Tags: CSPI, FDA, France, Mayor Bloomburg, McDonald's, portions, sugar
By David Grotto, RD, LDN
As seen on WebMD Real Life Nutrition
We seem to be at odds each and every day with Mother Nature’s plan. Her preference is for us to be opportunists – grabbing calories wherever and whenever we can because we are still hard-wired with the instinct to run from danger, trying to avoid becoming a wild animal’s next meal while also needing enough energy to hunt them to make them ours. If we don’t have to expend a lot of energy “foraging” for food, Mother Nature rewards us with extra storage fat that will come in handy for those long, cold and hard winters when food is scarce.
We are omnivores by nature who can eat just about anything. We were gifted with a natural bias towards sweet things such as fruit to obtain instant energy while Mother Nature is rewarded with a fertilized delivery package of undigested seeds to grow replacements. The problem is, for us, that we aren’t eating much of the fruits or vegetables of her labor but she’s okay that we return her seeds back in an altered form. The landscape has changed and Mother Nature has adapted but we haven’t. In her mind we are doing just what we were programmed to do. Throw in a “drive thru” and we have met out biological goal of maximizing calories in while preserving calories out.
Time to change how we forage? There seems to be greater movement towards changing the world we live in rather than trying to change the individual. Based on our natural tendencies, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Mayor Michael Bloomburg wants to set limits on the volume of sugary beverages that can be sold in restaurants and just recently, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has made the argument that the FDA should require the soda industry to cap the sugar we naturally crave, but now easily provided via beverages, to be more in line with dietary guidelines.
Recent research on limiting portion sizes does suggest that we can still be satisfied with less if presented with that as the preferred and only choice. Case in point, Paul Rozin, PhD, department chair of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, recently presented at a conference I attended and said that the portion sizes of many popular McDonald’s items are smaller in McDonald’s located in France versus ones found in the United States. Smaller portions also translate to the French dinner plate at home though they, as we know, consume more decadent calorie and fat laden items as part of the “French paradox” which results in smaller waistlines and less heart disease. Perhaps we too can have our (smaller) croissant and eat it, too?
I can’t believe that it’s me saying this but I’m really wondering if we are heading in the wrong direction in the fight against obesity and improving public health. Maybe trying to change personal responsibility isn’t the right approach especially since it fly’s in the face of our genetic autopilot that prefers that we over consume calories when presented with an opportunity to do so. Maybe the environmental hurdles we encounter daily are just too high for us to depend on our will power to get us over them and we have reached a point that we have to intervene to help Mother Nature.
With the latest regulatory efforts, we obviously know where to begin but my question is, do we know where it should stop? So I ask you, should we also mandate?
- No more all you can eat buffets or at least requiring paying for each additional plate
- The discontinuation of large sizes of anything we eat
- Price incentives for purchasing healthier foods while raising prices on larger portion sizes of foods deemed “not healthy
- The discontinuation of shows that promote gluttony such as “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” or “Man versus Food”
- Stiff penalties for parents overheard to say, “Finish eating everything on your plate”
What say you?
Tags: Cholesterol, mushrooms, Oats, risotto
Photo courtesy of the Mushroom Council
By David Grotto, RD, LDN, author of The Best Things You Can Eat
Seems like these two food staples are an unlikely pair, at least from a culinary standpoint. But I think you’ll find the Mushroom Ris-oat-o recipe at the end of this post proof positive that they make a tasty duo. And when it comes to health, this food pairing is no slouch when it comes to delivering more than just great taste – mushrooms and oats may be the ideal food crime fighter-combo for a healthy heart.
Bad cholesterol is a weighty issue. It is estimated that 20% of all strokes and up to 50% of heart attacks may be linked to high cholesterol. Family history, smoking, inactivity and even hormonal changes can all lead to elevated cholesterol. A growing and more common reason though is being over weight – especially when that weight collects around the midsection. Oats and mushrooms added to the diet may help combat hunger and give a feeling of fullness, which can help one manage their weight better.
Getting Mushy. Animal research has demonstrated that a diet containing mushrooms helps reduce total cholesterol, triglycerides, and harmful LDL-cholesterol. Several studies also have shown that mushrooms can reduce homocysteine, blood pressure, and can reduce oxidative and inflammatory damage to arteries, making them less susceptible to artery-clogging plaque. The antioxidant component of mushrooms that keep arteries healthy are largely attributed to their polyphenols– especially a substance called ergothionene, which may possess anticancer properties, as well. Mushrooms are naturally low in fat and calories and don’t contain cholesterol making them an ideal swap out for fatty meats or as a healthy extender for burgers, meatloaf, taco meat and casseroles.
Oatmeal Deal. Oats have hunger-busting qualities that can help aid in weight management. And like mushrooms, oats contain beta glucans that do a terrific job on sucking up cholesterol. There are over forty clinical studies spanning over forty years that confirm oats ability to not only lower total cholesterol but also harmful LDL cholesterol. Why? Oats contain additional heart healthy antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E and avenanthramides along with soluble and insoluble fiber that makes it quite difficult for cholesterol to hang around. Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats, each day, along with a low fat and cholesterol diet, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and harmful low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). Research shows that eating a fiber-rich diet and a nutritious breakfast can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Including foods such and mushrooms and oats as part of a low saturated fat, high fiber diet, is a heart-smart thing to do. Try combining them both into this tasty Mushroom Ris-oat-o side dish!
