In the era of Click list, Instacart and Amazon delivery, I am still an old time shopper. The grocery store is a playground for food geeks like me. I like to pick out my own produce, see what’s new on the shelves, talk to the guy stocking veggies and taste samples when they’re out.
I recently provided a grocery tour for a lovely couple that had some health issues. She has Crohn’s and her husband suffered a stroke a few months ago. Their daughter-in-law bought them a tour for Christmas. What a great gift of health! I enjoyed asking them questions about how they shop and cook and what information would be most helpful. Below are some of the questions I answered for them:
What does the % Daily Value mean on a label? The % Daily Value (DV) refers to the % of nutrient in the food you are eating, compared to the amount you need for an entire day. All food labels are based on a 2000 calorie diet. If a nutrient contains 5% or less of a nutrient, it is LOW in that nutrient. If it contains 20% or more of a nutrient, it is HIGH in that nutrient. A food containing 3% of the DV for fat is low in fat. A food containing 20% of the DV for saturated fat is high in saturated fat.
How do I know a food is low fat? Low-fat foods contain 3 grams of fat or less for every 100 calories. For example, if a food has 300 calories, it should contain 9 total grams of fat or less. There are 9 calories for every gram of fat. A low-fat food contains 30% or less of calories from fat. When buying meat (beef, poultry), look for 90% lean or higher. Limit saturated and trans fat when possible. Saturated and trans fat are solid at room temperature. Low fat food: Calories: 200/serving, fat grams 6/serving. 6 x 9/200 = 54/200 = 27% fat.
What is considered a low sodium food?
A low sodium food will have 140 mg of sodium per serving or less. If a produce has 5% or less of the daily value (DV) of a nutrient, it is low in that nutrient. Anything above 20% of the DV on the food label is high sodium (most frozen meals, canned soup, sauce or beans, processed meats, etc). Individuals with hypertension, over 50 or African American are advised to consume no more than 1500 mg sodium per day,
How much fiber should I eat? Women need 25-30 grams/day and men ~38-40/day. How much should be in my breakfast (or snack) cereal? Look for 5 or more grams of fiber/serving of cereal and ideally < 5-7 grams of sugar/serving. You can blend cereals together to reduce sugar.
How much sugar should I have in my diet? Less is best! Your sugar ‘allowance’ should be no more than 10% of calories consumed. For a 2000 calorie diet, 10% is 200 calories or 50 grams of sugar/day (200/4 calories/gram = 50 grams). There is 1 tsp of sugar for every 4 grams of sugar.
How can I tell if a grain is a ‘whole’ grain’? Look for the word WHOLE in the ingredients. If it is made with refined or enriched flour, it is not whole. If the bread is white, but has a significant amount of fiber, it is likely enriched with non-whole fibers such as chicory root, cellulose, inulin or others. These types of fibers can produce more bacteria in your gut, which may lead to gas and bloating.
Should I buy organic? Organic fruits and vegetables may still have pesticides. Animals that are raised organically will not be exposed to added hormones or antibiotics and are often grass fed, VS grain fed. The produce below may be higher in pesticides, but still meets FDA standards for pesticide content. Eating more produce is more important than buying organic. Check out www.safefruitsandveggies for pesticide content
Apples Cherries Peaches Nectarines
Bell peppers Grapes (imported) Pears Spinach
Celery Lettuce Potatoes Strawberries
If you’re interested in a store tour with me or for a gift, contact me@ email@example.com
Holiday shopping and stress have already begun! While it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hooplah, it’s important to take time for yourself. I was recently interviewed by the Family Success Consortium to provide some tips on self care this time of year. Read all their tips in the link below:
Now that are bellies have been filled with Thanksgiving favorites (and leftovers) and our trunks are full of Black Friday and Cyber Monday gifts, it’s time to think of those less fortunate. Giving Tuesday (AKA Give Back Tuesday) began in 2012. It was started as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. I find it ironic that it’s dubbed “post Thanksgiving” since many shopping deals begin ON Thanksgiving. I prefer to celebrate the holiday with family and not shopping, but I digress.
