On paper, healthy eating should be as easy as walking through a park on a sunny day, but it’s actually more like maneuvering through a food minefield – something you can trace back to clever packaging and marketing that certain products are better for They position themselves as others.
If you pick up packaged foods with words like “fruits,” “vegetables,” “whole grains,” or “high protein” on their labels, it’s natural to assume that they will provide you with some amount of extra nutrition.
The reality, however, is that a number of these foods benefit from an undeserved health value that can easily make them appear better to you than they actually are. If you’re not careful, this seemingly healthy trap can undermine your training.
In order to make the best dietary decisions, it is helpful to be clear about what is actually healthy and what is mainly food marketing hype.
We scoured multiple food labels and spoke to nutritionists to track down some of the biggest health food scammers in the supermarket – and how to choose healthy foods instead.
1. Whole wheat bread
If you’re not careful, you could easily believe that you are eating more whole grains than you actually are. Breads, tortillas and bagels that advertise with slogans such as “with whole grain”, “7-grain”, “multigrain”, “pumpernickel” or “gluten-free” are often refined grains in disguise.
“Consumers cannot rely on these labels to mean ‘whole grains’ unless they check the ingredient list,” Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read it Before You Eat It, told Runner’s World. “Multigrain, for example, just means that there are a lot of grains in the product and may or may not contain whole grains.” In other words, your lunch sandwich made with healthy-sounding 7-grain bread might contain mostly refined white flour.
There can be some health effects from skipping on whole grain products such as whole grain bread. A study in the BMJ found that adults with a high consumption of refined grains were at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and early death, as well as increased systolic blood pressure, compared to those who normally consumed low amounts of refined grains. “Whole grains contain whole grains – bran, endosperm and germs – and provide more nutrients and fiber,” says Taub-Dix.
To make sure you’re making your breakfast toast or lunch sandwiches healthier, Taub-Dix says you’ll want to turn the package over to see where whole grains are on the ingredient list.
“Choose the products that list whole grains as the first grain ingredient,” says Taub-Dix. So this should be a whole wheat flour like whole wheat flour or rye whole wheat flour / flour and not wheat flour, which is just a euphemism for white flour. This way you will get more fiber and a wider variety of essential vitamins and minerals. A label that says “100 percent wholegrain” cannot contain refined flour.
According to Taub-Dix, when shopping for gluten-free pearls, look for options that result in using gluten-free whole wheat flours like brown rice, oats, amaranth, or sorghum instead of less nutritious ingredients like rice flour or tapioca starch.
2. Flavored Greek yogurt
Packed with protein, calcium, and probiotics, Greek yogurt is a great foodie. However, if you’re not careful, your favorite fruit yogurt could be tainted by surprisingly high levels of added sugar – also known as sugar, which comes from sources other than what’s naturally found in dairy products (lactose) and fruits. Berry, vanilla, and other flavored Greek yogurts can bring in three times as much sugar compared to simple versions.
The research has not been kind regarding the role that consuming too much sugar in your diet has on health outcomes. For example, a report in Open Heart magazine suggests that ingesting high amounts of added sugar can increase the chances of developing heart disease.
The American Heart Association suggests that men and women should limit their added sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) and 6 teaspoons (25 grams), respectively, daily. A 6-ounce serving of berry-flavored yogurt can provide up to 15 grams of the added material, so it can make a big dent in your daily allotment if you’re not careful.
According to Taub-Dix, choosing simple versions of Greek yogurt and sweetening them with berries or other chopped fruit would be a smart move. “Adding your own fresh fruit is beneficial for many reasons: You get less or no added sugar and benefit from the multitude of nutrients in the fruit.” that the fruits are distributed better.
If you like the taste of vanilla yogurt but not the sugar that usually comes with it, just stir a few dashes of pure vanilla extract into your yogurt bowl. If you just can’t part with fruit-flavored yogurt, Taub-Dix recommends looking for brands that list real fruit before sugar in their ingredient list and contain no more than 5 to 7 grams of sugar per serving. (For your information, the additional sugar content in grams is now shown on the nutrition labels.)
3. Vegetable chips
They have “Veggie” in their name and bright vegetable photos on the packaging, so they have to be better for you than potato chips, right? In reality, some veggie chips are just vegetables like sweet potatoes or beetroot that are baked until crispy with a little fat and spices and then packaged.
