Category Archives: Nutrition

Almonds in All Forms

Recently, I bulk-bought ten pounds of raw almonds with other local gardeners in the area.  Why would I do that when I live and California and can get them from the local store?  Well, they go through a pasteurization process to kill any organisms that might be on them, like samonella.  But in doing so, they also can eliminate beneficial enzymes that the raw food movement so greatly follows.

No, the reason I bought these raw almonds was because they came from Italy.  Yes,   Since the United States doesn’t allow any truly raw almonds, this was my next choice.

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It’s All in Your Head

Recently, I have taught a few classes on being successful in weight management.  Some interesting points and “ah-ha” moments have brought folk to realize it’s all in their head.

Four basic tenants in order of importance includes 1)attitude/values; 2) psychology; 3)exercise; 4) and nutrition.  Does it surprise folks that their attitude or value they place on managing their weight is ranked more important than eating an apple?  For some it doesn’t.  If an individual has been in the process of managing their weight (in this case, losing weight) for several months, then he/she is going to realize that it is their attitude or approach to the process of losing weight that will make the most difference.  And for some, that is a scary issue to face.

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Sodium Intake and Your Risks

Are you worth your weight in salt? Change that!

Did you know that 1 in 4 people have hypertension or high blood pressure?  Not surprising when most folks are consuming 3500mg of sodium/day.   That’s more than 60% of the recommended intake.  Half these folks can reduce their hypertension risk by decreasing their sodium intake or table salt (aka sodium chloride).  Why is our sodium so high?  Most Americans are consuming their sodium intake through processed foods, ie snacks, soda, or microwavable meals.

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Have Health, Will Travel

Many folks that I teach bite their nails due to the anxiety of traveling.  They are not sure about how to manage their diet when traveling.  Whether it is for business or pleasure, folks who have developed healthy eating habits find it a struggle to maintain those habits on the road.

Here is my number one tip for healthy people who travel: PLAN!!!  In today’s environment there is a fast food joint on every corner.  This certainly doesn’t make it easier for us to eat healthy. But planning isn’t necessarily for the folks trying to keep the pounds off.  It’s also for folks with specialized diets, ie. Vegetarians, gluten-free, etc.  Planning your meals will help you determine what you are willing do that is healthy and what you willing to splurge on.

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In Season: Berries

The time is NOW! Berries are available now through the beginning of fall. If you are growing a berry bush, i.e. raspberries or blackberries, you might have seen them already on your vines. But peak time does vary depending on the berry. Strawberries and blueberries are at their peak now, while blackberries and raspberries will be at their peak in August going into the fall.

These fruits are great raw or cooked, especially as a pie. Among the first people to appreciate these fruits were Native Americans, who ate them, cooked them, dried them for adding to winter soups and stews, and even used them as medicines, dyes, and food preservatives.

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In Season: Artichokes

My artichoke plant in the front yard.

In all honesty, artichokes are probably a spring crop, but here in So Cal, they are ready for me to eat :)

A single artichoke is actually an unopened flower bud from a thistle-like plant, Cynara scolymus.  It’s a member of the daisy family.

They were avidly cultivated in the fifteenth century in Florence and was reputedly taken to France by Catherine de Médicis, wife of Henry II.  The French, Italians, and the Spanish continue to be the leading growers and consumers of artichokes.  It was European immigrants who brought artichokes to the United States in the nineteenth century to Louisiana and then later to the mid-coastal regions of California, where the cool, foggy climate is ideal for growing.

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Onions & Garlic: A rose by any other name

I have been attending herbal classes.  While I know some of the benefits of the nutritional properities of some herbs, I always enjoy learning more.  So I thought I would share the benefits of onions & garlic.

The distinctive odor that garlic produces doesn’t occur until it is crushed.  This is the plant’s defense mechanism against insect predators.  Garlic cloves contain an odorless , sulfur-containing phytochemical  called “alliin.”  When the clove is disrupted, alliin is released and reacts with an enzyme in the neighboring cells that converts it to the odoriferous “allicin.”   Allicin is the garlic’s bug repellant – and a “people” repellant which is why many folks are shy about eating it.  If that’s the case, roast or cook whole to avoid the smell.

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Cholesterol: Know Your Numbers

Me: How’s your blood work?

 Hubby: The doctor said my cholesterol was a little high.

 Me: What was it?

 Hubby: I don’t know.

 Me: (staring at him with my mouth open).

This is an over-dramatization, but the point is clear. It is common for folks not to know or ask their doctor about their cholesterol numbers. You noticed I said numbers with an ‘s.’ There is more than one number that you need to know when it comes to cholesterol.

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Protein Needs

I need a lot of protein since I work out a lot.

The real question is how much protein the average (healthy) person needs?  (All the info I provide will be based on adult needs.  Interestingly, protein deficiency is unlikely in the United States, but might be an issue for the elderly with health complications or, of course, the pregnant/breastfeeding mom).

Protein is essential because of the amino acids it uses for a variety of body functions.  Protein makes up over half of the solid content in all cells.   It is used for enzymes, hormones, immunity, and structure of amino acids, which will help with muscle building.

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Parental Rights Questioned Due to Diet

I belong to an on-line vegetarian group.  I have access to a wonderful group of professional folks who know how to plan well-balanced vegetarian meals.  But recently, a few members have stated that they have been approached by a vegetarian parent to help them establish that vegetarian diets are healthy in an effort for that parent to obtain custody of their child.  Evidently, the meat-eating parent thinks that the diet is unhealthy for their child.

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