Dear Food Diary – 30/11/11

Today, Wednesday, I ate:

Breakfast: 8AM
2 poached eggs, free range
2 mushrooms, large, button, raw
1 spoonful of mashed avocado
Water
Probiotics
Fish oil
Chromium

Lunch: 1:45PM
1/2 kangaroo burger
Spinach, raw
Sauteed onions
Water

Snack: 4PM
Coconut cream, organic
15 blueberries, fresh
1 spoonful of sunbutter

Exercise: 5 mile walk

Dinner: 7:15PM
Salmon, wild
Salt and pepper, olive oil
Raw mushrooms

What do you think of this day of intake? Personally, I think I did pretty well. I could have drank more water and reduced the salt on the salmon and morning eggs. Is reading a dietitian’s daily intake helpful for you?

Cheers to you and good health!

Dear Food Diary

Today, 29/11/11, I ate…

Breakfast: 9AM
1/2 medium banana
Sunbutter

I woke up around 6:30AM but I was not at all hungry. Those that are reading this and keep up with nutrition advice may be shocked I did not eat something within a 30 minute window of waking up. Contrary to popular belief there is no reason we need to eat within 30 minutes or immediately after waking up. We should not even be restricted to 3 square meals a day. We should eat when we are hungry and some research suggests eating during daylight hours only.

As you can see in my log, I have been doing so but once I have a constant schedule and have stable, consistent blood sugars and my sleep is good I will be more tuned into my hunger signals and may not follow the consistent pattern you have been seeing in the past few food logs. Have you ever heard of Intermittent Fasting? This is the direction I intend to go. I have done it in the past and helps with insulin sensitivity and more.

Exercise: 4 mile walk

Lunch: 12:30PM
Vegetable juice (beets, carrot, celery, lemon, ginger, mint)
1 hard boiled egg
ham, deli
Water

Snack: 3PM
Almond butter (Geesh, I love this stuff)
Never could you guess I am trying to avoid nuts and seeds. Nuts are my candy.

Dinner: 5:45PM
Kangaroo burger with cheese
Mashed avocado

Cheese is not considered paleo and with this craving I once again learned I should always steer clear of dairy. For one reason or another, dairy always exasperates my blood sugar. The above dinner is a low carbohydrate meal but my post meal blood sugar was abnormally high. Can anyone else relate to this occurrence? Some of the more well known paleo medical folks, such as Rob Woff, suggest that anyone with an auto immune disease should not consume dairy because of the inflammation it causes. 

Till next time. Cheers to you and good health!

Dear Food Diary

Today, 17/11/11, I ate….

Breakfast:
2 poached eggs
Sauteed mushrooms, olive oil
Salt and pepper
Water
Multivitamin
Allergy medicine

Lunch:
Homade grassfed cilantro and chili pepper
Leftover spring salad, lemon
Mini avocado
3 black olives

Exercise: 4 mile walk

Snack:
20 fresh blueberries over peach jello

Dinner:
Grilled Hoki white fish
Sauteed cabbage, seasonings, sesame oil
Water
Probiotics
Magnesium Citrate

A few sips of Extra Dry Cider

Is there anything else you would like me to include in my food diary? Is this what your day looks like? Anything you want to suggest?

Cheers to you and good health!

Australian Research: Inflammation

Eating to beat inflammation

The worry of wagyu … compared to kangaroo, it may trigger inflammation, say researchers.

Before you bite into a wagyu burger here’s some food for thought. Last year when Australian researchers looked at how the body reacts after either a meal of kangaroo or wagyu beef there was an intriguing difference: compared to the kangaroo, the wagyu meal appeared to prod the immune system into action, triggering the release of inflammatory chemicals.

Why bother comparing kangaroo with wagyu?

“Because kangaroo mimics the kind of wild meat that humans ate for thousands of years,” explains Dr Gary Egger, Professor of Lifestyle Medicine at Lismore’s Southern Cross University, and one of the researchers. “It’s meat from lean animals that run around and eat grass. Wagyu on the other hand is relatively new to the food supply and an example of modern meat from modern animals that are less active and often fed on grain.”

