Eight healthy veggies you can grow

By Jeff Yeager

bunches of asparagus at farmers market

I’ve confessed before that my enthusiasm for gardening usually dies on the vine long before the first cucumbers of summer are ready to harvest. I’m always looking for easy ways to satisfy my green thumb and, of course, ways to get the most broccolis for my gardening buck.

That’s why I’m a big fan of growing perennial vegetables in my garden — plant them once, and enjoy the fruits (well, actually, vegetables) of your labors for years to come.

I’ll always remember when the UPS man delivered a mysterious, rather dirty looking box to our new home the first spring we lived here. The box was carefully packed with damp sphagnum moss, the packaging material of choice for shipping the sacred Yeager Roots, a housewarming gift from my parent.

Other families pass down jewelry or antique furniture, but for the Yeager clan, the holy triumvirates of family heirlooms are root starts of asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb. They are the direct descendants of the original Yeager Roots, dating back at least to my great-grandparents, and — family legend has it — much, much further.

Although — unlike fruits — there aren’t too many vegetables that are perennials, many of the ones that do exist grow in a wide range of climates and, once established, are low-maintenance enough even for a lazy gardener like me. They’re also among the healthiest veggies for you, and they’re generally inexpensive to purchase, if you don’t come from a family with its own royal roots line. Here are my personal eight great perennial vegetables: [Read more...]

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The whole grain truth

In my business, I see a lot of diabetics or folks that just want to lose weight and want to know the best foods to eat. When it comes to grains, I always let them know that the less processed the better because whole grains provide more nutrients such as vitamins, minerals plus more fiber than ground grains. The following is an excellent article explaining the digestive benefits of whole grains — Lori

By Diana Mirkin
co-author of The Whole Grains Cookbook

When grains are processed into flour or cereals, the primary concern is loss of nutrients. However, if you grind your own grains or use products that are made from the whole grain without discarding anything, you get all or most of the nutrients of the original grain. But grains that have been broken apart in any way will be digested quicker. That’s a big disadvantage for diabetics and dieters.

Carbohydrates are long chains of sugars, and only single sugars can be absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream. The foods that cause rapid rise in blood sugar are those that are digested most quickly; the worst offenders are sugar and anything made from flour.

When you eat whole grains (seeds), it takes a long time to break apart the capsule, separate the carbohydrates from the fiber, and completely digest each grain. Your blood sugar rises slowly, stays slightly elevated for a long time (so you don’t feel hungry again soon after eating) and never reaches the high levels that come from sugar or flour. [Read more...]

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The Coffee Connoisseur’s question

I’m often asked if coffee is harmful or good for you. From my recent survey of some the latest research, coffee isn’t as harmful as once thought and can actually have some healthful benefits.

I’ve been a coffee drinker since my early 20s. I’ve typically enjoyed one or two cups a day with an occasional cup in the afternoon or evening for a pick-me-up. You coffee connoisseurs know what I’m talking about.

There have also been seasons where I stopped drinking coffee and decided to drink only herbal teas in order to reap their benefit. The point was to give my body a break from the caffeine. I have not discerned any noticeable difference in my level alertness or general health, however. I’m sure some would beg to differ.

Coffee has been found to have the B-vitamin niacin, magnesium, and is a rich source of antioxidants. (Manach, et al 2004) It is well known that antioxidants fight the harmful effects of free radicals and the cell damage they cause.

In a study by Dogasaki et al (2002), they found that brewed coffee possessed antibacterial activities exhibited by certain acids such as caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid. In a recent meta-analysis regarding coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart disease, the researchers concluded that their findings did not support the hypothesis that drinking coffee increases the long-term risk of heart disease.

They also found that coffee consumption in moderation was associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease in women. (Jiang-nan, et al 2009). [Read more...]

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Do the math, prevent the gain

Here is a simple article to help you balance your bread intake with your weight management goals. You don’t need a genius IQ to manage this topic. Just some self-discipline since good bread is SO good to the taste.

Johns Hopkins University

By Margaret Furtado, M.S., R.D. 

Those super-heavy, “all-natural” loaves of bread may look and sound like they’re healthy, but their density signals that they probably contain more calories than most other loaves. Plus, they’re typically made with simple sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and maltose that will add even more calories.

If you’re watching your weight and wondering, “Can I eat bread?”–don’t despair. I’m here to tell you that you really can have your bread and eat it too without automatically putting on weight. There’s a simple rule–the weight and starch connection–that will help you choose a loaf wisely.

What’s the weight and starch connection?  [Read more...]

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Junk food alters gut bacteria in one day

What type of microbacteria are lurking in your gut? The following article by Dr. Gabe Mirkin of www.DrMirkin.com demonstrates amazing evidence that a diet consisting of high sugar, high fat and processed foods significantly affects our bacterial gut health. This could be one of the pieces of the puzzle in explaining the mystery of why many seekers of weight loss struggle to lose the pounds even when they eat less.

