5 Easy Steps to Making Organic “Healthier” Macaroni and Cheese

USDA Organic

Figure 1

What is Organic Food?

This article provides general information on organic food. For more detail on the subject, please visit the websites in the references section. Organic food is readily available in many grocery stores. People choose to eat organic food for several reasons. They either want to eat more healthy, decrease their chances of preventable diseases, or support sustainable farming techniques. For many reasons, eating and buying organic food can be very beneficial. HelpGuide.org defines the word organic as “the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Specific requirements must be met and maintained in order for products to be labeled as “organic” (2014).

The Figure 1 is the label the United States Department of Agriculture uses to inform customers/consumers of foods that meet government organic food standards.

 

organic-food-sales

 

Organic farming uses natural fertilizers for the plants and soil.  Organic foods taste fresher because they don’t contain preservatives. Conventional farming foods use preservatives.  In regards to meat products, growth hormones and antibiotics are not used on the farm animals.  Pesticides are not used on the crop, and neither is genetically modified organisms (GMOs). With genetically modified organisms, the DNA in plants and animals have been altered. The way in which they have been changed doesn’t occur naturally in nature. GMOs were created to prevent weedkillers from destroying crops. There is some controversy over the subject. There are no long term studies on the safety of eating foods with GMOs. Research on the connection between GMOs and negative health effects are inconclusive.Organic-vs-Natural

Below is information provided by HelpGuide.org to assist in the understanding of the difference between organic and non-organic produce.

 

Organic vs. Non-organic Produce

 

Organic produce:

  • No Pesticides in production
  • Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost).
  • Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling).
  • Insects are controlled using natural methods (birds, good insects, traps).

Conventionally grown produce:

  • Pesticides used
  • Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
  • Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.
  • Insecticides are used to manage pests and disease.

HelpGuide.org has also provided a chart to show the difference between organically raised and conventionally raised farm animals. Chart 1 has been modified to simplify the information.

Organic Meat and Dairy Conventional Meat and Dairy
  • No antibiotics, hormones, GMOs or pesticides are given to animals
  • Livestock are given all organic feed.
  • Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and a healthy diet.
  • Livestock and milking cows must graze on pasture for at least four months a year, while chickens must have freedom of movement, fresh air, direct sunlight and access to the outside.
  • Typically given antibiotics, hormones, and GMO feed grown with pesticides.
  • Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth.
  • Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
  • Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.

Chart 1– Organic vs. Conventional Meat and Dairy
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recognized the importance of organic foods. They have established standards for the production and process of organic foods. There is a label stated “USDA Organic” on foods that meet these regulatory standards (see Figure 1 above).

organic strawberry graph

Mayo Clinic states that “Products certified 95 percent or more organic may display this USDA seal…Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say “made with organic ingredients” on the label, but may not use the seal” (2014). Conventionally grown foods are also required to meet the same quality and safety standards. Some people may shy away from choosing organic products because they feel those products cost more than conventionally grown foods. The reason for the high prices of organic foods is due to expensive farming practices. Organic farming is more laborious than conventional farming. Organic.org states that “Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Therefore, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing” (2014). Lack of government funding affects the wages of organic farmers. Higher prices are necessary to sustain the farming practices.

Helpful Tips to Benefit from Organic Lifestyle

wash fruit and vegetablesTo fully benefit from the organic lifestyle, here are some helpful tips you can follow.

  1. Always buy in season. Fruits and vegetables are the freshest and most delicious when they are in season.
  2. Wash fruits and vegetables. Bacteria and other chemicals may still reside in or on the produce you purchase.
  3. Visit your local farmers market. Purchasing from vendors closer to home helps sustain the vitality and economy of the city you live in.
  4. Check food labels. Organic food labels may be very confusing to someone who is unfamiliar with the ingredients.