There are many ways of giving back today. Some people may choose to donate to a charity that means something to them like the Alzheimer’s Association and Diabetes Association. If you can’t afford to donate to charities, there are multiple ways to support those in need. Here are just a few:
- Go through your closets and donate coats you no longer wear to Salvation Army, Goodwill or St. Vincent De Paul. You can find locations easily here: https://www.onewarmcoat.org/donatecoats/
- Find a drop box location for used clothing. http://www.clothingpickupatl.com/drop-box-locations.aspx
- Donate peanut butter, canned goods or toiletries to a local food pantry of the Free Store Food Bank. https://freestorefoodbank.org/
- Give away extra produce that you aren’t going to eat or will spoil to www.ampleharvest.org
- Find a mini People’s Pantry Cincy Pantry and fill it with feminine products that others can’t afford. facebook.com/peoplespantrycincy/
Whatever you decide to give back, donate with dignity. Just because someone cannot afford what you have does not mean they should receive items that are lesser than. A coat, dress or shoes with holes in them is not a desirable item to anyone. Expired or opened food is not safe to give away. Think of what you’d like to be provided if you were in need. Keep it simple. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Get ready for turkey, stuffing and pie! People traditionally see this as a time for family, friends and food, which is exactly what it’s for. If you’re worried about the big splurge, don’t be. In the grand scheme of things, it is one day. AND, you don’t have to stuff yourself just because seconds of pecan pie are offered. Here are a few tips for a more comfortable holiday:
- Do eat throughout the day before dinner. If you show up ravenous, you’re more likely to a. get drunk too fast on mulled cider or wine or b. overeat. Eat lighter fare before you show up such as veggies and hummus, fruit and yogurt or a bowl of steel cut oats w/chopped nuts.
- Drink plenty of water. Our urge to drink declines in colder months, so we’re more likely to be dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, crankiness and overeating. Aim for 16 oz. of water (about the size of a plastic bottle) with each meal and more if you’re exercising.
- Move it. Don’t view exercise as punishment or “work” in order to pig out. See it as taking time for yourself, improving your fitness, lifting your mood, building strength. Start a holiday tradition of a family walk or hike. Do some yoga. Exercise is not just for “burning calories”, though this certainly won’t hurt during the holidays.
- Be a food snob. I know exactly what store bought pumpkin pie tastes like, so I skip it. You can have nuts or cheese cubes as appetizers at any party you attend any other time of the year. Splurge on the foods you’ll really enjoy and pass on the rest.
- Don’t waste food. Turkey, ham and dessert freeze well. Cranberry jello mold? Not so much, but you can mix it into Greek yogurt for breakfast! Turn mashed potatoes into potato soup. Make sweet potato bread from leftover casserole.
