clothes. I should have worn my jeans…

My doctor who has known me now for almost 30 years wasn’t concerned. After all I’m a dietitian. She measured my waist circumference that faired out 1 cm less than last year – phew. My consolation prize…. although I was not feeling consoled.”You’re fine, don’t worry about it” she said, knowing full well I was stewing like those tomatoes me and my bella famiglia made a while back. She checked out my eyes, ears, nose, throat, blood pressure, heart rate, moles, the works… What’s the verdict? She’s “healthy as a horse” and still able to take on the world in her present state…. Amen Lord!

Well another annual physical has come and gone. As I like to say, “awareness is bliss” and coming clean with your reality is key. As I drove home I knew I was about as bloaty as any blowfish in those “few weeks of bloat” I described in Skinny on Slim accounting for a few pounds up. But I also know from sharing vacation photos that there’s been more than usual “eating, drinking and being merry” that has gone on in my life the past few months, with action shots of a blurry yours truly and her fork and another with a glass and another with a plate then repeated at the Italian place, the Mexican place, the fondue place, the steak house, the fancy spot with the wine pairings, the ball game, the car ride…. got the picture. Time to put a lid on it, don’t you think?

No I’m not going to pretend that all of this new found weight is simply muscle even though I upped my arm weights to 10 pounds and can feel the burn to my core as I weald them. I’m back to reality as I up the ante on my exercise regimen, yet again and get back to saying “whoooo horsey” to fullness cues earlier and more often. While I haven’t been counting calories lately but nutrients, boy they still all add up though and can sneak up on you, don’t they?

There’s a new movement out there called “healthy at every weight”. I like to call it a good excuse to avoid reality. For me it’s time to reread some of my own wisdom in Skinny on Slim as I dawn my ironside skinny jeans as my daily uniform as I scale back. If I buy in to this fakery Thanksgiving then Christmas will come and go and I will continue down this slippery slope into the elasticized waistband wasteland. Come spring I will emerge from my winter lair like a hibernating bear with an extra chin or two and a spare tire to boot. NO thank you.

For all of those healthy and stealthy tricks and to read about “awareness is bliss” and my steamy affair with my scale in my release Skinny on Slim find it on Amazon. Also available on i-Tunes, Kobo/Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Diesel and Sony.

Let’s keep it real together folks!
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Posted in Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Francy Rants, Miss Behavin' | No Comments »

Food Revolution Magic Stuffed Mushroom Caps

October 2nd, 2013 3 Comments Tags: ,

Gotta love the versatility of mushrooms. They’re perfect in various dishes like chili or tomato sauce, on pizza or as a meal accompaniment. I made these divine mushroom caps a few weeks back for a barbecue. They were certainly a hit and a snap to prepare.

Ingredient List
10 large mushroom caps
olive oil
minced garlic
fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
bread crumbs

You can prepare the first step hours in advance and let sit in the refrigerator before baking or make it all before serving. It’s up to you.

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the mushroom caps then remove the stems and set aside. Finely chop the clean stems. Mince a few cloves of garlic. In a frying pan add a dab of olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and prepared mushroom stems to the pan and cook in the oil until softened. Season with salt, pepper and parsley. Pour bread crumbs into the pan to absorb the moisture. Turn up the heat to medium high constantly moving the ingredients around the pan with a spatula. Continue this until the mixture is golden brown. Then remove from heat and allow to cool.

2) When the crumb mixture is cooled, using a spoon fill each mushroom cap then place each into a nonstick baking pan. Repeat until all caps are filled. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake until done 10-20 minutes. Serve hot.

These stuffed mushroom caps taste delish with any barbecued or roasted meat. Depending on the size of the mushroom caps make sure you cook to doneness, this is why there’s a wide window for the cooking time. Enjoy!

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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes | 3 Comments »