Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Which meat is good meat?

"Study suggests processed meat a real health risk" by Julie Steenhuysen

I've struggled with the issue of meat for a while now, mostly for ethical reasons regarding the treatment of animals, but also to take my measures of cholesterol prevention to the extra step.  I've never really thought about the whole lunchmeat situation, especially since it is the choice for many lunches.  When I used to buy lunchmeat, there was always a large number of people waiting to get their weekly deli choices.  Here's an interesting article forwarded to me by a diabetic friend (Thank you Larry!).

I think that the most important pieces of information to take from this article are:
"'To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should consider which types of meats they are eating,' said Renata Micha of the Harvard School of Public Health, whose study appears in the journal Circulation." 

"'Processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli meats may be the most important to avoid,'" Micha said in a statement. 

Clearly, the Atkins Diet that so many people embarked on promoting the neverending eating of bacon (protein, protein, protein--no carbs, not even fruit!) cannot be the healthy answer... and avoiding super processed meats just seems like a more healthy alternative for those who are looking toward a more healthy lifestyle.  Isn't that why pregnant women typically avoid lunch meats and hot dogs as well?  I can just feel my feet swelling up thinking about all the sodium.  :)  (I just picture flying for a long flight and barely being able to walk because I haven't moved in so long, and my feet are swollen like sausage!  YIKES!)

If you get to read the article, you'll see that the "Meat People" (of course!) object to the information provided, because even though it has the potential to positively effect people's health and the always rising issue of obesity, the concern of the possible impact to their business causes panic.  There are always things that you could change to eat something better.  Choose wisely.  Even the new Food Pyramid that was changed by the Government (  is much less specific then it used to be with the opportunity for people to choose more wisely, simply saying (regarding meat) to "choose a lean or low-fat" meat, also endorsing choices of various nuts and beans.  Will you think about this the next time you're in line to get a lunch sandwich (i.e., a cold cut smothered with all those lunchmeats)?  Will you consider a more low-fat choice, like less processed turkey??  I've actually taken a different road for my husband by baking turkey breast and slicing it up for his lunches. :) 

The specific point here is the processing of meats:  "They defined processed meat as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives. Meats in this category included bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats."  Just think of the chemicals and sodium used to process the meat..... is that something that you still would choose to put into your body?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

FAGE Greek Yogurt

I've promoted this yogurt more than anything, and while doing some research on probiotics, I found that they have RECIPES online!!!  You may need to modify some of the recipes because it looks like there are some that could be pretty high calorie. :) 

Check them out, and enjoy!  Be sure to post and let everyone know what you tried, and how it turned out.  For those who are Clean Eating junkies, modify accordingly, and let us know how it turned out. :)


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From ACE--25 Superfoods by Natalie Muth, MD, MPH, RD

I just wanted to share this article from ACE regarding 25 Superfoods.  Check them out! :)
(I added some little notes next to a few of them!)


Top 25 Superfoods
By Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Here’s a list of my top 25 foods that taste great and provide an abundance of nutrients sans preservatives, saturated and trans fat, and sodium. Many more foods could just as easily have made it on this list, but these are my personal favorites.

1. Almonds
(Ape's Note--Almonds are great just as a snack, or even with your oatmeal!)
Almonds lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and raise HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) effectively decreasing overall risk for heart attack. Portion control is key as almonds, like all nuts, are calorie dense.

2. Basil
This aromatic herb has long been used in India for its anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial properties. Its flavorful taste makes a great addition to any sandwich, pasta sauce, or salad. Plus, it’s very inexpensive and easy to grow on a sunny windowsill.

3. Blueberries
This nutrient powerhouse contains high levels of antioxidants and may even help to stave off cognitive decline.

4. Bok Choy
(Ape's Note--I got this last year at the farmer's market and would just make a salad with it!)

Very low cal (a half-cup serving has only 10 calories) and nutrient-dense (rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium), this Chinese cabbage is a must have for any asian-style meal.

5. Cantaloupe
(Ape's Note--I was told that the best way to see if it is a "good" one is to smell it.  If it smells fruitty, then it should be good.  Yup, you always see me at the grocery store smelling the 'lopes!)

Summertime means sweet, fresh delicious cantaloupe. Like other orange fruits and vegetables, its loaded in vitamins A and C.

