Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s no such thing as bad cake”? My husband would beg to differ. A perfectionist by nature, he must follow a recipe to a tee for fear of failure. Yesterday was a perfect example. He baked a two-layer cake for my birthday, but when he removed them from the oven, he quickly realized he’d forgotten baking soda. In a panic, he whipped up two more layers for my cake before our friends showed up to celebrate. How sweet is that? Doubly sweet!
We all make mistakes. We write down the wrong appointment. time. We miss answers to test questions. We forget ingredients. Perhaps we’re trying to follow a perfect eating plan and we “screw up” and have a cookie? Should that stop us from continuing to eat healthy again? I sure hope not.
When you find yourself in a self-depreciating mode of “mistakes”, try to have grace and forgive yourself. If you’ve upset someone close to you, would you stop spending time with them? If you made a mistake at your job, would you quit? Probably not.
Take the same approach to your eating habits. Rather than beating yourself up over a “forbidden” food eaten, remember that FOOD IS FOR EATING. It’s to be shared, enjoyed, savored. it’s not meant to leave you with feelings of guilt or shame. I’m not sure when we will eat the “cake failure” in the freezer, but it will serve as a reminder that no one and no diet is perfect. And that, is perfectly OK.
Got gluten? You should. A recent study suggests that going “gluten-free” may raise your risk for Type 2 diabetes. The diet, meant for a small population of individuals who have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, became popular despite lack of evidence that it was healthy for most people. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley that gives baked goods their texture. A small percentage of people with celiac disease may also need to avoid oats due to a protein sensitivity.
According to Dr. Geng Zong from the Harvard University Dept. of Nutrition T.H. Chan School of Public Health, gluten-free foods are often less nutritious because they lack dietary fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. They tend to be more expensive. His study looked at health effects of a gluten-free diet on subjects that did not medically need to follow one. In a long term longitudinal study, scientists observed that most subjects consumed 12 grams of gluten or less per day. In those that consumed higher amounts of gluten, the risk of type 2 diabetes over a 30-year span, was lower. Cereal fiber intake was lower in subjects on a gluten-free diet, which is important to note as it is a protective component for development of type 2 diabetes. After accounting for the effect of cereal fiber, those in the highest 20% of gluten ingestion experienced a 13% lower risk of diabetes development than those with the lowest intake of gluten (< 4 grams).
In three other large, long term Nurse’s Health studies (NHS and NHS II) and the Health Professionals follow up study, gluten intake was gathered using food frequency questionnaires. The average gluten intake was between 5.8 to 7.1 grams per day, which came primarily from pretzels, bread, pizza, muffins, cereal and pasta. Data was observational as subjects self-reported their gluten intake. In over 4.24 million person years of follow up over 1984-1990 to 2010-2013, 15,947 cases of Type 2 diabetes were identified. Gluten-free diets were not popular at the time, so information on gluten abstainers was not available.
The bottom line is that if you don’t need a gluten-free diet, don’t follow it. Include gluten-containing, high fiber, whole grains in your diet daily. The US Dietary Guidelines advise 20-25 grams of dietary fiber per day for women and 35-38 grams per day for men. Below is a list of whole grains and their fiber content:
Barley (1/2 cup cooked): 3.1 grams
Bran cereal (3/4 cup): 5.9 grams
Brown rice (1/2 cup cooked): 2 grams
Bulgur (1/2 cup cooked): 4.1 grams
Oatmeal (1/2 cup cooked): 4.1 grams
Rye bread (1 slice): 1.5 grams
Quinoa (1/2 cup cooked): 2.75 grams
Whole wheat bread (1 slice): 3 grams
Whole grain pasta (1/2 cup cooked): 5-6 grams
Geng Zong, Ph.D., research fellow, department of nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; Lauri Wright, Ph.D., R.D.N., spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and director, doctorate in clinical nutrition program, University of North Florida, Jacksonville; March 9, 2017 presentation, American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions, Portland, Ore.
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It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I lost my brother-in-law, Craig. Craig actually hadn’t married my sister yet, but they were engaged to be married and we’d spent enough time with him to be “family” to me. Craig was one of these guys you immediately liked. He had a hearty laugh, a whip-smart sense of humor and knew his way around the kitchen. He got his greatest joy from cooking, eating, traveling and talking about food and beer, which makes the type of cancer he had all the more cruel.
Craig was diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 intestinal cancer in the winter of 2016. He never told us what stage he had, but I knew it was bad when he told me he would do the chemo, knowing it was palliative only. For a while, you’d never know he was sick. While I didn’t see him daily (he lived in Youngstown with my sister), he’d email or FB message me about his treatments. I felt a special bond to him at this time since he trusted me with medical and nutritional questions given my previous employment in critical care. He told me when he’d felt tired or lacked energy, but he never lost his hair and didn’t start losing weight for several months.