It’s too soon to say whether this might matter to our health, but the ‘roo versus wagyu experiment is the first of more proposed studies at Southern Cross University and the Australasian Research Institute to see if food with a high ‘Human Interference Factor’ is fuelling chronic inflammation, a problem now linked to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases including asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and possibly cancer. Other examples of old versus new foods on the researchers’ list are brown rice versus refined white rice, whole soybean flour versus processed soy isolate, and wholegrain flour versus white.

Inflammation is the immune system’s defence mechanism – and when it erupts on injured skin with redness and swelling it’s a sign that that your body’s repairing itself. But scientists now think there’s also a kind of low level inflammation smouldering inside the body that isn’t so healthy. Unlike the acute inflammation that helps heal a wound, chronic inflammation doesn’t switch off – and Egger thinks our modern lifestyle is the reason why.

Eating a western diet, stress, smoking, inactivity and skimping on sleep, have all been linked to chronic inflammation. And while all these habits have been part and parcel of industrialised societies for years, in the big picture of human evolution they’re new assaults on the body – so our immune system treats them like foreign invaders, he says.

“Modern lifestyles seem enough to cause an inflammatory reaction – it’s as if the immune system is programmed to react to activities in the same way as it does to microbes, but at a lower more chronic level,” Egger explains.

One example of where the immune system gets it wrong is in the blood vessels where it tries to defend the arteries against ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, but in doing so ends up thickening the artery walls – and contributing to hardened arteries.

So how can we live in an industrialised world and still keep inflammation at bay?

“Getting more sleep is part of it. Humans have never had such short sleep cycles as we do now,” Garry Egger points out. “We’re also walking about 15 kilometres less each day than we did 150 years ago. We can’t go back to doing that so we need to have institutionalised exercise to make up for it.”

We also need to choose foods that are less likely to provoke inflammation, and a number of studies point to a traditional Mediterranean style diet – big on plant foods and including olive oil, fish and nuts – as having an anti- inflammatory effect. Australian research from the University of Sydney reported earlier this year backs up the anti-inflammatory benefit of nuts – those who ate the most nuts had a 40 per cent reduced risk of dying from an inflammatory disease, according to data from the Blue Mountains Study, a long running study of residents in the Blue Mountains.

The kind of carbs we eat matters too. Garry Egger suggests that lowering inflammation is another argument for low GI carbohydrates which are generally anti-inflammatory – there’s some evidence that blood sugar spikes from rapidly digested high GI carbs can trigger inflammatory chemicals.

Herbs!

This article was one of those articles that is too good not to post. Enjoy!

6 Common Herbs and Why You Should Eat Them

(Hint: They Don’t Just Taste Good)

We typically think of culinary herbs as useful flavorants. They round out flavor profiles, add complexity to otherwise basic dishes, meld with other herbs to form novel taste compounds that you can’t quite place and cannot be replicated with any other combination, and, used with a subtle, skilled hand, simply make food taste incredible. Oh, and like most seemingly inconsequential things people have been adding to food for thousands of years, they also happen to have some fascinating health benefits. Huh – how about that? Things that taste good and have a long and storied culinary history might also be good for you? Amazing how that works out!

Let’s get down to it.

Rosemary

Rosemary goes well with just about anything, in my experience, which is odd, because it’s one of the most pungent, powerful herbs in existence. Some herbs just kinda linger in the background, maybe adding a slight change to the bouquet of a dish but never really distinguishing themselves, but when rosemary’s around, you know it. You can’t avoid it. Heck, even walking around most neighborhoods you’re liable to find a massive rosemary bush trying to evolve into a rosemary tree.

What’s so great about rosemary, besides the flavor and smell? Rosemary-infused olive oil displayed the strongest resistance to oxidative damage and rancidity, beating out herbs such as thyme, lemon, and basil (although both thyme and lemon improved stability, too). In healthy volunteers, oral rosemary extract improved endothelial dysfunction (perhaps due to up-regulation of glutathione, eh?). Rosemary extract also improved the oxidative stability of butter, and it inhibited the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (a potential carcinogen) in fried beef patties.