“Vegetable chips that have vegetables listed as the first ingredient have a nutritional advantage over traditional potato chips because they contain the fiber and phytonutrients found in fresh vegetables,” says Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, owner of Active Eating Advice. “But they can be lower than fresh [vegetables] in certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, and are higher in calories since they have no water content and are supplied with additional fats. ”
In other words, just because they are made from vegetables doesn’t mean they are an adequate substitute for fresh versions. “A problem arises when people end up eating more than a reasonable serving,” says Bonci.
Another category of vegetarian snacks are packaged sticks and puffs, which are usually made from potato starch and potato flour (or cassava flour), vegetable oil, and some spinach or other vegetable powder as an almost afterthought to the ingredient mix.
“A lot of people will eat these thinking that they are consuming a serving of vegetables and the nutrients in them when they are really only getting one serving of low-nutritional starchy carbohydrates,” says Bonci. Often times they have fewer calories and grams of fat than regular potato chips, but sometimes they provide more sodium than their spud counterparts. If you’re looking to get a real vegetarian boost in your diet, look for ways to incorporate whole vegetables into your snacking routine – baby carrots with a few nuts or strips of pepper dipped in hummus will do the trick.
4. Ground chicken
If you choose to use minced chicken as an alternative to beef – since it can be used in many of the same ways – you may get a lot more calories and saturated fat than you hoped for. This is because, according to Taub-Dix, products labeled “minced chicken” or “minced turkey” can contain lean white breast meat as well as slightly more fatty skin and dark meat.
A 3-ounce serving of regular ground chicken can contain 10 grams or more of fat, compared to just a few grams of fat in ground chicken breasts. That means more saturated fat in your meat sauce or chicken burger to look out for: Reducing your saturated fat intake from meat and replacing those calories with polyunsaturated fats from plant foods like nuts and seeds is a recipe for better heart health in the long run.
“When buying minced meat, you can pay attention to the label“ extra lean ”, which means you only get the leaner breast meat,” says Taub-Dix. This means that the ground beef has nutritional value very similar to that of whole breast – high in protein and low in saturated fat.
Sometimes the list of ingredients will indicate that only the breast meat was used. Another indicator of leanness is the color: If the manufacturer uses fatter parts of the bird, the minced meat is dark pink with a lower lean content of around 80 to 85 percent. If the manufacturer uses white breast meat all or almost exclusively, the hue is light pink and the meat is high in lean content – usually 95 percent or more.
5. Protein biscuits
The main selling point here is that these cookies, high in protein and fiber – up to 15 and 10 grams per cookie, respectively – are often considered a healthier choice than your mom’s chocolate chip recipe. However, the calorie and sugar content is usually high, at 250 calories and 15 grams or more of sugar per cookie, and many brands use refined grains as a base.
“Since some of these are really high-calorie, they can list a serving as half-biscuits that few people are likely to limit themselves to,” says Bonci.
Protein usually comes from ingestion of whey or a vegetable protein like pea, but Bonci emphasizes that we shouldn’t get our protein from packaged baked goods – instead, we should get our protein from more nutritious whole foods like poultry, dairy products, eggs and legumes. Also, few runners ingest enough protein to get more out of a cookie.
Bonci adds that if you are not used to it, consuming large amounts of indigestible fiber like chicory root in these products can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort. “If you have one of these before your run, you may be finished before you start having digestive problems,” she says. Some brands use sugar alternatives such as Erithrytol and monk fruit extract, but these can add unsavory flavors.
However, when recovering from a tough workout, Bonci agrees that these non-perishable modified cookies contain the carbohydrates and protein you need to help you regenerate muscles.
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Guiding the way to thrive
Jan Juc naturopath Rebecca Winkler has always found joy in the practice of cooking nourishing meals for others.
That pastime spilled over into developing recipes and it was during lockdown that her culinary passion led her to become a qualified plant-based chef and a raw dessert chef.
Now the mum-of-two has expertly thrown all of her skills into the mix to achieve a long-held goal of producing a book.
Released as an eBook, with a print version to hopefully follow, 14 Day Whole Food Feast is a comprehensive two-week meal plan designed to nourish the body and delight the tastebuds.
Within its pages are recipes for whole food snacks, lunch and dinner meals, lunchbox ideas, and time-saving tips.
14 Day Whole Food Feast by Rebecca Winkler is available now as an eBook.
“My motivation was both personal and professional,” Rebecca says.