“Healthier” Macaroni and Cheese Recipe 

To familiarize myself with organic food. I wanted to make a dish made up of organic ingredients and items. Granted, the recipe isn’t 100% organic due to additives and other food coloring agents. I visited a local Whole Foods Market to purchase a few things to make a “healthier” alternative to an American Classic, macaroni and cheese.  Below is the list of ingredients I used to make the dish along with the images. I have provided the nutrition facts on the ingredients, and broken down the steps necessary to make the dish.

Ingredients:

4 cups of water
Pasta labelMacroni box labe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 cups of organic nonGMO macaroni noodles

 

cheese labelchesse label
 

 

 

 

 

4 cups of cheese (not organic but produced without added hormones)

 

butter lid

butter label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Tbs of nonGMO buttery spread

 

milk back label

milk label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Cup 2 % milk (from cows not treated with rBST)

 

Step 1:

Boil water in a medium size pot. Turn heat on high. Then cover pot with the lid.

wate in pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

When water is boiling, add macaroni noodles. Stir occasionally for 10-12 mins until noodles are tender.

boiling water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

When noodles are tender, drain them in a colander. Let stand for 2 mins.

cooked noddles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:

Place noodles back in the pot. Using a large spoon, add milk, butter, and cheese.

Step 5:
Stir until ingredients are mixed thoroughly, then enjoy!

Macroni and cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word “healthier” is used very loosely, Since I am not a nutritionist, I’m not sure if this recipe is less in calories and fat than a traditional macaroni and cheese recipe. I do know that the grocery items I bought do not contain pesticides, antibiotics, GMO’s, or hormones, so I choose to call it a “healthier recipe.”  This recipe can serve 4 people. This recipe is one that I created myself, however I’m sure it can be changed to suit the palate of any person.

 

References

HelpGuide.org. (2014). What is organic food?. Are Organic Foods Right for You?. Retrieved December 19, 2014, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm

 

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Organic food: Are they safer? More nutritious?. Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved December 18, 2014, from

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880

 

Organic.org. (2014). Organic Myths. Organic Education. Retrieved December 20, 2014, from

http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-207

 

 

__________________________________________________

This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

 

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Choosing Foods to Enhance Your Mood – 20 Powerful Mood Boosters!

Can eating certain foods change your mood? Which foods affect us negatively? Which foods make us happy? Do we make good food choices when we are sad?

Top 20 Food Mood Boosters

Can food alter our mood? Which foods make us happier? Which foods make us sad? 20 Powerful Food Mood Boosters!

Hippocrates is credited to saying, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” People have known about the emotional, psychological and physical healing effects of foods since the beginning of time.  But does scientific research back up these findings?

For the past 100 years, nutrition research  has evolved dramatically with animal and human trials showing how certain foods can change the brain structure, effect health and healing and human and animal physiology.  We’ve discovered that foods that directly influence brain neurotransmitter systems have the greatest effect on our moods, expectations, and perceptions.

“What you eat can affect your mood and how well your brain works,” says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology research scientist and coauthor of The Serotonin Power Diet


HOW DO CARBOHYDRATES BOOST OUR MOOD?

People tend to eat foods high in carbohydrates when they are depressed and seeking a lift in their mood.

Oatmeal

High fiber foods, like oatmeal, can keep serotonin flowing steadily and prevent mood swings.

According to Dr. Wurtman, in order to have a positive mood effect from eating foods, we should eat carbohydrates that are rich in fiber — like oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or beans — so that your body will absorb the carbohydrates slowly, keeping serotonin flowing steadily; otherwise, we will digest the food too quickly and cause a mood swing boost followed by another emotional low.

Larry Christensen (1992), concluded in  Effects of Eating Behavior on Mood: A Review of the Literature,  that ” individuals experiencing a negative mood state arising from disorders ranging from tobacco withdrawal to premenstrual symptoms make use of carbohydrate ingestion, especially simple carbohydrates, to provide a temporary lifting of mood. However, other evidence suggests that some individuals may obtain a more permanent control of their negative mood state by eliminating simple carbohydrates from their diet. While the literature is consistent in demonstrating that carbohydrate consumption can alter a negative mood state, the underlying mechanism mediating this relationship is unknown.”