Thyme

Rosemary’s great, but I find it even greater with a bit of thyme involved. If you have the time, I’d definitely use both in concert. Okay, that was bad; I apologize.

Thyme, however, is worth using, awful jokes aside. I mean, what else but thyme could stave off the oxidative damage done to corn oil under deep-frying conditions for a couple extra hours? Sure, you’re not eating corn oil, but that same lipid-stabilizing accumen would probably work awfully well for, say, butter. And for those who enjoy the classic rosemary/thyme/garlic rub on your lamb, keep an eye out for lamb borne to thyme-fed pregnant ewes, which exhibits greater oxidative stability, lower bacterial counts, and better color. No word on whether it influences taste.

Sage

Sage is under appreciated. Brits have always used it in their cooking, and Mom probably uses it to season her turkey stuffing, but that’s about it. I like it, but I’ll admit that it can be overpowering; you only need a pinch, or a few leaves, meaning most of the bunch you bought for $2 at the market goes to waste. One solution is to grow your own. Another is to freeze or dry the leftovers. Either way, it’s worth using on poultry and fatty cuts of meat (think big juicy roasts).

Sage is rich with rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant found in many common culinary herbs that (surprise, surprise) protects fats against oxidative damage. In humans who drank sage tea for several weeks, endogenous antioxidant defenses were up-regulated and the lipid profile was improved (HDL increase). Perhaps most interestingly, a sage extract was used to improve memory and attention in healthy older subjects. It also seems to work on memory in healthy younger subjects, too.

Mint

Everyone loves something about mint, in my experience. They may hate the classic spearmint, but love peppermint (a hybrid of spearmint and watermint). They may hate the taste, but love the smell (or vise versa). They might be scared of Santa and his creepy elves, but the allure of the candy cane draws them to his expansive lap. They may hate getting hair cuts, but cannot resist the hypnotic swirl of the barber’s pole.

As for its health benefits, peppermint oil was more effective than placebo at treating irritable bowel syndrome, a meta-analysis of the clinical literature found, and it was equally effective as pharmaceutical treatments. Also, though it was a very brief trial, spearmint leaf tea showed promise as an anti-androgen treatment for hirsutism (abnormal hairiness) in polycystic ovarian syndrome in female subjects.

Basil

Ah, basil. Pesto uses it. Thai cooks will sometimes stir-fry it. I like nibbling on raw leaves, from time to time. It’s one of those herbs with a flavor so distinct that its usage is severely limited. That is, you can’t just add basil to everything and expect the dish to taste good, but when it works, it’s a thing of beauty. Go get yourself a plant or a bagful. The good thing about basil is that it freezes well, so don’t worry about wasting it.

And basil does some cool stuff, too. In hypertensive rats, sweet basil reduced blood pressure. In diabetics, holy basil reduced both fasting and post-prandial blood glucose. And as is usual with the herbs, basil displays some protective attributes against fatty acid oxidation.

Oregano

US soldiers returning home after World War II carried with them a fondness for the “pizza herb” – oregano. We at MDA prefer to call it the “meatza herb,” but you get the point: it’s a good ally in the kitchen.

Oregano is a strange herb in that its dried form confers a more potent taste than the fresh leaves, so don’t feel too bad about using the dried stuff. It works just fine, and it retains most of its antioxidant capacity even when dry as a bone. And a bountiful, impressive antioxidant capacity it is, what with its ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic and atherogenic compounds when added to cooking hamburger meat. Malondialdehyde levels were also reduced in plasma and urine samples taken from those who ate the meat.
What can we gather from this quick look at just a few of the most common culinary herbs? Well, herbs confer a lot of benefits to the cooking process. They make it taste good for one, but they also protect the fats from oxidation during cooking, making them perfectly paired with fatty foods – like herbed cheeses, herbed butters, lamb legs studded with rosemary and thyme, butter or cream sauce reductions with a dash of herbs, and herb-infused olive oils.

