Apr 02 2014

Butter is Back?

Eating butter in moderation has never been the problem,   adding butter to the typical American menu of  highly processed, refined and salty food is the problem.

The issue of whether butter hurts our heart took on new energy this Spring. Researchers writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the role of diet in heart disease and concluded: “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats”. The media headlines that followed simply implied: Go Back to Eating Butter.

I received several e-mails from friends and colleagues, forwarding articles on this subject. The New York Times article  Butter is Back written by Mark Bittman became the most e-mailed article of the day. If this is a subject that both interests  and confuses you please read the highlighted links below.

Start with Mark  Bittman’s  column  then read   Dr. David Katz of Yale University Linked in blog post on the subject. Dr Katz does a great service of explaining  the limitation of the study and the complexity of the issue .


Dr Katz’s Linked-in post led to an on-air interview with Mark Bittman,  Dr Dariush Mozaffarian,  co-author of the original Annals of Internal Medicine article, and cardiologist Dr. Stephanie Coulter on WBUR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook.  You can read the interview here: On Point

Dr Katz’s follow-up Linked-in post Another Dollop of (about, Actually) Butter does a superb job of putting the whole subject in perspective. Please read it if you are confused or feel you have cut back on animal products all these years in vain.

The following quote from his earlier post  sums up his opinion of how the media interpreted the original Annals of Internal Medicine article: ” If you don’t mind living in a world where everyone you know over age 50 is on multiple medications to fix what  lifestyle as medicine could fix far better, by all means add back the butter. If you think it’s normal that most adults of a certain age have had their chests opened up or their coronaries ballooned open, butter away.”

For those of you have switched out butter for flavorful plant oils, do not feel you have been duped. Eating more of a Mediterranean type diet based on plant proteins, healthy fats and oils, and delicious whole foods remains the recommended style of eating for optimal health.

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Mar 24 2014

How to Eat a Taco

Two Soft Tacos

Three Crisp Tacos

Mexican-flavored foods are a big hit with families and they can be very nutritious if you follow a few strategies:

  1. Keep the portion of ground beef and grated cheese moderate and load up on salsa, lettuce, and tomato.
  2. When making tacos try using ground turkey instead of ground beef, and try vegetable burger ( called crumbles) in the frozen food case at least once to see if you like it.
  3. Use only 16 ounces of ground meat to serve four diners and make sure you drain off as much fat as you can before adding seasoning mix or serving.
  4. Try  adding a can of rinsed kidney beans or refried beans into the meat mixture to boost fiber and replace some of the meat.
  5. Both crisp and soft tacos shells can fit on a healthy diet. Each small crisp taco shell (as pictured here) has 50 calories or 150 calories for three shells. The small soft tacos ( pictured here) each carry 80 calories, or 160 calories for two.

To balance the plate serve with  corn, vegetable salad and lots of chopped tomato and lettuce.  Skip the sour cream but include avocado or homemade guacamole if your family likes it.



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Mar 17 2014

How to Eat a Hot Dog

When hot dogs are on the family menu, and calories are a concern, serve hotdogs with non-starchy vegetables instead of baked beans or even fries.

One hot dog in a roll and 1 cup baked beans will carry about 620 calories and 87 g of carbohydrate. Eat two hot dogs and calories reach 870 calories and over 100 grams of carbohydrate.









Try serving a hot dog with green beans and coleslaw and save over 250 calories;

1 hot dog on 100 calorie roll (250 calories)   with 1 cup coleslaw you make yourself (100 calories), 1 cup green beans (40 calories). Eat two hot dogs with green beans and coleslaw and the calories reach 640.

Coleslaw mix 1.5 cups prepared coleslaw with 2 tbsp coleslaw dressing calories (140)


A hot dog in a classic 8 count beef package will carry about 140 calories each and 4 grams of protein. You might want to try something different. It won’t be hard to find a poultry hot dog with 90 calories and 6 grams of protein and consider a vegetarian hot dog made with tofu. I Like Tofu Pups  they carry 60 calories and 8 grams of protein. I also like Applegate Organic Beef hotdogs 110 kcal and 7 grams of protein or their chicken hot dog with just 70 calories and 8 grams of protein.

Mustard, ketchup, relish, pickles, and onions can top the hot dog without adding many calories.

When choosing a roll chose one in the 100 calorie range. In my experience whole grain hot dog rolls are worth the try A 110 calorie Natures Own 100% whole wheat Roll has 110 calories, and 5 grams of protein plus 3 grams of fiber, Yum.

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Mar 11 2014

When Every Calorie Counts

When unwanted weight loss occurs, it is essential that we take advantage of every opportunity to consume calories. In these situations even a balanced diet must take a back seat to providing enough calories. Custard, Flan ( pictured here) and pudding can be a delicious way to add calories and protein.

Knowing how to increase the calorie content of food is one of your best allies when appetite is poor. For example, adding 100 calories to each breakfast, lunch and dinner and providing two snacks each day adds up to 500 more calories daily, an amount that may stop weight loss and even produce a weight gain.

Here are three tips to add calories

  1. Melt any hard cheese over vegetables or toast, or stir it into sauces. Each ounce contains at least 100 calories.
  2. Add an extra egg to meat loaves, rice dishes, and casseroles, or whisk one into hot soups. One egg adds 70 to 80 calories.
  3. Use evaporated milk rather than regular milk in soups, casseroles, pudding or baked goods.


For more tips read this High Calorie Diet.

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Mar 03 2014

Baby food made in the Microwave

Published by under children

Microwave cooking is well suited to making your baby and child delicious meals and snacks. Cooking fast, which is what your microwave does best, retains more nutrients than slow cooking or boiling methods. A microwave cooks with little or no added liquid, and that means no nutrients are discarded in the cooking water. It also cooks fast, so nutrients are less likely to be destroyed in fact, studies show that microwave cooking retains more vitamin C and more B vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine and folic acid- than conventional methods. The microwave oven also retains more flavor and color- particularly of vegetables- and this increases the chance that baby will want to eat them.

Despite the fact that most Americans now have microwave ovens, you still may have a nagging concern about safety. The waves in your oven are similar to radio waves, and once food is cooked they dissipate. The real safety issues when preparing baby food are preventing burns from food that is too hot and food poisoning from food that is under cooked. Here are tips for making wholesome safe baby food in a microwave:

  1. Cook, meat, fish and poultry until steaming hot. Allow all cooked food  to cool before serving.
  2. Rotate or stir foods while cooking to distribute the heat.
  3. Cover foods during or after cooking to keep heat in and allow for even heat distribution.
  4. Allow foods to “rest” covered, before serving. Resting simply allows the food to sit, still covered, for 2 to 5 minutes after you have removed it from the oven.
  5. Another way to make sure meat is fully cooked is to check the temperature. If you do not already have a food thermometer you can get one in many super markets or hardware stores.

More tips about Food Safety and Cooking temps


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