 

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is high in magnesium and can reduce depression and anxiety.

WHAT FOODS OR FOOD INGREDIENTS HELP WITH DEPRESSION?
Many people are who are depressed and lethargic, are unaware that they are dehydrated and lack sufficient daily intake of water. Dehydration leads to fatigue, depression, confusion, and altered mood.  Increasing daily consumption of water improves memory, stamina and positive outlook.

A primary food that has been shown to boost the mood is dark chocolate which is high in magnesium.  Magnesium calms muscles and reduces anxiety. Dark chocolate also contains tryptophan, which helps reduce symptoms of depression.  Blue potatoes have powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins provide neuro-protective qualities, and help to reduce the brain inflammation associated with depression.

Honey contains kaempferol and quercetin, which also helps to prevent depression by reducing inflammation in the brain.

 

WHICH FOOD HELP TO ENERGIZE THE BRAIN?

spinach

Spinach is helpful in raising energy and preventing mood swings.

Spinach is high in folic acid, a B vitamin, and also high in antioxidants that are helpful in raising energy and preventing mood swings.  Probiotics  found in Greek yogurt, for example, can boost the mood and the immune system. Tomatoes also help the brain and boost the mood with its high level of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that fights brain inflammation.  Eggs contain moderate-to-large amounts of Zinc, Vitamin B, Iodine, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and protein, and keep you energized.  Research suggests that flavonoids in blueberries  may improve memory, including reasoning, decision making, verbal and numerical problem solving abilities and general cognitive function. Research studies suggest that consuming flavonoids found in blueberries may help provide protection against disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Walnuts, salmon and other foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain.

 

Juicing

Fresh vegetable or fruit juices provide necessary enzymes and nutrients to energize the body.

Juiced fresh, raw  fruits, berries, or vegetables give an energy boost and feeling of mental alertness and exhilaration. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are an easy way for everyone to get essential enzymes, minerals, vitamins  and nutrients that people may not normally get in a daily diet. Raw juices with dark leafy greens are loaded with antioxidants that can help detoxify, revitalize and restore depleted energy.

 

Calm woman

Certain foods have a calming effect on the body and aid in reducing depression. Omega-3 fatty acids may boost the mood.

DO OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS DECREASE DEPRESSION?
Much research has been conducted in recent years on the benefits of eating foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, but do these foods affect the mood?   According to results of a study presented on Mar. 4, 2006 by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Denver, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may influence mood, personality and behavior. Researchers studied 106 healthy volunteers, and  found that participants who had lower blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were more likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression, a more negative outlook and be more impulsive. Conversely, those with higher blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable. The study was conducted by Dr. Sarah Conklin, and others, and was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),

Omega 3 Foods

Foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids include salmon, walnuts, olive oil, flax seed, brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Some foods which are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are: flaxseed oil, fish oil, walnut oil, salmon, mackerel, chia seeds, sardines, radish seeds, fresh basil, walnuts, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Sometimes other foods such as cereals, bread, yogurt, orange juice, milk, and eggs are  fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.  Comparisons were made by analyzing levels of omega-3 fatty acids in participants’ blood and comparing that data to the participants’ scores on three accepted tests for depression, impulsiveness and personality.  This study by Dr. Sarah Conklin, was co-authored by Jennifer I. Harris, M.D., psychiatry resident, department of psychiatry, Brown University; Stephen B. Manuck, Ph.D., University Professor of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, department of psychology, University of Pittsburgh; Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D., chief of outpatient clinic, Lab of Membrane Biophysics and Biochemistry, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH; and Matthew F. Muldoon, M.D., associate professor, department of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is helpful in calming the nerves and inducing sleepiness.