After just one day of switching from a plant-based diet to a high-fat-and-sugar diet, mice with human intestinal bacteria developed bacteria associated with obesity in humans, and soon became grossly obese (Science Translational Medicine, November 11, 2009)

Dr. Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St Louis first showed that certain types of bacteria in the human intestinal tract can break down food more efficiently and help you absorb a greater percentage of calories from the food that you eat. He also showed that humans whose intestinal tracts are dominated by these bacteria tend to be overweight. [Read more...]

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Beans do more than you think

One thing I’ll never forget and often share with clients is a line from one of my college professors. She would always say, “A day without a bean is a bad day.” Our student dietetic association even used this line for our T-shirts!

Tip of the week — A New Twist on an Old Saying

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! The more you eat, the more you … may reduce your cholesterol.

It may not be as catchy as the popular children’s rhyme, but beans (that are actually vegetables) may indeed be magical for your health. Rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, folate and iron, popular dried beans include black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pink beans and pinto beans.

The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 3 cups of dried beans per week to reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 16 percent. Most Americans eat about a third of this amount. Recent research shows eating one-half cup of pinto beans daily can reduce serum cholesterol by 8 percent.

Full of complex carbohydrates yet fat-free, beans can play a role in weight management by making you feel full without a lot of calories.

Beans are a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, with 6-8 grams in a half-cup. They promote a healthy digestive tract, may reduce your risk of some types of cancer and can help control diabetes and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Produced by American Dietary Association

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Recipes for success: Healthy wings

The fall sports season is here in full force and with it comes greasy hot wings and a range of fried foods. Try something different for your favorite game with this healthy twist on a game time favorite suggested by the American Institute for Cancer Research.  Hot sauce and creamy dressing top this chicken and potato-based recipe, but they don’t drive up the fat totals like breaded wings.

BuffaloChickenSaladBuffalo Chicken Salad

2 medium red or white potatoes
2 1/2 cups diced skinless roast chicken breast, in 1″ pieces
1 large celery rib, cut in 3/4″ pieces
1/2 cup diced red onion
4 inch piece seedless cucumber, peeled
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp. canola-based mayonnaise
5-6 drops hot sauce
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup (1 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
Place potatoes in deep saucepan and cover to a depth of 2 inches with cold water. Cook potatoes over medium-high heat until thin knife easily penetrates center of potatoes, about 15 minutes. Drain and set potatoes aside until cool enough to handle. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Place potatoes in mixing bowl. Add chicken, celery and onion. Cut cucumber lengthwise into 4 pieces. Cut each piece crosswise into 3/4-inch chunks and add to salad.

For dressing, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, hot sauce, black pepper and salt. Pour dressing over salad and toss with fork to combine.

On serving plate, arrange bed of lettuce. Mound salad on top of lettuce. Sprinkle on blue cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 250 calories, 8 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat), 14 g. carbohydrate,
31 g. protein, 2 g. dietary fiber, 330 mg. sodium.

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Key health care reform? Cut obesity

By Karen Pallarito
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 — A diverse alliance of payer, provider and consumer organizations, girded by two former U.S. Surgeons General, on Wednesday urged policymakers to address the nation’s obesity epidemic as part of federal health care reform legislation.

Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, whose 2001 report on obesity recognized the problem as an “epidemic,” emphasized the need to invest in health promotion and disease prevention, particularly for the health of the nation’s youth.

“We are in essence addicting our children to sedentary lifestyles; we’re addicting them to high-salt, high-sweet, high-fat diets,” he said, “and then we pay for it later on when they come to us with cancer, heart disease, [and] diabetes.” [Read more...]

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Pass this quiz for a longer life

chicken wrap
Heart Healthy Quiz: How Much Do You Know?

1. Which of the following foods is not specifically linked to a reduced risk of heart disease?
a. Garlic
b. Oats
c. Corn
d. Grape juice
e. Nuts

2. The fiber in which of the following foods will lead to a reduction of blood cholesterol?
a. Whole-grain bread
b. Brown rice
c. Bran cereal
d. Carrots
e. Oats

3. What percentage of total deaths in the United States is linked to heart disease?
a. 20%
b. 30%
c. 40%
d. 50%
e. 60% [Read more...]

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‘Supersize me!’ – a major wake-up call

Few movies have opened as many eyes about health habits as has the movie Supersize me! I’ve encouraged many people to watch this frightening account of a young man who ate nothing but fast food for 30 days and nearly died.

I continue to be shocked at the number of people who eat poor-quality fast food, seemingly oblivious to the fact that years of life expectancy are likely melting away as they consume grease-laden, salt-permeated and synthetics-laced food.

You can watch the movie in the YouTube window below. Please encourage others to watch this movie. Perhaps some will change their eating habits and enjoy longer lives as a result.
YouTube Preview Image

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