There are many misconceptions when it comes to the Mediterranean diet. A lot of people immediately think of pasta, racks of lamb, bread, and endless bottles of red wine. However, a true Mediterranean diet is actually based on the region’s traditional vegetables, fruits, seafood, nuts, beans, and dairy. A proper Mediterranean diet actually offers numerous health benefits that can enhance overall wellness, in turn optimizing oral health.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on eating fresh, wholesome foods. By focusing on produce and healthy fats, this incredible diet provides comprehensive nutrition that can also aid in weight loss when combined with proper exercise. When transitioning to the Mediterranean diet, it may be difficult to phase out processed foods for freshly cooked ingredients. However, staying true to this diet still allows for moderate wine intake as well as lean dairy items like goat cheese. Healthy fats from avocado and fish provide wonderful health benefits while still offering rich flavors. The Mediterranean diet creates meals out of high-protein beans and lentils while promoting mostly vegetables and whole grains. These lean protein options are great for digestive and cardiovascular health.
By limiting the intake of processed foods, refined bread, and red meat, cardiovascular health is optimized. Drinking red wine moderately instead of hard liquor also helps prevent heart disease and strokes. The Mediterranean diet may improve blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and overall blood vessel health which may reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. With all the additional nutrients gained from this diet, older adults may experience lowered risk for developing muscle weakness. This diet is also rich in fiber aiding in healthy weight as well as defending against type 2 diabetes.
For more information regarding the numerous benefits of the Mediterranean diet, please contact us!
Did you know that food waste presents a pressing issue among the US and the rest of the world? With a large impact on our environment, resources, and finances, addressing this issue by changing personal habits can make a difference. With an estimated 40% of food in the US wasted every year, this damaging problem negatively affects so many aspects of our planet. Food production requires a substantial amount of resources– approximately 70% of fresh water and 50% of the land is designated for agricultural use.
Agriculture has many negative effects on our environment including greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide run-off. With so much of our food being wasted, that, in turn, means that we are negatively affecting our environment with no purpose. The considerable amount of fresh water being wasted due to food waste is disastrous considering so many don’t have access to fresh water. When it comes to water waste, one wasted hamburger is equal to a 90-minute shower. With 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year, that accounts for almost a third of total food production. The food waste experienced in Europe and North America is 15 times more than counties located in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Lowering the amount of food wasted starts with each family. We recommend avoiding excessive meals when dining out. Consider sharing dishes with family members, requesting to-go boxes, or asking for smaller portions in order to limit overeating as well. When it comes to grocery shopping, be mindful of what you already have as well as purchasing bulk items that have limited shelf lives. Making sure your refrigerator settings are correct can also make a world of difference in properly preserving your groceries for longer. Donating items that you won’t get to prior to expiration is also a great idea.
For more ways on how to lower your food waste, please contact us!
Given their popularity on salads, pastas and sauces today, it’s hard to believe that Americans didn’t began eating tomatoes until several hundred years ago – despite their long existence. Today, they are readily enjoyed for their flavor, simplicity and health benefits.
Tomatoes are part of a healthy grocery list for numerous reasons. They are best known for their extremely high content of antioxidant, due largely to lycopene, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Recently, researchers have found several links between lycopene – a carotenoid antioxidant – and cancer-preventing properties as well as bone health. Of all cancers, prostate cancer has been most researched in regards to tomato intake and health. A key nutrient in this red vegetable – alpha-tomatine – has been found to change metabolic activity in growing prostate cancer cells. Continued research on tomatoes and non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer has also pointed to improved health.
Tomatoes have also been linked to heart health, most notably that consumption has been related to decreased LDL cholesterol as well as decreased total cholesterol. Moreover, the antioxidant protection provided by tomatoes is essential for the cardiovascular system. Additionally, tomatoes are great sources of vitamins E and C, beta-carotene and fiber, and when it comes to phytonutrients, tomatoes may be one of the richest food sources. They contain everything from flavonols and flavonones to carotenoids and fatty acid derivatives, to name a few.
Wondering whether or not cooking changes the nutritional value of tomatoes?