- Give back. If you’ve got too many cans or boxes of things you won’t use, donate them to a local food pantry or People’s Pantry Cincy. Toiletries from your travel hotels also welcome! Locations can be found at facebook.com/peoplespantrycincy/
Several studies have shown that being overweight or obese is linked with risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Even a 5-10% reduction in weight can prevent the development and aid in the control of hypertension and diabetes as well as lowering blood cholesterol. 1 Beyond trimming your weight and waistline, there’s an even more important benefit to reducing calorie intake. New research out of Duke University in Durham suggests that biological aging can be stalled with calorie restriction. Biological aging, according to the study author Daniel Belsky, is “the gradual and progressive deterioration of systems in the body that occurs with advancing chronological age”. Belsky believes if biological aging can be slowed, it may help to prevent or delay chronic age-related illnesses and disabilities.2
The scientists at Duke University in Durham evaluated a total of 220 subjects over 2 years-145 who reduced calorie intake by 12% compared with 75 controls who did not limit calorie intake. The average biological age of both groups was close to 38 years. Readings that included total cholesterol, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels were used to calculate biological age.2
In the calorie-restricted group, biological age increased by an average of .11 years each year compared to .71 years in the control group, over a two year follow up. This was statistically significant according to the researchers. Previous studies have shown that calorie restriction slows aging in worms, flies and mice. This was the first human study to test if calorie restriction can reduce measured biological aging in a randomized control study. The authors believe this study can serve as a model for developing and testing treatment designed to copy the effects of calorie restriction to delay or prevent debilitating diseases.2
In 2014, the Obesity Society put out an official statement to raise awareness of the availability and consumption of energy-dense food contributing to weight gain and obesity. Foods high in energy include high sugar foods like soda, ice cream and high calorie desserts as well as fried foods, large servings of meat and full fat cheese. A diet containing foods rich in nutrients such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources and low-fat dairy products can help support weight management efforts. The Obesity Society urges companies to test and market products that are lower in calories that will help consumers with weight management. The position paper can be found at: http://www.obesity.org/publications/energy-density-of-foods-influences-satiety-a-total-caloric-intake.htm. 3
1. Klein, Samuel. Effects of Moderate and Subsequent Progressive Weight Loss on Metabolic Function and Adipose Tissue Biology in Humans with Obesity. Cell Metabolism, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.02.005
2. Belsky, Dan W., Huffman, Kim, Pieper, Carl, Shalev, Idan, Kraus, William. Change in the Rate of Biological Aging in Response to Caloric Restriction: CALERIE Biobank Analysis. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci glx096. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glx096 Published:22 May 2017
3. Shu Wen Ng, Barry M. Popkin. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Pledge. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2014; 47 (4): 520 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.05.030
When most people hear the word “inflammation”, they likely think of pain, redness and swelling with conditions such as arthritis or infection that you can readily observe in the person that is suffering. However, chronic inflammation on the inside of tissues may be invisible, but may be deadly as it’s linked with heart disease, dementia, diabetes and cancer. 1
In a recent study of over 68,200 men and women aged 45 to 83 years that were monitored for 16 years, subjects that ate an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% lower risk of dying from any cause (including cardiovascular disease and cancer) compared to subjects who did not follow the diet as closely. Participants who smoked but ate an anti-inflammatory diet still reaped some of the benefits in comparison to smokers that did not follow the diet. 2
An anti-inflammatory diet is similar to a Mediterranean diet, which is plant-based and includes foods that help to prevent or reduce cellular inflammation. Fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals as well as healthy fats like canola oil and nuts are considered anti-inflammatory. Moderate consumption of low-fat cheese, beer and wine are also considered part of an anti-inflammatory diet as well. Processed and unprocessed red meat, organ meat, chips and soda are considered pro-inflammatory. These foods should be limited in our diets as much as possible. 1,2
The main author of the study, associate professor Dr. Joanna Kaluza at Poland’s Warsaw University of Life Sciences notes, “Our dose-response analysis showed that even partial adherence to the anti-inflammatory diet may provide a health benefit,”. 2
Here are simple tips to help follow an anti-inflammatory diet:
- Switch from soda to decaffeinated tea or water
- Snack on almonds or other nuts in place of chips, candy or cookies
- Swap white breads and cereals with 100% whole grain bread, steel cut oats, shredded wheat and other high fiber grains like farro, quinoa or bulgur
- Include fruits and vegetables at meals. Choose a variety of seasonal, colorful produce daily like kale, broccoli, berries, apples, melon and spinach.
- Add a few servings of fish, beans or lentils in place of red meat or fried meats
- Switch from full fat to low-fat dairy products
- Drink beer or wine in moderation- 1 drink/day for women, 2 drinks/day for men or less
- Use liquid oil such as corn, canola or olive oil in place of butter, lard or shortening
- Kaluza, N. Håkansson, H. R. Harris, N. Orsini, K. Michaëlsson, A. Wolk. Influence of anti-inflammatory diet and smoking on mortality and survival in men and women: two prospective cohort studies. Journal of Internal Medicine, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/joim.12823