WHICH FOODS ARE CALMING AND REDUCE STRESS?

Chamomile
can be very calming as is Valerian root.  Both are helpful in calming the nerves and inducing sleep.   Green tea is high in theanine, an antioxidant which has a calming effect.   Avocados contain serotonin, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter.

For many years serotonin has been known to play an important  role in calming the body and in inducing sleep.  However,  according to a study by Portas CM, Bjorvatn B, Ursin R., (2000), serotonin plays a dual role, affecting both the sleeping and waking cycle and can also be a cause of insomnia or wakefulness.  Researchers conclude, “The apparent inconsistency between an inhibitory and a facilitatory role played by serotonin on sleep has at least two possible explanations. On the one hand serotonergic modulation on the sleep/wake cycle takes place through a multitude of post-synaptic receptors which mediate different or even opposite responses; on the other hand the achievement of a behavioral state depends on the complex interaction between the serotonergic and other neurotransmitter systems.”

pistachios

Students eating pistachios had reduced stress before a math test

A study using pistachios showed that  1 1/2 oz of these nuts reduced the effects of stress on people taking a math test in a Penn State University study, Effects of Pistachios on Cardiovascular Responses to Stress in Type 2 Diabetes.”

“Participants still found the test to be stressful, but their blood pressure response was lower than when they took the same test while consuming a low-fat diet,” says study author Sheila West, Ph.D.

 

Seedless grapes

More people watching sad movie preferred popcorn over grapes. People watching the happy movie consumed more grapes and less popcorn.

DO PEOPLE CHOOSE UNHEALTHY FOODS WHEN SAD OR FRIGHTENED?
Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing, Applied Economics and Management at Cornell, Nitika Garg of the University of Mississippi and J. Jeffrey Inman of the University of Pittsburgh, conducted a study which was published in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of MarketingThe Influence of Incidental Affect on Consumers’ Food Intake.  The study found that people eat more less-healthy comfort foods when they are sad. Participants either watched a happy or a sad movie and were provided with the choice of eating buttered popcorn or seedless grapes during the movie. The group watching the happy movie consumed significantly more grapes and less popcorn than the group watching the sad movie.


“While each of us may look for a comfort food when we are either sad or happy, we are likely to eat more of it when we are sad,”
Wansink concluded.

The researchers found that the sad people with no nutritional information ate twice as much popcorn as those feeling happy. Additionally, when participants were provided with nutritional information, the sad movie attendees consumed less popcorn than the happy movie attendees and the happy group didn’t change their eating habits and continued to eat more grapes.

Researchers Schotte,  Cools, and  McNally came to similar conclusions in a 1990 study. Sixty women were classified as either restrained or unrestrained eaters on the basis of their responses to the Revised Restraint Scale, and exposed to frightening films.  Subjects classified as “high restraint” exposed to the frightening film ate more than did equally restrained subjects exposed to a neutral film or low restraint subjects exposed to either film.

Woman yogurt

Yogurt can be beneficial in reducing depression and boosting the mood.

Foods have been shown to have powerful and even addictive qualities because of their effects on mood.  Haddock and Dill (2000) in an article reviewing of  the psychoactive effects of food and mood on obesity and eating disorders, concluded,

“The addictions model of obesity claims that individuals gain excess weight due to their dependence on and inability to control the intake of certain food substances. The dependence and lack of control over these food substances is undergirded by, according to the addictions model, the psychoactive properties of foods. The article reviews the literature on the purported psychoactive effects of foods and concludes that although, under certain circumstances, some food substances may have subtle effects on mood and behavior, the effects of food are quite different from that of psychoactive drugs such as nicotine and alcohol. Therefore, the food addictions model is unlikely to provide a fruitful paradigm for understanding the complex problem of obesity.”

References
Christensen L, Effects of Eating Behavior on Mood: A Review of the Literature, International Journal of Eating Disorders, John Wiley & Sons, 14 September 1992.