The Tomato Variety Guide
There are hundreds of tomato varieties available, all depending on climate, growing conditions and growth habits. To simplify the never-ending list however, in terms of genetics there are two basic kinds of tomatoes: heirlooms and hybrids, according to Serious Eats. Common, conventional tomatoes that you can find at the grocery store include:
Heirloom, specialty, and farmer’s market tomatoes include Garden Peach, Cherokee Purple, San Marzano, Green Zebra, Yellow Pear, Sungold and Brandywine, according to the source. Less conventional than the aforementioned tomatoes, these ones are often more expensive and come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and hues.
If tomatoes are ripe, they’re best stored at room temperature, according to Chef Anthony. Storing them on your counter or windowsill requires mindfulness and care as cuts or gashes to the tomato will attract fruit flies. If they’re reaching their peak ripeness, it’s best to refrigerate. Regardless of how you store them, tomatoes are best consumed at room temperature.
How to Eat Tomatoes
Though technically it is the fruit of the tomato plant that is consumed, they are generally considered garden vegetables, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. One of the best things about this vegetable however is its versatility. There are so many ways to enjoy them, from sweet bite-sized cherry tomatoes that serve as a great snack or salad topping to large Beefsteak tomatoes that make perfect slices for sandwiches. “They are great with other foods as well,” explained Chef Anthony. “For example, tomato and orange, tomato and watermelon, tomato and pineapple, tomato and mushrooms … just to name a few.”
Tomatoes can be roasted, grilled, sautéed or enjoyed as is.
A multipurpose food, quinoa is a tasty and nutritional grain packed with protein and fiber that is versatile enough to be enjoyed in the form of a cereal in the morning, a soup during the day and a filling salad at lunchtime.
Within just the last few years, quinoa – pronounced KEEN-wah has made big strides in its identity and popularity in the Western world, according to the Whole Grains Council. The grain has origins that date back nearly 5,000 years to the Bolivians of Lake Titicaca. It is believed that quinoa was sacred to the Incas, who called the grain “chisaya mama”, meaning mother of all grains. Each year, according to oral history, the Incan emperor would sow the first quinoa seeds in an elaborate ceremony.
However, during the mid-1500s, a Spanish explorer nearly caused the quinoa crop to become extinct, noted the source. In an effort to ruin the culture, Francisco Pizarro destroyed the fields cultivating the crop and only a few areas of wild quinoa at high altitudes would survive. It re-emerged in the Western world in the 1970s, though it wasn’t until the past decade that it really took off as a popular health food trend. According to the WGC , in 2010 quinoa was named as the best side dish by the National Restaurant Association in its annual chef survey.
Most notable was the “International Year Of Quinoa” launched in 2013 by United Nations leaders and the Andean communities of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The celebration was an effort to increase awareness of the crop’s nutritional value as well as to pay tribute to the cultural merit of a grain that has been grown traditionally for thousands of years, carried from one generation to the next. Today, quinoa is enjoyed nearly across the globe.
Quinoa is one of the few plant-based foods that has all nine essential amino acids, making it quite the anomaly among its grain counterparts, according to Authority Nutrition. Gluten-free and packed with protein, it’s also high in numerous antioxidants that are beneficial for the body.
One cup of cooked quinoa generally has 39 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat and 222 calories. Quinoa has several omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also high in iron, potassium, magnesium, B-vitamins, vitamin E and phosphorus, making it the perfect whole grain to add to your healthy eating plan.
Quinoa health benefits even go beyond vitamins and minerals: It also contains high amounts of trace nutrients including flavonoids, according to the source. Plant antioxidants found to have various beneficial effects on health, the two flavonoids in quinoa are quercetin and kaempferol, which are good for the heart, according to Chef Anthony.
Depending on the variety you purchase, quinoa may have to be pre-soaked prior to cooking. The coating around quinoa seeds – intended to keep birds at bay – is naturally bitter, according to Reader’s Digest. To remove the coating, soak 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water for 5 to 10 minutes, until its coating has dissolved. Then drain and rinse the quinoa so that it is ready for cooking. If it was bought packaged however, it’s likely that this step has already been done for you.
“For the best quality and flavor, toasting the quinoa before adding liquid is great,” said Chef Anthony. “It brings out that ‘nuttiness’ in it which makes it more enjoyable and satisfying.”
Then, to cook this protein-packed grain, pour it into a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water over medium-high heat. Add any additional spices if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, covering with a tight pot cover. Once finished, remove from heat and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Before serving, fluff quinoa with a fork until it’s at the desired consistency.
