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Whole Grain Benefits

Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Multiple Sclerosis



Unpredictable multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms like fatigue can make it difficult to consistently bring breakfast to the table, but missing breakfast means a lack of nutrients, which can have ramifications for the energy you have every day.

The benefits of breakfast are seemingly endless. According to the Cleveland Clinic, not only will breakfast replenish your daily energy stores, it will also promote your heart health, reduce your risk of diabetes, and help alleviate brain fog.

How skipping breakfast leads to nutritional gaps

The results of several recent studies indicate the risks associated with consuming sufficient amounts of nutritious foods.

In a study published in The Lancet in April 2019, researchers identified sub-optimal diet as an important and preventable risk factor for chronic noncommunicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers assessed eating patterns of people in 195 different countries and collected data from nearly 30 years. The study showed that the United States had insufficient intake of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. In other words, if we don’t eat enough of these foods, it is bad for our health.

A recent analysis of the breakfast habits of 30,000 American adults highlights the role breakfast plays in meeting your nutritional needs. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society in April 2021, suggested that people who skip breakfast are missing out on important nutrients like folic acid, calcium, iron, and select vitamins. In addition, the study found that people who miss nutrients at breakfast stop consuming them later in the day.

If you’re one of those Americans who skips breakfast sometimes or all of the time, try these quick, easy, and tasty strategies to make breakfast a more regular part of your day – and make sure you’re getting your daily nutritional needs.

CONNECTED: 8 anti-inflammatory foods for multiple sclerosis

What should you include in your breakfast?

Breakfast is a great time to get a variety of important daily nutrients:

  • Complex carbohydrates These nutrients are found in whole grains, beans and legumes, colorful fruits and vegetables. Tip: The developers of the MIND diet specifically identified leafy greens and blueberries as foods that support brain health, which is important for MS.
  • Proteins You can get your morning protein fix from eggs, Greek yogurt, milk or soy milk, tofu, tempeh, nuts, nut butters, and seeds.
  • Heart-healthy fats Nut butters, avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds are great options.
  • calcium Meet your daily calcium needs by drinking low-fat or skimmed milk. Tip: If for whatever reason you are cutting out dairy products, make sure your alternative is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
  • Folate Start your day by including folate-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, cereals fortified with folic acid, wheat germ, and orange juice in your breakfast menus.
  • iron Fortified breakfast cereals, tofu, quinoa, and leafy vegetables like spinach are all sources of iron.

CONNECTED: 7 foods to ask your doctor about if you have MS

Fast and flexible breakfast to try

If you have MS, then you should try one of these simple and quick ideas:

  • Smoothies Mix together colorful berries, frozen pieces of banana, leafy greens, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, nut butters, and milk or a fortified milk alternative.
  • full grain Prepare a whole grain like oatmeal or quinoa with milk, or divide milk and water. Serve with berries and walnuts for flavor and nutritional boost.
  • Toast with avocado or guacamole Buying guacamole in single-serving cups like Wholly Guacamole’s saves you time.
  • cereal Dry muesli with low-fat milk is as easy as it gets – but not all breakfast cereals are created equal. Look for products that contain at least 3 grams (g) of fiber and have less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. Top with colored berries or cut fruits for more nutrients.
  • Breakfast rolls There is more than one way to make a breakfast sandwich:
    • Scrambled eggs or tofu with leafy vegetables, peppers and onions
    • Egg Salad Sandwich or Tofu Salad Sandwich
    • Peanut butter and jam. Tip: With wholemeal bread, this old-school classic is easy to prepare, easy to travel and makes for a balanced breakfast. And for a change, replace the jelly with a sliced ​​banana.