“On a professional note, I found so many patients were having difficulty finding family-friendly, whole food recipes to help them navigate various dietary needs.
“The recipes are easy to follow, a shopping list is provided and time frames are taken into account so slower cooked meals or more time-consuming recipes are saved for weekends.”
Rebecca says the eBook can function purely as a recipe resource or be followed meticulously for a 14-day reset.
“Food prep guidance is given at the start of each week in order to get ahead and be organized as possible.
The eBook includes lunch, dinner and snack ideas, as well as shopping lists and naturopathic advice.
“Dinners are often incorporated into leftovers for lunch the next day and naturopathic guidance is provided around ways to maximize your time by incorporating regular exercise and practicing self-care.”
The idea for the book began to brew in 2019 during a solo trip Rebecca took with colleagues which gave her the space to establish a clear vision for the content she wanted to share.
“I began developing and refining recipe, enlisting a beautiful photographer and graphics team to allow my dream to be realised.
“The long-term plan is to release a number of other eBooks and, eventually, print a hard copy, real-life book to be loved and to splash your chocolate and bolognaise sauce on. The kind of recipe book that you find yourself grabbing time and time again.”
The eBook is filled with nutritious recipes and much more.
So, what are some of Rebecca’s personal favorites featured in her carefully curated eBook?
“Ooh, that’s like trying to choose a favorite child,” she laughs.
“I know it might seem boring, but the slow-cooked bolognaise with hand-made gluten-free fettucine is an absolute favourite.
“We make it weekly in my house and every time my kids exclaim ‘this is the best bolognaise ever’.”
The slow cooked beef pie, kafir lime chicken balls and whole food cranberry bliss balls are also hard to pass up, she says.
Rebecca avoids listing ideal ingredients for people to incorporate into their diet, instead saying the most beneficial ingredients are those that make you feel at your best.
“Not everyone tolerates grains, some don’t tolerate fruit, others have difficulty digesting meat and protein.
“My advice is to listen and take note of how your body feels when you eat.
“Are you bloated, do you have pain in your gut, loose stools, headaches or fatigue?
Rebecca is a qualified naturopath, as well as being a plant-based chef and raw dessert chef.
“I am more inclined to advise people to source good quality ingredients, grow what they can, and cook from scratch as much as time and money allows.
“Eat three meals a day and snack only if you are hungry, growing, pregnant or exercising.
“Try to consume 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight. Add plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, variety and colour.
“Our gut flora thrives on variety, so mix up your veggies, fruits, grain, legumes and proteins. Eat the rainbow.”
To get the most out of the eBook, the author suggests reading it from cover-to-cover and choosing a 14-day period where you are at home and have minimal social engagements.
Rebecca is passionate about naturopathy which she describes as a holistic, comprehensive view of the body in its entirety and “a wonderful adjunct to Western Medicine for patients as it ensures medical due diligence is exercised, adequate diagnostic testing where appropriate and an individualized approach to restoring health”.
Rebecca’s advice is to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to healthy food choices.
She says many of her clients are seeking ways to regain optimal health following extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic.
“There is no doubt that most of us found ourselves allowing more in alcohol and comfort foods over lockdown, which is nothing to feel ashamed about.
“In such a difficult, confining and overwhelming time, we sought comfort where ever it may lie for us.
“This is not a failure, it was merely a way for so many to cope. I never judge anyone’s choices, I merely try to support, understand and listen.
“Often we already know what we need to do to rebuild or move forward, simply sharing and being heard without shame or judgment is therapeutic.
“I cannot describe to you the genuine joy that seeing people thrive provides.”
14 Day Whole Food Feast retails for $19.95 and on the Rebecca Winkler website. Discover more and contact Rebecca via her Facebook page, Instagram @rebeccawinklernaturopath or email [email protected]
Get to know farro and other superfood whole grains
By Casey Barber, CNN
Quinoa has reached a level of superfood status not seen since the great kale takeover of the aughts. Equally embraced and mocked in pop culture, it’s become the symbol of the grain bowl generation. It’s not the only whole grain that’s worth bringing to the table, however.
The world of whole grains is wide, and if quinoa and brown rice have been the only grains on your plate, it’s time to expand your palate. Here’s an introduction to whole grains, along with tips for cooking and enjoying them.
What’s a whole grain?
The term “whole grains” encompasses all grains and seeds that are, well, whole. They retain all their edible parts: the fiber-rich outer bran layer; the carbohydrate-rich endosperm center, which makes up the bulk of the grain itself; and the inner core, or germ, which is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats.