6. Cherry Tomatoes
Sweet and delicious, cherry tomatoes are a great snack with loads of nutrients and next to no calories.

7. Dark Chocolate
(Ape's Note--Trader Joe's has amazing dark chocolate!)

Healthy chocolate seems like a misnomer, and while all chocolate does contain sugar and fat, dark chocolate (ie chocolate that has a high percentage of cacao) has health benefits which include lowering blood pressure.

8. Eggs
Eggs are one of those foods that have been touted for their health benefits and criticized for their health risks. While egg yolks do contain cholesterol, they also are high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids which are important in heart disease prevention and brain development. Overall, eggs are cheap, easy to prepare, and versatile.

9. Zen Bakery's Fiber Mini Cakes from Trader Joe's
Trader Joes gets it right with these "mini cakes". With only 80 calories, zero saturated fat, 51% of your daily fiber (a whopping 13g), and 15% of recommended daily iron intake, these are definite a superfood.

10. Garlic
Garlic is a must-have herb to add to almost any dish. In addition to giving your meal a little kick, garlic may also help fend off any number of diseases including the common cold and heart disease.

11. Grapefruit
Low in calories, high in taste and nutrients, and possibly containing a unique compound that aids in weight loss, grapefruit is a great addition to any breakfast.

12. Lentils
(Ape's Note--I love to make "french lentils" with carrots, onions, and sometimes other veggies!!)

Lentils are low in calories and high in protein, iron, and fiber. This makes for a super-healthy snack or addition to any salad, soup, or meal.

13. Luna Bars
These vitamin- and mineral-loaded bars are perfect for breakfast on the run. Containing only about 180 calories and less than 2 grams of saturated fat, the bars are a great way to start the day off right, or to refuel after a hard workout.

14. Oatmeal
(Ape's Note--Try to avoid the sugarery oatmeals--try adding your own fruit/honey/nuts to make it sweeter!)
Very high in fiber, oatmeal is key to helping remove bad cholesterol from the blood stream and will also help to clean out the GI tract for anyone suffering from constipation.

15. Olive Oil
A key ingredient to the Mediterranean Diet, the well-established healthiest diet around, olive oil is a potent disease-fighting agent. Because it is very calorie dense, it should be used in moderation for weight control.

16. Orange
This citrus fruit is tasty, widely available, relatively inexpensive, easy to transport, and a low-calorie but filling snack that also happens to be loaded with vitamins and minerals.
17. Persimmon
If you're tired of the same-old fruits, try a persimmon for a sweet and delicious snack which is also high in fiber and natural carbohydrates.

18. Pomegranate
Compared to other antioxidant-rich fruits and dietary substances such as red wine and green tea, pomegranate has the highest concentration of antioxidants. Plus, its rich color, sweet-tart taste, and enchanting history dating back to 1000BC make the fruit a perfect addition to a meal, party, or drab day.

19. Salmon
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are key for heart disease prevention and brain development in babies, toddlers and kids (and developing fetuses).

20. Skim Milk
High in calcium and a high-quality complete protein, skim milk helps build strong bones and muscles.

21. Spinach
The epitome of health food, you can get a good dousing of many of the vitamins and minerals you need with a large spinach salad.

22. String Cheese
(Ape's Note--Again, Trader Joe's!  They have string cheese, and cheddar cheese sticks which are my favorite!)

Individually wrapped, fun to eat, and a good source of protein, string cheese is great on-the-run snack for adults and kids of all ages.

23. Sweet Potatoes
(Ape's Note--Slice them up, add some olive oil, and bake!  Yum!!)
If only sweet potatoes were the most consumed vegetable in the U.S. rather than their ugly step-sister the white potato. A sweet potato contains twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, almost half of the recommend daily amount of vitamin C, and, if you eat the skin, even more fiber than oatmeal.

24. Tabouli Salad
This mediterranean mix of parsley, tomatoes, bulgur wheat, olive oil, and lemon juice is easy to make, tastes amazing, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, manganese and several potent antioxidants .

25. Tuna
Eating a can of water-packed tuna is a low-cal way to get loads of lean protein, omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin D. Tuna is a great way to get in the recommended minimum of two servings per week of fish.