Wild Mushroom Ris-Oat-To (as featured in 101 Optimal Life Foods)
1 ½ cups of water
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup of yellow onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Oats, Old Fashioned
1 cup of dry white wine
1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
To prepare Ris-Oat-To, in a sauce pan bring 1 ½ cups of water and broth to a simmer. Keep warm over medium heat.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add onion and garlic, sauté about two minutes until golden brown.
Add oats and toast until golden brown, stirring constantly.
Add wine, cook for a minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
Stir in 1 cup of broth mixture, cook for four minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
Add remaining broth mixture, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next
Remove Ris-Oat-To from the heat and add in ½ cup of cheese
Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
4 cups of sliced mushrooms of your choice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped thyme
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large non stick pan over medium high heat, add mushrooms and crushed garlic clove and sauté for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy. At the last second season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.
Spoon Ris-Oat-To into 6 medium size bowls and top with crispy mushrooms, and a pinch of cheese.
290 Calories, 12g Total Fat, 4g Sat Fat, 15mg Cholesterol, 320mg Sodium, 26g Carbs, 4g Fiber, 13g Protein
Disclosure. I am a spokesperson for the Mushroom Council.
Tags: aphrodisiac, libido, nitric oxide, sex
As seen today on KnowMoreTv.com!
The rising barometer of sexual dysfunction impacts nearly forty percent of women and thirty percent of men. Translated, this works out to be nearly 70,000 million people who struggle with desire, arousal, and/or orgasm, according to researchers from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Sexual dysfunction is often associated with decreased life satisfaction and increased number of visits to the physician.
Prescriptions written for the sexual performance drugs Viagra and Cialis are now at record levels. But quick fix meds also run the risk of undesirable side effects, including: sudden vision loss, headaches, four-hour erections (sounds good until you have one; it can actually be quite painful), and increased risk of a heart attack.
The other problem with taking medication to enhance your sex drive is that a drug doesn’t address the root physical cause: diet and lifestyle. When you’re making poor food choices and/or not eating food to support your heart and other organs, blood vessels become backed up with plaque over time. The result: your blood has a harder time getting to where it needs to go. For men, this can translate to the big performance becoming a flop. And for women, the lessened blood flow impacts arousal, lubrication and energy levels.
Conditions that mess with blood flow and can damage sensitive nerve endings in your sex organs: uncontrolled blood sugar (when diabetes isn’t treated properly); chronic stress, depression, and obesity, which trigger inflammation and high blood pressure, both of which scar blood vessel linings.
Maybe just saying NO might work better to help get you in the mood. I’m not talking about an abstinence program here, but rather the acronym NO, which stands for nitric oxide. Nitric oxide naturally occurs in the body to help keep blood vessels dilated and functioning normally. In and of itself, it doesn’t peek arousal. Rather, NOs job is to blaze a path for blood to reach its intended target, whether it be the brain, heart or any other part (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). By incorporating more foods known to produce NO into your diet, over time, you may begin to experience the desired result:
• Coconut, sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts
• Oats, barley, wheat
• Soybeans, chickpeas
• Chicken, lean pork, beef
Let’s also not forget about the foods that you might want to avoid, or at least consume in moderation, if you want the love machinery to work smoothly:
• Alcohol. It may make you brave in the sack at first, but alcohol is a depressant. Over time alcohol can also decrease testosterone; low testosterone can zap energy levels.
• Saturated fat. Otherwise known as “high triglycerides,” a fatty diet is directly linked to impotence.
• Excessive sugar. Too much sugar also raises your triglycerides.
Tags: gravy, Hershey's, moderation, thanksgiving
I know it can be easy to overdo it with all the delicious food at family gatherings and celebrations, but maintaining a balanced lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to miss out on enjoying all of your favorite traditional treats. Food is a universal thing that brings us together; it is how we celebrate, especially around the holidays, so depriving ourselves during this special time of year is not the answer. Instead eat foods in moderation and savor all the sights and aromas of the season. Enjoying the foods you love is what makes a Good Life Holiday!
I’m planning to celebrate my own Good Life Holiday this year by eating some of my traditional faves such as pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole and delicious turkey gravy poured over not just the turkey but just about anything else that is fortunate enough to get in its way. Ha! I’m salivating just thinking about it!
As you can tell, if I’m not careful, I could really be in for some serious calorie overload if I don’t have a plan in place to control my portions. But the good news is I do have a plan. I’m going to enjoy half of my plate filled with faves while I load up the other half with a fields of greens salad and caramelized Brussels sprouts. If I’m still hungry after my last bite, I’ll go back for more veggies! And in the Grotto tradition, everyone helps mom clear the table after we eat, load the dishes in the dishwasher and then head out for our traditional family walk while the dishwasher is running. It’s amazing how much longer everyone wants to walk when they know those dishes will be clean by the time we get home and have to be put away.