On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and all-purpose flour have been milled to remove the bran and germ, stripping away much of the fiber, protein and vitamins, and leaving only the starchy endosperm.
“A lot of people don’t realize that whole grains contain several grams of protein in addition to vitamins and antioxidants,” said Nikita Kapur, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. With every serving of whole grains, “you get a ton of minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which is especially important for good health.”
So-called “ancient grains” fall under the umbrella of whole grains, though the phrase is more of a marketing term than a marker of a more nutritious option. Ancient grains refer to whole grains like millet, amaranth, kamut and, yes, quinoa that have been the staple foods of cultures for several hundred years. They are not hybridized or selectively bred varieties of grains, like most modern wheat, rice and corn.
And though quinoa has gotten all the press as a whole grain superfood, there’s good reason to try others. Trying a variety of whole grains isn’t just a way to mix up your same-old side dish routine. It’s also a chance to get a wider portfolio of minerals and more into your diet.
“Suffice to say, we need to have a more diverse plant-based diet” to get the full complement of recommended nutrients in our meals, Kapur said, “and we can’t get it from the same 10 or 20 foods.
“One grain might have more manganese, another more zinc or magnesium, and another more protein,” she added. “Try one as a pasta, one as a porridge — you do you, as long as there’s a variety.”
Familiar foods like oats, corn, brown and other colors of rice, as well as wild rice (which is an aquatic grass), are all considered whole grains, but there are many others you’ll want to add to your regular repertoire.
Some whole grains to get to know
amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that can be simmered until soft for a creamy polenta-like dish, but it also makes a deliciously crunchy addition to homemade energy bars or yogurt bowls when it’s been toasted. To toast amaranth seeds, cook over medium heat in a dry pan, shaking frequently until they begin to pop like minuscule popcorn kernels.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and botanically related to rhubarb, but these polygonal seeds (also called groats) don’t taste anything like fruit. You might already be familiar with buckwheat flour, used in pancakes and soba noodles, or Eastern European kasha, which is simply toasted buckwheat.
Faro is the overarching Italian name for three forms of ancient wheat: farro piccolo, or einkorn; farro medio, or emmer; and farro grande, or spelled. The farro you typically find at the store is the emmer variety, and it’s a rustic, pumped-up wheat berry that’s ideal as a grain bowl base. Or make an Italian-inspired creamy Parmesan farro risotto.
Freekeh is a wheat variety that’s harvested when unripe, then roasted for a surprisingly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Freekeh’s taste is distinctive enough that it steals the spotlight in your meals, so use it in ways that highlight its flavor. It’s fantastic in a vegetarian burrito bowl paired with spicy salsa, or in a warming chicken stew.
kamut is actually the trademarked brand name for an ancient type of wheat called Khorasan, which features large grains, a mild taste and tender texture. It’s a good, neutral substitute for brown rice in a pilaf or as a side dish. Or try this high-protein grain in a salad with bold flavors like arugula, blood orange and walnut.
millet is a gluten-free seed with a cooked texture similar to couscous. Teff is a small variety of millet that’s most frequently used as the flour base for Ethiopian injera flatbread. Try raw millet mixed into batters and doughs for a bit of crunch, like in this millet skillet cornbread recipe, or use either teff or millet cooked in a breakfast porridge.
How to cook any whole grain
While cooking times vary for each grain, there’s one way to cook any whole grain, whether it’s a tiny seed or a large, chewy kernel: Boil the grains like pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of kosher salt. Add the grains and cook, tasting as you go, until tender. Small grains like amaranth and quinoa can cook fully in five to 15 minutes, while larger grains like farro and wild rice can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour — so keep an eye on your pot and check it frequently.
Drain well in a mesh strainer (to catch all those small grains) and either use immediately or allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for later meals. Cooked whole grains can also be portioned, frozen and stored in airtight bags for up to six months.
If you want to cook your whole grains in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, this chart offers grain-to-water ratios for many of the grains mentioned here.
The CNN Wire
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Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. foods Stories.
Travel: A quaint county seat with Mayberry charm | Lifestyles – Travel
I finally ventured out for my first road trip of 2022 earlier this month. It’s been way too long since I took a little trip and it was long overdue. My last little getaway was in Chicago the week of Christmas. The day I returned I wasn’t feeling very well and an at-home test confirmed that I had COVID — again.