If you’d prefer to have a head start at breakfast, you can try a cook-to-order breakfast:

  • Reused leftovers If you like hearty foods in the morning, consider repeating last night’s dinner. For example, baked sweet potatoes with sautéed vegetables and an egg would be a colorful way to start the day. Or if you have salmon left over, add it to scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu, or add it to a sandwich.
  • Pre-portioned smoothie bags Put your favorite ingredients in a resealable bag, date them, and store them in the freezer until it’s smoothie time in the morning.
  • Baked Mini Frittatas or Egg Muffin Cups Use a muffin pan to make your favorite frittata recipe and enjoy all week.
  • Breakfast quesadillas or taco fillings Prepare the fillings for these dishes in advance. They could include eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, and lots of colorful vegetables.
  • Overnight Oats There are so many overnight oats recipes out there! Using milk or yogurt to make overnight oats gives you a protein boost – and add fruits, nuts, and seeds for texture, fiber, and more nutrients.

CONNECTED: 10 immune boosting smoothie recipes

Tips for a lighter breakfast in MS

While MS symptoms like fatigue can thwart your plans, these strategies can help keep your morning meal from derailing:

Write down 3 to 5 quick and easy breakfasts that you and your family enjoy

Once you have selected a few meals, make a list of all the foods required to prepare them. Display your list on the refrigerator, on a whiteboard, or anywhere else where it’s easy to see.

When items are needed, add them to the grocery list to replace them to ensure you always have what you need around the house.

Simplify breakfast time

Look for breakfast dishes that take 30 minutes or less and use very few ingredients.

Tip: If you want to use a slow cooker or instant pot pressure cooker, you can find breakfast recipes that take advantage of these time and energy savers.

Have a backup plan

Life is busy, schedules change, and MS symptoms can show up and use up your energy when you least expect it – so plan for it by having some foods on hand that require little or no preparation.

Meal planning simply means anticipating your needs in advance and developing a strategy for what to do when the inevitable happens. Do your best to keep your backup plan simple.

CONNECTED: Healthy eating habits in multiple sclerosis

MS Fatigue: How to Stack the Deck in Your Favor

It’s hard to explain what it feels like to live with a chronic disease like MS, especially when it comes to symptoms like fatigue. Christine Miserandino developed a metaphor called the spoon theory to describe the amount of mental or physical energy a person with a chronic illness has available for daily activities and tasks.

In her metaphor, Miserandino, who has lupus, describes how she starts each day with a finite number of spoons. Each task or activity she participates in costs her a certain number of spoons. When she runs out of spoons, she has no energy.

I love the spoon theory because it helps quantify how a chronic illness like MS affects your energy levels – something that is otherwise intangible.

I like to combine the spoon theory with another metaphor: the human body as a motor. And with people like me who have MS, that engine is less efficient.

Ideally, a person would start each day with a full tank, but people with MS start their day on just a gallon or two and we run out of energy quickly. This helps explain why tweaking our fuel choices is so important – and using another automotive reference of why it’s so important not to skip a pit stop like breakfast!

What research shows on diet and MS fatigue

Although there is no diet that generally improves MS symptoms, research has shown that a variety of diets can improve levels of fatigue in people with MS.

A study published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders in July 2016 showed that a very low-fat, plant-based diet was linked to significantly improved fatigue in people with MS.

Another study published in Degenerative Neurological and Neuromuscular Disease in January 2017 showed that the paleo diet can help reduce perceived fatigue in people with MS. However, the number of graduates in this study was very small.

Although these two diets differ in the foods they include and exclude, they similarly call for higher vegetable intake than a typical American diet, and both emphasize whole, unprocessed foods. These are changes that anyone can make without following a specific diet.

CONNECTED: 7 Ways To Combat MS Fatigue With Your Fork

Conclusion for breakfast

Breakfast matters. It’s an opportunity to energize your body and support the health of your brain – and perhaps more importantly for people with MS, a chance to start your day with a few more “spoons”!

If you find yourself skipping breakfast due to loss of appetite, be sure to tell your doctor. And if MS creates barriers that make it difficult to navigate your kitchen, you should ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist (OT). If you have any nutrition-related questions, your doctor can refer you to a registered dietitian.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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