He spent the last 6 months of his life like anyone dying should. He and my sister traveled where they could, visited his sons in Chicago and Pittsburgh and came down to see my family over the 4th of July holiday. It was then when I realized how sick he was. He’d lost a LOT of weight and was unable to eat much of anything. I wanted so badly to show him one last taste of Cincinnati- Findlay Market, Terry’s Turf Club, Madtree Brewing- and we did all of it. He was such a good sport, despite not being able to eat and drink as much as he’d used to. I’m so grateful for that last visit with him.
Craig eventually needed to go on IV nutrition because the cancer had grown too much, he’d lost a lot of weight and his digestion was severely affected. He and my sister relied on me for information as I used to advise doctors on how to order IV nutrition when I worked in a hospital. I knew he was really malnourished and that his gut function would likely not come back. I last saw him on Sunday, October 1. He was weak, nauseous and exhausted. Sadly, he committed suicide October 2. I look back and wonder what I could have done to help him. Could I have suggested Hospice sooner? Could we have talked about his pain control more? It’s heart breaking to know this is how his life ended and that my sister had to find him this way. We are still processing it. Never take family for granted.
So while this post was NOT very diet-related, here are a few tips to protect your gut:
- Get a colonoscopy if you’ve got a family history of cancer or when you turn 50. Yes, the prep is a “pain in the ass”, but having colon cancer is much worse. Pay attention to changes in stool habits- constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.
- Eat more plants. Fiber is really on your side here. Based meals around more vegetables and fruit- especially dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Eat berries, apples, pears and melon for fiber and cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
- Eat whole grains. Research is finding that younger people are developing GI cancers sooner and there is question if it’s related to the “anti-carb” phase that’s so popular. What most people don’t realize is that whole grains are protective against disease. Choose steel cut oats, 100% whole wheat bread, bran cereal and shredded wheat, bulgur, quinoa, barley, brown rice, farro in place of processed grains.
- Limit alcohol. We all love a good beer or glass of wine, but excessive alcohol consumption is linked with several types of cancer. Be moderate- one drink/day (or less) for women and two or less per day for men.
- Limit red meat and avoid processed meats. Consumption of beef, pork, lamb, sausage, bacon, hot dogs, brats and mets are linked with increased risk of colon and other gastrointestinal cancers. Enjoy fish and chicken as well as meat-less protein sources such as beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh or other vegetable-based foods.
- Stay active. Regular exercise may help you lose unwanted pounds, which in turn helps reduce your risk of cancer. Exercise also improves immunity to prevent disease.
You know you’re a nerd when you’re looking forward to standing outside for 5 hours in the heat to sell T shirts. I never thought I’d enjoy giving up a weekend day to do a tent show, but I have drunk the kool-aid. I don’t exactly feel like an “artist” at these shows. I really don’t have artistic talent. Words are my muse. Nonetheless, I get a charge when I meet people that get my humor and buy my food pun shirts.
Part of my reason for selling shirts is to raise money for food insecurity. I am very concerned about those in Cincinnati that go hungry and don’t have access to nutritious foods on a regular basis. I am donating 10% of sales to Produce Perks- a program that helps low income individuals purchase twice as much produce at Farmer’s markets and Healthy Harvest Mobile markets around the city. For more information, check out the link: https://produceperks.org/
If you’re downtown this weekend, come and visit me! I’ll have my new “Happy Guactober” and “This. Is. The. Wurst” available- just in time for Oktoberfest! For more styles, sizes and designs, check out my shop page: https://soundbitesnutrition.com/shop
Some people are really crafty. They can take pipe cleaners and make them into dolls. Or sew pillow cases or paint beautiful pictures. I’m not one of these people. My craft is verbal. Words are my medium. I love games at baby showers where you have to come up with as many words as possible using the future baby’s name. It’s no wonder I started a line of food pun T shirts. With all the wacky fad diets out there, I honestly want people to take food a wee bit less seriously. My Ts are meant to start a conversation. Whether that is about food or life, it doesn’t matter. I just want people to smile when they see them.
I am lucky to be married to one of those crafty people. My husband Ryan bakes bread, paints pictures and has a talent for graphic design to boot. Near Valentine’s Day, I asked him for an “Olive you” T design and he made it. https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/unisex-jersey-short-sleeve-tee-3/
I’ve been racking my brain for a pun with avocados. With fall and Halloween around the corner, we made “Happy Guactober”. The shirt just makes me giggle when I see it! I made it long sleeved, but am able to order short-sleeved shirts if desired through print on demand. This design is not yet available on my web site.
Now through Aug 31, I’ll be taking pre-orders for Happy Guactober Ts. Once I have at least 10 orders, the shirts will be printed and ready for distribution by mid September. They are locally printed at DIY in Walnut Hills at Essex Studios. If interested, please email me your size and send payment via https://www.paypal.com to email@example.com for $30. There’s lots more styles, sizes and colors on my shop page: https://soundbitesnutrition.com/shop