Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gluten ... JUST SAY NO!

I have suffered from ECZEMA since I was a teen. For several years friends and family members have dropped hints that I should try to eliminate GLUTEN from my diet to see if it helps my skin. Their thought, if medications still were not helping after over 20 years, perhaps another avenue needed to be taken to try to make myself less uncomfortable (itchy/raw/infected skin).

I listened to skin cleared up...the awful "aftertaste" in my mouth went away...I gained back energy and a zest for life!

AFTER I did the experiment I started to read up about the connections between ECZEMA and GLUTEN. Numerous stories exist that one can find doing a simple search on any database.

My diet has always included MANY MANY MANY fruits and vegetables. I love rice,potatoes, and quinoa. I do not eat meat with every meal. What have I had to eliminate? Not much. There are Gluten Free snacks like pretzels, granols bars, and crackers. Gluten free pastas, bread mixes, and cereals are manufactured.

What I have reduced from my diet is packaged snack foods. Perhaps they will be eliminated one day. Eliminating processed foods from one's diet is a good thing anyway!

If you think that you may have a sensitivity to gluten, I suggest you try eliminating it from your diet for a few weeks then testing a few food items back in to find your personal level of tolerance. This piece of advice was given to me by friends and I have read in numerous places online. You can also see your doctor about getting tested and setting up a meal plan.

There are numerous resources out there. I have spent HOURS researching. A few I suggest you look at include:
Celiac Disease
Gluten Free Info web

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SlimKicker Website and APP

If you are having trouble staying motivated to lose weight, try the website and/or APP. The program allows you to set your diet and fitness goals and invites you to check in with progress reports.

You can earn prizes and communicate with a virtual "coach". If you like competition and a team atmosphere, this is the right way for you to find that extra motivation!

Check out Slim Kicker to see if it is right for you. It does not cost you anything, just a bit of your time!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kohlrabi...What is it? How do I use it?

A few months ago I met a new friend, kohlrabi. This vegetable has become a friend in the kitchen. It has an odd shape but it tastes good!

One of the local farmer's at the Farmer's Market had this round bulb for sale. Never seeing the bulb with leaves before, I inquired as to what it was. He told me is was a cross between a cabbage and a turnip and could be used in soups AND the greens could be cooked like collard greens. I took a chance, AM I GLAD I DID!

I love to use the KOHLRABI in soup. I cut a small onion, a few carrots, and a stalk or two of celery (carrots and celery are in proportion to the size pot of soup you wish to make). I saute them in a put with just a bit if butter until translucent. While I am doing that I cut the kohlrabi bulb into small cubes and add to the pot. I have found the entire bulb to be edible when the outer layer does not appear fibrous. When it is, I trim that part of the outer layer. (The purple variety has appeared to be a bit more fibrous when I have purchased it.) I add low sodium chicken broth and a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Then I add potatoes, diced to the size you prefer. Let simmer until kohlrabi and potatoes are tender.

HINT: I add carrot greens to the pot as it is simmering. Adds flavor and nutrients! I take the leafy portion off the stems. The stems are stringy and chewy. It's WORTH the extra five minutes!

Why do I like this vegetable so much? Not only dies it taste good and is it a two for one (bulb + greens are edible) but it is nutritious! It can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked. It is a low calorie food too! touts the benefits of Kohlrabi providing one with Vitamin "C" and "B" Vitamins.

Kohlrabi health benefits include:

Good for the skeletal and digestive system.
Great for protecting cells and DNA from free radicals.
Great source of antioxidants.
Help the body to absorb iron better.
Improves oxygen circulation which increases energy.
Good source of fiber.
Help stabilize blood sugar imbalances.

The addition of the carrot greens provides the body with Vitamin "K" which is not found in the carrot itself. has several recipes for using Kohlrabi ... Try A FEW ... You Will Like This Vegetable Too!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Eat Well to Improve Quality of Life During Cancer

Thanks Guest Blogger Jillian McKee for this great article!

Patients with cancer usually have one thing on their minds—they want the cancer out of their bodies. Treatments for mesothelioma, skin cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are all examples of plans that can cause appetite losses. Even cancer patients in remission often don’t feel up to preparing or eating nutritional foods because they are simply exhausted. Although adequate nutrition might be the furthest thing from your mind when you are battling cancer, healthy foods will not only give you the right kind of energy, but they can also improve your overall quality of life.

Nutrition and Cancer
Proper nutrition gives your body the energy it needs to carry out everyday tasks. Having adequate energy is critical in fighting cancer. You will undergo treatments, some of which can be painful and will subsequently zap your energy levels. It is important to maintain strength from nourishing foods to improve the outcome of your cancer treatments.

Eating good foods throughout your life reduces the chances of getting cancer. However, once you are diagnosed, these types of meals will not reverse your condition. There are no miracle foods to cure cancer. On the flip side, eating nutritious foods can improve your odds of remission. If you instead continue to eat unhealthy foods, then you could decrease your chances of improvement. At this point, you shouldn’t be concerned with excess calories, but rather eating foods that taste good to you, and provide you with energy.

Back to the Basics
When choosing the right foods to eat during cancer, you should get back to the basics of nutrition. Remember that you need a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat to have adequate energy. Healthy carbohydrates are found in whole grains, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Many cancer patients lack protein in their diets because they cannot stomach cow’s milk and red meats. Instead, choose lighter sources of protein that you will actually enjoy. Chicken, turkey and fish are great alternatives to meat, as well as eggs and tofu. Concentrate on healthy fats, such as fish, olive oil and nuts.

For the best results, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you eat small meals throughout the day. During times in which you actually have an appetite, feel free to eat just a bit more while you have the chance. This will help to ensure that you have enough calories to energize you.

Nutritional Alternatives
Advanced stages of cancer can wipe out your energy for several days at a time. Some people who are first diagnosed with cancer also temporarily lose their appetites from succumbing to the high stress involved with their conditions. With your doctor’s consent, you might consider taking a multivitamin to ensure that you are getting the essential nutrients you need. Keep in mind that this kind of supplement is a temporary solution for nutritional gaps, and you should not intentionally trade in food for a vitamin.

Stay Hydrated
Not only is it important to nourish your body with healthy foods during cancer treatments, but you also need to make sure that you drink plenty of water. The Mayo Clinic recommends a minimum daily fluid intake of 64 oz, unless your oncologist instructs you otherwise. If you are rapidly losing weight, you might consider beverage choices with some calories, such as fruit juice or lightly sweetened tea. Dehydration can make you feel weak, and it can actually hinder any positive treatment results.

Visit Jillian McKee's Blog for more information.

Eating Healthy can be EASY

More and more I stumble upon restaurants, recipes, and websites that promote healthy eating. I like to frequent local Farmer's Markets to purchase produce as close to the source as possible. (My husband and I enjoy growing a few vegetables in our small year, but cannot grow enough to feed ourselves.) I have done MY BEST to become more adventurous with foods that I encounter at the Farmer's Market. After engaging the farmer's in conversation, I have come to appreciate kohlrabi (the bulb and greens), carrot greens, beet greens, collard greens, and kale. The year 2012 has been a year of learning about the health benefits of these new foods and finding FUN ways to use them in my weekly cooking. Yesterday I stumbled upon Food Network's Website and found a new page called HERO FOODS. I am eager to check out the recipes and find out additional ways to use my new add to my diet.