One of the best things about this healthy grain is its versatility. With nutty, earthy and sometimes sweet flavors, it can be enjoyed as a side dish to accompany dinner, as part of breakfast or lunch and even as a tasty midday snack. It can serve as a healthier alternative to rice, used as a baking grain for more nutritious muffins and cookies or made into meatless stuffing and burgers. As part of your healthy eating plan quinoa can transform into a variety of tasty meals, protein bars and baked goods. When it comes to using quinoa in the kitchen, Chef Anthony has a few favorites.
“My favorite is adding it to my oatmeal, using it to stuff acorn squash or adding it in a white bean paella,” he said.
ARTICLE CREDIT: https://www.pritikin.com/quinoa-health-benefits-and-recipes
Asparagus is now officially in season as spring and summer come upon us! Asparagus offers a multitude of antioxidants and vitamins. At its peak, asparagus has optimal flavor and is least expensive during these seasons. A great addition to any dish, asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in many ways offering any home cook the opportunity to add a healthy component to their meal.
When shopping for asparagus, it’s best practice to find a bunch with firm stems and tightly closed tips. We always recommend using your asparagus purchase immediately, but you can always store them by standing their stems in a bowl a cold water and leaving them in the fridge for a few days.
When preparing your fresh asparagus for cooking, always cut off the tough ends of the stems and recognize that cooking times can vary based on asparagus thickness and personal preference on crispiness. Asparagus can be utilized in more than just a side dish– you can add it to your pasta, omelets, salads, and more!
Asparagus is great unseasoned but you can always add a little flavor with marinades or seasonings! Enjoy the asparagus season!
Article credit www.pritikin.com
DO YOU START OUT STRONG IN JANUARY BUT FIZZLE BY FEBRUARY?
Here are five key recommendations, distilled from recent research on human behavior, on how to keep New Year’s Resolutions for health and weight loss.
“These five recommendations can help you eat better, exercise better, and live more joyously all year long,” encourages Dr. Coral Arvon, Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
“When you have a concrete plan,” explains Dr. Arvon, “you have concrete direction.”
Tack your goals to your refrigerator or other location you pass by frequently. Seeing them every day means you won’t forget them. Plus, it’s a lot harder to dismiss them. They’re a commitment, in black and white, that you’ve made to yourself.
They’re also highly motivating because they’re a constant reminder, particularly the Life Goals, of the priceless rewards that await when you’ve achieved your goals.
Your Health Goals…
List all your Health Goals by completing the statement below. And do discuss your Health Goals with your physician because you want to make sure they are safe and achievable, and certainly, your physician may have tools/suggestions to help you along.
Your Life Goals…
To discover your Life Goals, ask yourself the following questions:
Take a little time determining your Life Goals. Sleep on them. Talk to family members. Jot some ideas down. Fine-tune them. Most importantly, read and repeat these Life Goals to yourself daily. They are your destination. And every day, time travel. “Drive” yourself into the future, imagining that your Life Goals have come true. Doing so might drive you, like nothing else, to stick with your New Year’s Resolutions.
List your Life Goals by completing the statement below.
I want to be healthy enough and energetic enough to…
Now you’re ready to begin! Congratulations! And always remember that each step toward your goals is a victory in and of itself.
Keep your snacks and lunches simple. For lunch, for example, Pritikin alum Rose Christo often needs just 2 ingredients – a box of frozen spinach and a container of low-sodium Tabatchnick Soup (located in the freezer section of supermarkets). She combines the spinach and soup, zaps them in the microwave, and voila, she has a big, steaming bowl of satisfying, low-calorie-dense, nutritious soup.
Real success isn’t about being the biggest loser. It’s about being the longest loser. For years, scientists involved with the Registry have been gathering information on men and women (they now total more than 10,000) who have been amazingly successful at shedding weight and keeping it off. The average Registry member has lost about 66 pounds and maintained that weight loss for more than five years. Researchers wanted to know: What makes these 10,000-plus people so successful? What are their habits? It turns out they tend to have a lot in common. Here are common characteristics that fuel their success:
Behavioral scientists have found that people who set aside money for forfeiture if they fail to meet weight-loss goals (realistic goals – no more than a pound or two a week) lose more weight over the course of several months than those in control groups. Money isn’t the only motivator. Making a commitment to exercise with a friend, for example, has also proven effective. That’s because your friendship is now on the line. You’re much more likely to get out of bed when the alarm goes off if you know your friend is waiting for you at the gym.