Gebauer SK, West SG, Kay CD, Alaupovic P, Bagshaw D, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of pistachios on cardiovascular disease risk factors and potential mechanisms of action: a dose-response study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Sep;88(3):651-9.

Haddock  CK, Dill PL, The Effects of Food on Mood and Behavior: Implications for the Addictions Model of Obesity and Eating Disorders, Drugs & Society, Volume 15, Issue 1-2, 2000

Nitika Garg, Brian Wansink, and J. Jeffrey Inman (2007) The Influence of Incidental Affect on Consumers’ Food Intake. Journal of Marketing: January 2007, Vol. 71, No. 1, pp. 194-206.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Influence Mood, Impulsivity And Personality, Study Indicates UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Denver, March 3, 2006

Portas CM, Bjorvatn B, Ursin R., Serotonin and the sleep/wake cycle: special emphasis on microdialysis studies., Prog Neurobiol. 2000 Jan;60(1):13-35.

Schotte, David E.; Cools, Joseph; McNally, Richard J.  Film-induced negative affect triggers overeating in restrained eaters. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 99(3), Aug 1990, 317-320.

West SG, Effects of Pistachios on Cardiovascular Responses to Stress in Type 2 Diabetes, Penn State University, General Clinical Research Center, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States, 16802-6501

Wurtman  JJ. and Frusztajer NT., The Serotonin Power Diet Rodale Books; 1 edition, December 22, 2009 

 

_________________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Are Natural Juices Healthy?

Woman Chooses DrinksAre fruit juices better than sodas for preventing obesity and tooth decay?

Nope! Let’s look at some of the facts. What exactly is in carbonated drinks?  Carbonated soda contains large amounts of sugar. Some contain more than 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz can!  Additionally, carbonated drinks also contain acids that eat away at the enamel of the teeth.

What about diet sodas?
Aren’t diet sodas supposed to be good for us? Diet sodas still contain the same acids and do serious damage to tooth enamel.

Knudsen Grape JuiceAre organic or “all natural” juices better than other fruit juices?
Not necessarily.  It depends upon the acid and sugar content.  Tooth decay is caused the combination of bacteria and food in your mouth. Plaque, the sticky substance, contains bacteria and is always forming on your teeth and gums.  Fruit juices, even those labeled “ALL NATURAL,”  or “ORGANIC”, are high in sugars which have been shown to cause serious decay. Children who sleep with bottles of juice, natural or otherwise, will have decay problems at a very young age.

What do the labels tell us?
Let’s take a look at R. W. Knudsen’s Organic Concord Grape Juice and Welch’s Healthy Choice 100% Natural Grape Juice. One cup of organic grape juice contains 38 grams of sugar. One cup of Welch’s “natural” juice contains 36 grams of sugar. There is very little difference in the sugar.

_____________________

R. W. Knudsen’s
Organic Concord Grape Juice
Available Sizes (s) 8 FL OZ, 32 FL OZ
CONTAINS 100% JUICE

Nutritional Information
Serving Size 8 FL OZ (240 ml)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 150
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 250mg 7%
Carbohydrates 39g 13%
Sugars 38g
Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%

Not a significant source of other nutrients.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

_____________________________________

Welch’s Healthy Start
100% Grape Juice
Serving Size 8 FL OZ

Amount Per Serving
Calories 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 120mg 4%
Total Carb 38g 13%
Sugars 36g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 120%
Calcium 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


____________________________________

Child GatoradeAre sports drinks healthier than sodas?
Sports drinks
might seem great because they are associated with healthy activities.  We see photos of muscular athletes drinking sports drinks and think that this is the key to health and fitness. We are also influenced by marketing ads that convince us that this is a necessary and effective means of hydrating ourselves.