A Few Herby Tips

  • Use a wide variety of herbs.Never use too much of any single herb at once.
  • Try different blends.Grow some fresh herbs and keep plenty of dried on hand.
  • Let your taste buds guide you.
  • Add herbs when cooking fats; this won’t just protect the fat from oxidation, but it will also provide the best flavor.
  • Feed your pregnant ewe plenty of thyme.

What’s your favorite herb? There are dozens out there, and I’m sure each has its own set of health benefits.

 

Hormone Raises Desire for Fattening Foods

You’re dieting, and you know you should stay away from high-calorie snacks. Yet, your eyes keep straying toward that box of chocolates, and you wish there was a pill to restrain your impulse to inhale them.

Such a pill might one day be a real possibility, according to findings presented Tuesday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego. It would block the activity of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” that stimulates the appetite centers of the brain.

The study, reported by Dr. Tony Goldstone, a consultant endocrinologist at the British Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Center at Imperial College London, showed that ghrelin does raise the desire for high-calorie foods in humans.

“It’s been known from animal and human work that ghrelin makes people hungrier,” Goldstone said. “There has been a suspicion from animal work that it can also stimulate the rewards pathways of the brain and may be involved in the response to more rewarding foods, but we didn’t have evidence of that in people.”

The study that provided such evidence had 18 healthy adults look at pictures of different foods on three mornings, once after skipping breakfast and twice about 90 minutes after having breakfast. On one of the breakfast-eating mornings, all the participants got injections — some of salt water, some of ghrelin. Then they looked at pictures of high-calorie foods such as chocolate, cake and pizza, and low-calorie foods such as salads and vegetables.

The participants used a keyboard to rate the appeal of those pictures. Low-calorie foods were rated about the same, no matter what was in the injections. But the high-calorie foods, especially sweets, rated higher in those who got ghrelin.

“It seems to alter the desire for high-calorie foods more than low-calorie foods,” Goldstone said of ghrelin.

That effect was especially pronounced when the participants fasted overnight before the study was done. “We know that when you fast, you tend to crave high-calorie foods more,” Goldstone said. “We mimicked that effect.”

So a pill that blocked ghrelin’s activity could be useful for dieters, and several drug companies already are working to develop one, he said. It wouldn’t be something you could pop when a tempting dish appeared, because the blocking effect would take some time to happen, but it could be part of an overall weight-loss regimen, Goldstone said.

“If developed, it might have the particular effect of blocking the desire for high-calorie foods,” he said.

The study results come as no surprise, said Alain Dagher, an associate professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal, who has been studying ghrelin.

In his research, MRI scans of animals found that “ghrelin increases the brain response to food,” Dagher said. “So, it’s not surprising that a single injection in humans supports a shift to high-calorie foods in general.”

Dagher is continuing his studies. “We’ve been trying to get more specific about exactly how ghrelin acts on the brain, which brain regions it affects and how those effects translate to eating,” he said.

Ghrelin might not play a role in causing obesity, but it might act to keep people obese by reducing their ability to lose weight, Dagher said.

SOURCES: Tony Goldstone, M.D., Ph.D, consultant endocrinologist, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Center, Imperial College London; Alain Dagher, Ph.D, associate professor, neurology, McGill University, Montreal; June 22, 2010, presentation, Endocrine Society annual meeting, San Diego

Chef’s take on diabetes is personal

Tom Valenti is on the warpath. The New York chef and cookbook author is determined to convince parents — anyone who will listen, actually — that if they want to be healthier they should spend more time in the kitchen.

“People need to make time to cook,” said Valenti, who was in Houston recently to promote his new book, You Don’t Have to Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook, and teach cooking classes at Central Market. “I’ve been absolutely on the warpath lately, trying to convince people they have to make time to cook. What they’re feeding their kids is killing them.”