No one signs up for pain. Listen to your body while exercising. When it says “enough,” it probably is.
And take time for yourself every day, even if it’s only for a few moments.
Above all, focus on the positive. People who believe they will succeed are more likely to do so. Praise yourself, for example, for losing five pounds, but don’t punish yourself for gaining one back. Remind yourself that every day is a new day – and an opportunity to try again.
Article credit: www.pritikin.com
Eat, drink and be merry – that’s what we’re supposed to do over the Holiday’s. And we’re usually awfully good (unfortunately) with the eating and drinking. It’s the “merry” we struggle with. Instead of good cheer, we’re often stressing about everything from “to do” lists to expanding bellies (all those holiday buffets can take their toll). In this article, learn how to scale down holiday stress so that you can scale up joy.
Here are 5 key holiday stresses, and how to defeat them:
Holiday Stress # 1: “I’m going to gain a lot of weight.”
Practice mindful eating. In the hubbub of holiday shopping and other frenzied activity, it’s easy to fall into the habit of grabbing food and inhaling it while getting other things done. Oh, what a mistake that is! Because we aren’t paying attention, the calories just flood in.
So be alert. When eating, focus on your food, and your food alone. Never multi-task. Don’t eat while driving, gift wrapping, or cruising shopping malls. Always do your best, even at parties, to sit down while eating. Look at your food. Appreciate its colors and aromas. Savor each bite.
The results can be priceless. Mindful eating not only brings back pleasure, it brings back control. Because we’re aware of every bite, and celebrating each one, we’re more aware of how much we’re eating, and when to stop. We feel good at stopping because both physically and emotionally, we’re satisfied.
Sit down to eat a hearty, healthy snack before going to the party. All you’ll be faced with when you arrive at the party is temptation, not hunger and temptation. When you arrive, enjoy other pleasures – good company, beautiful decorations, smiling children.
You’ll also enjoy how good you’ll feel about yourself. Today, this moment, you’ve made healthy choices. That’s something to be proud of all year round.
Another tip: When you step up to the buffet, plate in hand, fill three-quarters of it with foods that are low in calorie density, like green salad (dressing on the side), fresh fruit, roasted potatoes, and hummus dip with veggie sticks. It’s a lot of food, but not a lot of calories. Call it “filler” food; you’re filling up so that there’s less room in your stomach, and less appetite, for the cheese balls and other high-calorie-dense foods.
Cut back on the booze.
We all know family tensions can escalate during the holidays, especially if we’re living in close quarters for several days, and drinking too much.
To help keep your alcohol (and temper) in control at parties, sip your drink, don’t gulp. After one glass of alcohol, drink glasses of sparkling water with lemon or lime.
In fact, at the beginning of the party, tell the bartender, “As soon as you see me heading your way, please mix me up another club soda with lemon.” Tip well.
Drinking less alcohol also means you’re less likely to overindulge in the wrong foods.
Say “No.” (The world won’t come to an end.)
How happier and calmer we’d all be if we realized that there simply aren’t enough hours to do all we intended over the holidays.
Prioritize your “to do” list. Some things, like buying gifts for the little ones, will certainly top the list, and they’ll get done, no matter what. But stuff closer to the bottom, like shopping for new tablecloths for the dining room, can simply wait till the after-holiday sales, or don’t bother with them at all.
Get to the bottom of the list if you have time. If you don’t, don’t sweat it. Your peace and happiness is far more important than new tablecloths.
Let this stress go. The reality is, it’s simply not possible to please everyone. The most important thing about your event is not who’s displeased with the appetizers, or who’s frowning because of a fussy baby.
For every one or two naysayers, there are many more who love your event, love you, and love your efforts to bring everyone together.
Relish that. Be present with the positive. Enjoy the laughter, the happy conversation, the fun, the music, the moments of love and friendship.
Let others chip in, too. Save tree decorating till everyone arrives. Welcome offers from Cousin George to help with putting the platters of food on the table. Let Aunt Ida do the dishes. When you share the work, you not only lose the worry and the feeling that everything is left up to you, you get to enjoy the sharing, the smiles that surround you.