Gatorade is regarded as a sports drink that is heavily tested and researched by a team of professionals.  These professionals claim that the electrolytes in the drink absorb quickly into the body for hydration making Gatorade essential to the rigorous athlete. Gatorade has a team that is continuously modifying and evaluating their product, especially since they have been under attack in recent years, for their ingredients. However, sports drinks, like natural and organic juices, do contain high levels of sugar. Gatorade and Powerade, for example, contain as much as two-thirds the sugar in carbonated sodas.   Organic acids in drinks are very erosive to dental enamel.

Gatorade and other similar power drinks and energy drinks designed for hydration, often contain ingredients that have been found to be less favorable for our health and well-being. Gatorade has water, high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup), sucrose syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, modified food starch, red 40 and glycerol ester of rosin.

Sugars in sports drinks can vary. Some drinks contain about 11 grams of sugar per cup and others contain about 30 -40 grams of sugar. chemicals, food colorings, and food additives can be very destructive. Multiple research studies have shown the negative effects of these ingredients on the body.

BVO LabelPepsico Gatorade and other power drinks might contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO).  This is the same ingredient found in flame retardants that are put on children’s clothing and bedding.   When used in flame retardants, research has found that it can build up in both the body and breast milk. Studies link that the  buildup of BVO in the body can lead to neurological disorders, reduced fertility, hormonal changes,  and advanced puberty.

Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to short term health Skin rash from BVOproblems, including cramping, blurred vision, skin rashes, watery eyes, nausea and vomiting and cyanosis (turning the skin a bluish color), heart lesions, memory loss, birth defects and inhibiting growth.
CAREFULY CHECK the labels of your soft drinks to makes sure they do not include brominated vegetable oil.

Which drinks are more likely to cause obesity?
All drinks high in sugar cause obesity when used in excess regardless of whether it’s natural, organic, or filled with refined sugars, chemicals, food colorings and food additives.  Natural sugars found in fruits are better for us, but still contribute to obesity when over indulged.  People who drink fruit juices and eat fruit all day long are more likely to have weight problems than those who choose to drink plenty of water and supplement the diet with a moderate amount of natural sugar foods and drinks.

Tooth Decay from SodaWhich drinks destroy tooth enamel?
Studies have revealed that the enamel damage caused by non-carbonated drinks, canned lemonade, canned teas, and sports drinks was three to eleven times greater than carbonated sodas.   Energy drinks and bottled lemonades were shown to cause the most harm to dental enamel.

Which drink is the healthiest?
Woman drinking waterThe best choice is to drink plenty of WATER. Read labels. Always choose healthy, raw, and natural, don’t overdo with daily sugar and organic acid intake. Practice dental hygiene.  Try using a water pic. Brush and floss daily and get plenty of exercise. 🙂 ♥

Resources
Mayo Clinic – “Brominated Vegetable Oil: Why is BVO in My Drink?”
New York Times – “Drink Ingredient Gets a Look”
Web MD – “Energy Drinks: Bad for the Teeth?”
American Dental Association

_______________________________


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

What is Good Fat?

Good Fat

It is not healthy to eliminate all fat. “Good fat”  is essential to good health.

WHAT IS GOOD FAT?
When it comes to health, not all fats are equal. Reducing some types of fats helps lower the risk of several chronic diseases, but other types of fats are absolutely essential to our body’s heart, nerves, immune system and even our brain function.


Our brain is composed of 60% fat
.

We do not want to eliminate all fat.  The key is eating GOOD FAT.   Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats,  Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, are good fats. They are found primarily in nuts, sea food, and plant oils like canola, peanut and olive oils.

Where People Get their FatsPolyunsaturated fats such as safflower, cottonseed and corn oils,and seafood.  Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, nuts and seeds, such as flax seeds. People following traditional Mediterranean diets that are high in foods containing monounsaturated fats like olive oil, tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Of course just because something is labeled “low-fat” doesn’t mean that you can gorge yourself on it and gain no weight.  “Low-fat” foods can be bad for us if not eaten in moderation.