Once he gets people in the kitchen, Valenti wants them to cook healthier foods, getting flavor from seasonings and fresh foods rather than fat, salt and sugar. That goes for everyone — diabetics or not.

Valenti, 50, and chef/owner of both Ouest and the West Branch in New York, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 14 years ago but initially ignored it. He said he got little direction from his doctor but understood diabetes because his father suffered from the disease.

“I was young and single and a chef in New York,” said Valenti. “My father had always warned me to watch my sugar, but I ignored it.”

His friends Mario Batali and Bobby Flay owned restaurants not far from his own. After work — which might be 11:30 p.m. or so — the three men would go out for their own dinners.
They’d eat and drink and eat and drink, and the next day Valenti almost always felt bad. He chalked it up to “a little too much hooch.”

“I went through five stages of denial and eventually started placing more value on having a longer life,” he said.

He hopes his cookbook can help others navigate diabetes, a disease now at epidemic levels. Some 9 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes; 10 percent of Texans over age 18 have the disease.

Breakfast recipes offer ideas for smoothies but also omelets, flourless savory crêpes and whole wheat pancakes. There are salads and starters, soups, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. Low-carb wraps or lettuce leaves take the dietary danger out of sandwiches.

Other foods come with warnings: You can eat pasta, but in moderation; think of pizza as an appetizer, not as your entree.

While Valenti’s cookbook is filled with 250 recipes which sound more like decadence than deprivation — think lobster salad, duck breast and bananas foster — the pages aren’t all dedicated to your three squares a day.

Several pages are dedicated to defining the disease and how to live, shop and eat on a diabetic food exchange program. And his message on salt is that however much you eat, it’s likely too much.

Valenti acknowledges he’s not letter-perfect in his own diet, but that’s what living with diabetes realistically is about, he says. If he’s planning dinner with his wife, he is “good” during the day so he can allow himself bread or a glass of wine later.

In fact, handling carbohydrates has been the hardest change for Valenti to accept. “Bread and pasta,” he said with a sigh. “Bread is the staff of life, and I can’t eat it. Pasta, I was born into it, and I can’t eat it. When I was a kid my family ate pasta three to four times a week, happily. Now I just can’t eat as much as I’d like.”

While not everyone can afford a diet rich with fresh produce, he believes anyone can learn to eat healthier and read labels. Americans, he said, have learned to understand trans fats and whole grains, now they need to learn to read ingredient labels and make better choices.

“Most people just need to learn to push themselves away from the table,” said Valenti. “We love to eat, but there’s so much hidden in food that you don’t know what you’re eating.”
[email protected]

Source: click here

Have a healthy and fit day!

Chef’s take on diabetes is personal

Tom Valenti is on the warpath. The New York chef and cookbook author is determined to convince parents — anyone who will listen, actually — that if they want to be healthier they should spend more time in the kitchen.

“People need to make time to cook,” said Valenti, who was in Houston recently to promote his new book, You Don’t Have to Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook, and teach cooking classes at Central Market. “I’ve been absolutely on the warpath lately, trying to convince people they have to make time to cook. What they’re feeding their kids is killing them.”

Once he gets people in the kitchen, Valenti wants them to cook healthier foods, getting flavor from seasonings and fresh foods rather than fat, salt and sugar. That goes for everyone — diabetics or not.

Valenti, 50, and chef/owner of both Ouest and the West Branch in New York, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 14 years ago but initially ignored it. He said he got little direction from his doctor but understood diabetes because his father suffered from the disease.

“I was young and single and a chef in New York,” said Valenti. “My father had always warned me to watch my sugar, but I ignored it.”

His friends Mario Batali and Bobby Flay owned restaurants not far from his own. After work — which might be 11:30 p.m. or so — the three men would go out for their own dinners.
They’d eat and drink and eat and drink, and the next day Valenti almost always felt bad. He chalked it up to “a little too much hooch.”

“I went through five stages of denial and eventually started placing more value on having a longer life,” he said.