Article Credit: Pritikin – https://www.pritikin.com/pumpkin-health-benefits-recipes
Autumn is the season of all things pumpkin, from pumpkin spiced coffee to jack-o-lanterns filling doorsteps and windows. Naturally sweet and low in calorie density, pumpkins are a healthy and nutritious vegetable to add to your well-rounded healthy eating plan. But did you know that there are also a number of health benefits to eating pumpkin? This season, don’t just use the bright orange, lush and round derivative of the squash family merely for decorative purposes, consider these delicious recipes and health benefits instead. The health benefits of pumpkins are packed into very few calories. Pumpkins are a great source of vitamins A and D, and only have about 25 calories per cup.
This festive gourd offers much more than just its appearance. Similar to all other member of the squash family, the pumpkin is filled with a number of nutritious health benefits, according to Pritikin’s Chef Anthony Stewart. “All yellow fruits and vegetables contain the sunshine vitamin, making them a great source of vitamins A and D,” Chef Anthony said. “They’re a good source of potassium and minerals as well, because these plants grow on the ground allowing them to absorb minerals from the earth.” In fact, each part of the pumpkin from its golden-yellow flesh to its seeds has nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds – which can easily be roasted in the oven for snacking – are filled with protein, vitamins and minerals and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The soft, naturally sweet inner flesh of the pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals as well. It also boasts antioxidants and dietary fiber, without containing any cholesterol or saturated fats, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Pumpkin is also low in calorie density, at just about 25 calories per half cup, making it an excellent choice for those following a diet plan.
Avocados, the buttery-smooth, antioxidant-rich fruit, are the perfect complement to a variety of dishes. Natural oils give the nutty-flavored favorite its rich texture, while the high protein content makes it a satisfying meat substitute. Some studies even suggest that the ingredients found in avocados help to combat certain forms of cancer.
Not only are avocados tasty, but they are also packed with healthy benefits.
HERE ARE 6 DRUG-FREE ALTERNATIVES FOR LOWERING LDL (BAD) CHOLESTEROL.
To avoid a heart attack, research has found that a key strategy is getting LDL (bad) cholesterol way down. Striving for LDL levels of 100 and below is good, but dropping to 80 and lower may be even better.
Go ahead, binge on beans! Enjoy all kinds! Black beans. White beans. Red beans. Pinto beans. Adzuki beans. They’re all champions at actively lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
LDL levels of 81
Ground-breaking research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) studied nearly 9,000 European patients. All had previously suffered heart attacks. The trial found that those who reduced their LDL levels to an average 81 with high-dose statins significantly reduced their risk of major coronary events like heart attacks and strokes at the 4.8 year follow-up compared to patients who reduced their LDL to 104 on usual-dose statin therapy.
Lower LDL Levels are better
In a JAMA editorial accompanying the study, Christopher P. Cannon, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School wrote that aggressive LDL lowering is the ideal – “lower is better.” The JAMA study’s findings echo those of another large 4,162-patient study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that LDL cholesterol levels of 62 were even better than levels of 95 at preventing death, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related problems in people with heart disease.
Drugs’ negative effects
In both studies, mega-doses of statins (a doubling and tripling of regular doses) drove LDL levels way down. But in both studies, mega-doses also caused problems. Suffering from adverse side effects like muscle pain, memory loss, and elevated liver enzymes, patients on the high doses stopped taking their medications at twice the rate of patients on regular doses. Muscle pain, also called myopathy, occurs in 2% to 11% of people treated with statins, reported investigators at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, and although the pain usually subsides once the statin is discontinued, it can take several months to do so. Like previous studies, the Wisconsin scientists also found that the negative side effects of statins increased as dosages increased.
“That’s why drug-free alternatives like the Pritikin Program are so important,” advises Dr. William McCarthy, UCLA School of Public Health and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board.
“For people who cannot tolerate maximum doses of statins, or for those wanting to minimize their dependence on drugs, the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise – or a combination of low-dose statins plus the Pritikin Program – offers a much safer option for lowering LDL cholesterol to levels significantly below 100.”
Lowering cholesterol naturally
In research on more than 4,500 men and women following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise, LDL levels plummeted 23%, and in just three weeks.
39% drop in LDL Levels
And in a study by UCLA scientists in conjunction with the nonprofit Pritikin Foundation, men and women nearly doubled their reductions in cholesterol, averaging a 39% drop, when they supplemented regular-dose statin therapy with the diet-and-exercise lifestyle of the Pritikin Program.