Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Buyer Beware: Don't Let Food Companies Fool You!

A recent study conducted at Cornell University suggests that even the most meticulous label-readers can be fooled by something as simple as a food label’s color.

In the study, 93 college students were asked to compare candy bars with equal calorie content but differing label colors (red or green) and decide which was healthier. The majority viewed the green-labeled candy bar as the healthier choice.

A similar online study was conducted with a follow-up question to gauge how health-conscious the participants were. Surprisingly, the more health-conscious the participant, the more likely they were to be fooled by the green label!

This study is very timely as manufacturers of packaged foods are choosing to display their “front-of-package” nutrition labeling in numerous hues of green, regardless of the product’s healthfulness.

So what can you do?

Avoid packaged foods when possible, but if you find yourself scanning a box, bag, or can, be aware of the tricks companies are utilizing to sway your decision. Read the ingredients and nutrition information and base your decision on these objective measures rather than the package decor or front-of-box claims.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Natural Remedy: Tumeric for Arthritis Pain

Along with lending curries their trademark yellow color, turmeric is also an intelligent choice for those wishing to improve the symptoms of arthritis. Its medicinal use dates back millenia in India, China and Indonesia.

Several research studies have shown that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritis properties. One such study showed a greater improvement in rheumatoid arthritis from curcumin than a common arthritis drug!

Turmeric is safe, has a mild flavor, and adds beautiful color to foods. Throw it in soups, stir-fries, or vegetable sautes. There’s no reason not to explore the many culinary and medicinal uses for this powerful spice!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Digital Spotlight: MapMyFitness Mobile App

MapMyFitness is one of the biggest and best of all fitness tracking apps. Plan, map, track, log, record your routes and workouts for all sorts of activities from walking, running and hiking to cycling. The app uses your smartphone’s GPS to create a map of your workout as you’re doing it and tell you valuable stats like speed, pace and total distance. Map your route ahead of time and the app will give you directions to follow during your workout in real time. Connect with friends and share you workouts with the entire MapMyFitness community.

All data syncs to the website where you can manage your stats in depth. I think it's pretty cool, so check it out!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Earlier this week, I suggested trying quinoa if you're looking for gluten-free options. Quinoa makes a great replacement for bulgar wheat or couscous to make traditional cold summer salads gluten-free and much healthier!

Adapted from Shiksa in the Kitchen, August 2011.

Place quinoa and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked but not mushy, then remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, combine parsley and mint, then add the cooked and cooled quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

155 Calories, 8g Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 15mg Sodium, 17g Carbohydrate, 2.5g Fiber, 4g Protein

  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ½ cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¾ cup chopped mint
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Need to Avoid Gluten? No Need to Worry!

More and more people are avoiding gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and related grains. An estimated 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease and an alarming 20 million suffer from gluten sensitivity. With these disorders, eating gluten can cause an array of health problems, from indigestion and bloating to anemia, osteoporosis, fatigue and depression. Unfortunately, the only treatment is eliminating gluten from the diet. (Click here to read more about celiac disease.)

Gluten is not just in bread, cereals, and pasta anymore. With modern food processing, it is being used as a thickener, stabilizer, and seasoning, finding its way into unsuspecting foods like soy sauce, pasta sauce and even candy.
So what can you eat on a gluten-free diet?

Avoiding gluten definitely requires some time for careful shopping, reading labels and planning meals. However, there are still plenty of delicious healthy options! Not only are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish all naturally gluten-free, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free whole grains as well. One trendy and easy option to try is quinoa: this light, fluffy grain is nutty in flavor, packed with protein and cooks in 10-15 minutes!   

From waffles to cookies, the selection of gluten-free products in the store is expanding rapidly. Remember that gluten-free does not necessarily mean healthy. A gluten-free cookie is still a cookie! Whether we are gluten-free or not, we all want to get our carbohydrates from unrefined whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.