Here are the “good fat” vs “bad fat” basics:

Monounsaturated FatsMONOUNSATURATED FATS  – Monounsaturated fats such as avocados, salmon, almonds, walnuts and flax seed, olive oil can help lower triglyceride levels and decrease inflammation.  Research studies have shown that eating foods that are high in monounsaturated fats may help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats may also keep “good” HDL cholesterol levels high.

 

POLYUNSATURATED FATS and OMEGA-3, -6 and -9 FATTY ACIDS – Polyunsaturated fats include Omega 3’s,  6’s, and 9’s.   There’s only one omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid, abbreviated LNA or ALA) and one omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid, or LA).  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods from plants like soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed.

Omega 3Omega-6 fatty acids are found mostly in liquid vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil.  Most people eat too much of omega-6 and not enough of omega-3, so it’s a good plan to focus on eating omega-3’s. Omega-9’s are the most abundant fatty acids of all in nature, and they are not lacking in our diets. They are also not considered essential because our bodies can make omega-9 fatty acids from unsaturated fat already stored in our bodies. Omega-9 is found in animal fat, vegetable oil and olive oil.  Omega 3 can be found in fish, olive oil, nuts, and omega 3 eggs, green beans, mungo,  navy, pinto and kidney beans.

Most nuts have a much higher Omega 6 ratio than Omega 3.  For example, this nutritional  chart from SelfNutritionData, shows the large difference in  omega 6 and omega 3.  Therefore, the best nuts to eat would be walnuts, for  increasing omega 3 in the diet.

  • Macadamias – 60 vs 360  (about 16 times omega 6 to 3)
  • Almonds – 2 vs 3400 (about 1700 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Hazelnuts – 20 vs 2200 (about 110 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Pistachios – 70 vs 3700 (about 52 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Brazil Nuts – 5.1 vs 5800 (about 1,137 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Cashews – 7 vs 2200 (314 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Walnuts – 2500 vs 10,100 (4 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Pine Nuts – 31 vs 9400 (303 times more omega 6 to 3)
  • Pecans – 280 vs 5800 (about 21 times more omega 6 to 3)

Foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Avocados
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Wild Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Trout
  • Fresh tuna

 

SATURATED FATS:   There is currently some controversy about saturated fats. Saturated fats are fats that are turn solid at room temperature.   Over the years, mSaturated Fat Foodsany research studies have shown that saturated fats, like lard,  full-fat dairy products and fatty animal proteins, can increase risks of heart disease, high cholesterol and some cancers, such as colon cancer.  However, recent studies contradict earlier studies.  More research may be needed to determine the long-term effects eating a regular diet high in saturated fats.  It’s generally thought that it is best to limit the amount of saturated fats and replace the saturated fats with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats include:

  • High-fat cuts of lamb, beef, and pork
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat milk
  • Whole-fat cream,
  • Whole-fat butter
  • Whole-fat cheese
  • Whole-fat ice cream
  • Palm oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Lard

Saturated Fat Benefits
There are some benefits to saturated fats as listed above.  However, according to recent research from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health   and a report from Harvard School of Public Health, cutting back on saturated fat can be good for health if people replace saturated fat with unsaturated fats.  A diet of all saturated fats can lead to serious health problems.  A balanced diet  rich in vegetables, fruits, and “good fats” is the best plan.

Saturated Fat Chart

Saturated fats are found in many foods and food products.  According to recent research from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health   and a report from Harvard School of Public Health, if people cut back slightly on saturated fats and replace them with more carbohydrates like breads, white rice, potatoes, and sugars, then they will most likely not see any improvement in weight loss or lowered cholesterol.  However if they cut back on saturated fats, and replace saturated fats with “good fats” they will see results.   Eating good fats, like monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats can help to lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol.  It can also  improves the ratio of total cholesterol to “good” HDL cholesterol.  This can reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating good fats in place of saturated fat can also help to reduce the risk of diabetes.