This holiday season, I am working with HERSHEY’S Moderation Nation, a go-to source for balanced lifestyle tips, as their Balanced Eating GOOD LIFE GURU to provide strategies to help make eating a balanced diet easier. For tips on how enjoy your Good Life Holiday and to learn more from me on how to maintain a balanced diet, visit www.TheModerationNation.com.
HERSHEY’S Moderation Nation is also spreading the joy this season by teaming up with How Does She to create the Good Life Holiday Pinterest Contest where participants will have chance to win a relaxing weekend getaway to the Hershey Spa in the New Year! Share all the ways you’re planning to live a Good Life Holiday by pinning your own “window display” of pictures, recipes and articles. Check out the contest rules on the HERSHEY’S Moderation Nation website.
How do you maintain a balanced diet around the holidays?
Tags: apps, CRN, dietary guidelines, Life Supplemented, Nature Made, nutrition, pillbox, supplements, vitamins
If you haven’t received the memo yet, we are a far cry from meeting the nutrition and healthy eating objectives of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), according to studies. The DGA committee identified that many fall short of reaching minimal healthy levels of key nutrients including vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. One study showed that less than 5% of adult workers meet dietary fiber recommendations. This may explain why irritable bowel syndrome and sales of laxatives are on the rise.
In my new book, The Best Things You Can Eat, I talk about what foods can help bridge these short-gaps in nutrients. I’m sure this information will be helpful for many of my readers but I’m also a realist. Even those who follow a healthy diet (including myself) or have all the best intentions to do so, don’t always eat perfectly…everyday. That is one of the reasons I included information on dietary supplements in the new book and have always recommended dietary supplements for my patients, family and even myself.
Even if you are on a great supplement program, if you don’t take them, they aren’t going to do you much good. So what are some of the roadblocks to taking supplements? I asked Judy Blatman, senior vice president or communications from the Council of Responsible Nutrition (CRN), for her thoughts on why people either don’t take dietary supplements or why those who do may have a hard time sticking to their regimen. She mentioned that CRN conducted a consumer survey this year that investigated supplement habits of consumers and health professionals alike. “We did ask those who indicated that they didn’t always comply with their daily supplement routine, to select the main reasons why they didn’t,” says Blatman. The top three answers were:
1. I get busy and forget to take them
2. If they’re not in plain sight, I forget to take them
3. Some days, I just don’t feel like taking them.
These all make perfect sense to me. Even I forget to take my supplements for all the very same reasons! And to spin off the last reason of “Some days I just don’t feel like taking them”, swallowing huge capsules or tablets are a physical impossibility for me. Have you ever had a tablet or capsule get stuck in your throat? Owww! It’s painful and the most uncomfortable feeling I can possibly imagine. My solution? I chew EVERYTHING! Yup…that includes my fish oil capsules, too! Not pleasant, eh? So, it’s not surprising that even the espousers of dietary supplements don’t always take them if their own advice is literally “hard to swallow”!
Good news. I was approached earlier this year by the folks at Nature Made who clairvoyantly knew of my supplement plight. They were excited to announce that they created new lines of dietary supplements with the sole purpose of making the task of taking supplements doable if not downright pleasurable! I was all ears. Long story short, they sent a variety of products for the whole family to try out that included adult gummies, full strength minis and a new type of small tablets called vita melts that literally melt in your mouth! They were amazing and really solved my swallowing challenge. I liked them so much that I started working with Nature Made to spread the good news! So I thought I’d share what the Grottos are taking as a core program as a result of trying the new products. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t thow in a bit of advice to seek out a qualified health professional for dietary supplement guidance. Okay? Do it! I also provided links in the photos in case you want to know more about the supplements.
This is my base program. I take the men’s full strength mini’s multiple plus two of the the smaller omega 3 supplement. I also take an additional 1000i.u. of vitamin D in the vita melt series. They taste GREAT!
Lastly, I wanted to share some cool gizmos and apps that address the first two reasons that folks don’t take supplements from the CRN survey.
CRN’s Life Supplemented campaign also designed a cool iphone app that can be used on your ipad as well. Besides reminding you to take your supplements, it eve has a restock reminder to tell you if you are getting low.
They don’t have an android version out yet but rumor has it that there may be one available in 2013. Meanwhile, I ran across another app that works great for android devices.
Having them visible.
“Having your supplements out on your kitchen counter, on your desk, in your pocketbook so they’re visible can really help,” says Blatman.
Even for those times when your supplements aren’t in a direct line of sight, here’s a great carrier for them that will sounds an alarm when its time to take them. Cool eh?
I hope that helps break down some barriers to taking your supplements regularly. Have you found any supplements, apps or supplement carriers that you would recommend that make taking supplements easier? I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you to my intern, Jamie Digiovanni, who helped me with this story.
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Cabán-Martinez AJ, Lee DJ. Nutrient intake and adherence to dietary
recommendations among US workers. J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Jan;54(1):101-5.
2. J Am Coll Nutr February 2009 vol. 28 no. Supplement 1 69S-72S