The first time was in November 2020 and it was a severe case that landed me in the hospital with pneumonia and difficulty breathing and then many months of recovery. Luckily this time around it just lasted a couple of weeks. At the same time I was pushing through COVID we were in the process of moving. And my Dad, who had tested positive for COVID not long before me, passed away. So, it’s been a heck of a start to 2022. A getaway was much needed.
It was a brief 24 hours in the Indianapolis area, but as always I packed a bit in and had a lot of good food. On our way down we stopped off in Rensselaer for lunch at Fenwick Farms Brewing Co. and took a little walk to check out the murals that are part of the Ren Art Walk. That evening I attended a media opening of the newly reopened Dinosphere exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
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It’s a place I adore and still enjoy visiting even though my kids are teenagers and young adults now. I love being greeted by the huge Bumblebee character on the way in from what is probably my favorite action move, “The Transformers.” The largest children’s museum in the world has so much to see and I’ve loved having the chance to explore it both with and without my kids.
After the event it was a quick overnight at Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, and in the morning we headed to Danville. Danville is the county seat of Hendricks County. I adore county seats with downtown squares and this is one of my favorites. On an earlier visit there we were in town for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, which had lots of activities related to the classic TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” that was set in the fictional town of Mayberry.
Danville definitely has that charming, inviting, friendly small town vibe that feels like it could be a sitcom setting. We ate at the Mayberry Cafe where old episodes play on television screens and the menu is full of down-home, made-with-love comfort foods, with a specialty being “Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken.” I tried it and it was very tasty. The whole place made me smile like Opie after a fishing outing with his dad.
This time our dining destination was The Bread Basket. I had tried their desserts at a few events, but it was my first time dining in. It’s located in a house that was built for the president of Central Normal College in 1914 and is cute and cozy. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot, so plan to go early and be prepared for a wait during peak times (but it’s well worth it).
My Dilly Turkey Sandwich on fresh wheat nut bread with an Orchard Salad was delicious. I loved that they had a combo option where you could pick a half sandwich and half salad or cup of soup. But the desserts are the real star here. I stared at that dessert case for several minutes — and I wasn’t the only one.
I was seated next to it, and watched intently each time they removed a pie or cake from the case to cut a slice. I tried the Hummingbird Cake, which was a perfect treat without being too rich, and then noticed another that was so unique I had to get a slice to take home — the Blackberry Wine Chocolate Cake. If you go there and are overwhelmed with choices, go with this. You won’t regret it.
After lunch, we made our way over to the Hendricks County Historical Museum & Old County Jail, which is just off the square. For someone like me who loves history, this was a wonderful stop to incorporate into our day. It was built in 1866 and used as a jail all the way up until 1974. You can go into the old jail cells (two on the female side and four on the male side) and tour the sheriff’s home.
An exhibit has information and artifacts from when Central Normal College existed (later Canterbury College). There’s also a temporary chronological exhibit about music and musicians, featuring many Hoosier hitmakers.
After the visit, I took a breezy little walk around the square, where I was reminded that there is a nostalgic old movie theater. The historic Danville Royal Theater dates back to the early 1900s and shows current movies for just $5 a ticket.
It was then getting close to dinner time, so we decided to eat before we headed back home. A place in the nearby town of North Salem had been recommend to me and I am so glad we took time to visit. I chatted for a few minutes with Damiano Perillo, owner of Perillo’s Pizzeria. He’s a native of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The food is authentic and almost all of it is made fresh daily, including their garlic rolls, marinara and alfredo sauces. The New York-style pizzas are perfection.
They even have a nearby garden where they grow many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. They have gluten free pastas, too, and the lady at the next table had some and was raving about it. We also tried the homemade Sicilian cannoli and the limoncello flute, and trust me when I say to definitely not skip dessert.
There was one last food stop. Although we had just eaten, I realized we’d be driving right by Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and just couldn’t pass it up. I made my husband pull in and pick up some food to go. We got the brisket and their house made pimento cheese, chorizo and kielbasa and took it home. I was introduced to it last fall and there is a reason they have been voted Best BBQ in the Indy area four years in a row. I loved hearing about how this eatery located next to a railroad literally stops trains in their tracks to get food from this award-winning BBQ joint.
All three of these places — The Bread Basket, Perillo’s Pizzeria and Rusted Silo are ones that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area.
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Guiding the way to thrive
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