He hopes his cookbook can help others navigate diabetes, a disease now at epidemic levels. Some 9 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes; 10 percent of Texans over age 18 have the disease.

Breakfast recipes offer ideas for smoothies but also omelets, flourless savory crêpes and whole wheat pancakes. There are salads and starters, soups, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. Low-carb wraps or lettuce leaves take the dietary danger out of sandwiches.

Other foods come with warnings: You can eat pasta, but in moderation; think of pizza as an appetizer, not as your entree.

While Valenti’s cookbook is filled with 250 recipes which sound more like decadence than deprivation — think lobster salad, duck breast and bananas foster — the pages aren’t all dedicated to your three squares a day.

Several pages are dedicated to defining the disease and how to live, shop and eat on a diabetic food exchange program. And his message on salt is that however much you eat, it’s likely too much.

Valenti acknowledges he’s not letter-perfect in his own diet, but that’s what living with diabetes realistically is about, he says. If he’s planning dinner with his wife, he is “good” during the day so he can allow himself bread or a glass of wine later.

In fact, handling carbohydrates has been the hardest change for Valenti to accept. “Bread and pasta,” he said with a sigh. “Bread is the staff of life, and I can’t eat it. Pasta, I was born into it, and I can’t eat it. When I was a kid my family ate pasta three to four times a week, happily. Now I just can’t eat as much as I’d like.”

While not everyone can afford a diet rich with fresh produce, he believes anyone can learn to eat healthier and read labels. Americans, he said, have learned to understand trans fats and whole grains, now they need to learn to read ingredient labels and make better choices.

“Most people just need to learn to push themselves away from the table,” said Valenti. “We love to eat, but there’s so much hidden in food that you don’t know what you’re eating.”

Source: click here

Have a healthy and fit day!

What is in Your Pantry?

I LOVE the grocery store! If I could, I would be a professional grocery shopper. I’d shop often to buy produce in its best shape and compile recipes using nutrient-rich fresh ingredients.

While my half marathon aspiration now lives as a memory, my newest goal focuses directly on food choices. I think I have a pretty healthy diet but there is some room to “button things up.” So, where do I begin? It definitely does not start when my fork hits my mouth; healthy eating begins with healthy shopping.

Have you ever analyzed your pantry or refrigerator? I have and I’ve also realized that I am a nutrition nut and that I eat best when I plan what foods I have in stock and predict my meals for the following day or week. Lets take a peek.

Pantry
Macadamia nuts – Costco has a bargain
Pecans to change things up
Pumpkin seeds, perfect for a salty treat
Salsa, love love Trader Joe’s salsa verde
Organic Raisins, always a good and convenient fruit to add to a meal or snack
Canned tuna, skipjack
Vegetable-broth, I use it in a lot of cooking or add it to a soup to create more volume
Olive oil, extra virgin, in a dark tin or bottle
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Tessame’s salad dressing, you can mainly find it at Whole Foods
Cocoa (to splash in my coffee)
Canned coconut cream, Trader Joe’s Lite is very pure
Onions
Garlic
Tomato paste, I make my own sauce
Seasnax
Chia seeds
Hemp seeds
Spices galore
Gelatin
Herbal tea
Orgnaic apple sauce
Organic canned pumpkin, I use this in so many things

Refrigerator
Carrots, celery and/or cauliflower
Various leafy green’s, I liek to throw this into a salad spinner at the beginning of the week so it’s quick and easy to add to a meal
Organic cream for coffee
Pasture-raised eggs
Kimchi and/or sauerkraut
Apples and/or citrus fruits
Some form of breakfast meat – bacon, Canadian bacon, homemade meatloaf muffins
Leftovers

Freezer
Organic berries
Organic vegetables
Grassfed beef
Bacon
Fish – salmon burgers, cod, halibut
Frozen slowcooker meals, soups
Bone broth

Before your next trip to the grocery store, let this inspire you to make a list that is balanced with healthy choices and your favorites. Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life and what is life if you can’t live it with quality?

Have a healthy and fit day!