 

WHAT ARE BAD FATS?


Trans Fat Food
TRANS FATS:  
|Trans fats such as fried foods, packaged cookies, chips, candy, granola bars, and cooking oils, increase bad cholesterol and inflammation, and decrease good cholesterol, increase the risk of heart disease and some cancers.  Foods high in trans fats have little nutritional value.

  • Commercially packaged pastries, cookies, pizza dough, cakes, muffins, waffles, doughnuts, etc.
  • Packaged snack foods (chips, crackers, and popcorn)
  • Margarine in stick form
  • Vegetable shortening
  • All fried foods (fried fish, French fries, fried chicken, tempura, etc.)
  • Candy bars
  • Some commercially packaged granola bars (check for partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Bisquick

 

 

HOW DO WE MAKE A LIFESTYLE CHANGE?

Healthy French FriesIf  restaurant and food manufacturers can switch  to Omega-9 Oils,  they can reduce these bad fats by up to 80% when changing from partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  You can help make a change by alerting people to the research about the harmful (and perhaps deadly) effects of long-term use of trans fats.  The best plan is to eliminate all trans fats completely from the diet (especially fried foods and packaged or commercially baked foods) and to limit saturated fats.  Eat more monounsaturated or polyunsaturated foods rich in omega 3’s, such as flax seeds, walnuts, fish, and canola oil.   Check your labels and shop wisely.

Your label Trans Fat Misleading Labelprobably won’t list, “trans fats,”  or might list trans fats as zero, but if the label lists “partially hydrogenated oils,” this means it contains trans fats, plain and simple.

It’s important to check your labels.  The FDA  gave food producers considerable flexibility  in their labeling, resulting inn labeling which is misleading. Current law says that any food containing less than .5 grams of trans fat can “round down” and indicate trans fat content as 0 grams.  Therefore, a listing of zero trans fats, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is zero, and a food product that is advertised “trans-fat free” most likely is almost trans-fat free but might very well include trans fats.  If your label lists hydrogenated oils, you are eating trans fats.

 

We all have the freedom to be educated, informed consumers so that we can take care of our bodies wisely.  All fat is not bad, and it’s important to our health to include “good fats”  in our diets.  We can use the above tips, the resources below, and our good fat food chart to stay healthy and fit.

 

RESOURCES

Mozaffarian D, Micha R, Wallace S. Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS Med. 2010;7:e1000252.

Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease: modulation by replacement nutrients. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2010;12:384-90.

Astrup A, Dyerberg J, Elwood P, et al. The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010? Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:684-8.

Hooper L, Summerbell CD, Thompson R, et al. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011:CD002137.

_______________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition. 

25 Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year when many people are scrambling for holiday gifts.  Most people give the typical clothing item, jewelry, toy, or electronic gadget.  Why not focus on “healthy gift giving” this year?  There are many options of the “health-minded” friend or family member. Here is our list of the top 25 best ideas for healthy holiday gift giving.

Healthy Holiday Gifts

Give a healthy gift this holiday season.

  1. massage certificate
  2. blender or juicer
  3. fruit basket
  4. charity donation
  5. concert tickets
  6. dancing lessons
  7. family outing or getaway
  8. swimming lessons
  9. exercise equipment
  10. camping equipment
  11. new glasses
  12. tree or outdoor plant
  13. meditation music CD’s
  14. manicure or pedicure certificate
  15. acupuncture certificate
  16. spa gift certificate
  17. herbal tea collection
  18. organic spice set
  19. gym membership or class
  20. supportive shoes
  21. foot massager machine
  22. dental cleaning appointment
  23. educational books
  24. air purifier
  25. professional house cleaner

25 Healthy Holiday GiftsWhat ideas do YOU have for healthy gift giving?

Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season from your heath and wellness friends at the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance!