Eating Healthy on the Fly!

Here’s a guest post from Cole on tips for eating healthy when traveling. As summer is fast approaching (and the perfect time for vacation getaway’s, this is a great topic and Cole has some excellent tips on maintaining your diet while traveling!

Tickets have been booked for months, bags are packed and ready to go and your goal weight has been reached!  Finally feeling camera ready after all the hard work and healthy eating, you’re ready to get this vacation started.  But what does the after look like?  There are several ways to integrate healthy eating into your vacation that will ensure that you’ll still turn heads in your fabulous goal outfit long after your dream vacation is over.

In order to set yourself up for success, it is important to put in a little bit of effort before leaving.  Booking a hotel that has a fitness center or has trails nearby encourages activity, which boosts your metabolism.  Additionally, hotels with kitchenettes are not only a money saver, but cooking your own meals will also help you stay on track with healthy eating.  If you cannot find a reasonably priced hotel with a kitchenette, consider bringing a small crockpot to prepare healthy chicken and vegetable based dishes.  Hotel coffee makers can also be used to heat water for oatmeal and soups, which are both healthy and inexpensive meal options. Determining which hotels have the amenities necessary for your healthy lifestyle can be difficult. I have found that reading reviews regarding restaurants and hotel prior to your arrival can be extremely helpful. I recently found a great site that had consumer reviews for the list of Las Vegas hotels I was considering ranging from their amenities offered, to the restaurants in the area, to the things to do in the city.

If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, fill up on fruit first. Fruit is high in fiber and vitamins and is a great morning choice.  Combine fruit with a high protein option such as eggs or meat and you will feel full for much longer.  Avoiding sweet breads and sugary cereals at breakfast will enable to you eat something with a higher calorie content later without feeling guilty for indulging.  Skipping sugary juices in favor of water is also helpful in maintaining a healthy caloric intake.

At a restaurant, eating healthy requires more determination but it can be done.  Many restaurants have their menus online, and it’s helpful to look it up to see what they offer.  Peruse the menu for dishes that include the words baked, boiled, broiled, fat free, fresh, grilled, high fiber, light, marinated, multi grain, reduced, red sauce, roasted, steamed, stir fried, vegetarian, vinaigrette, and whole wheat.  When ordering, don’t allow yourself to feel rushed but ask questions about possible healthier substitutions.  For side dishes, choose vegetables and if they aren’t offered, politely ask if it would be possible to include them in your meal.  If you’re not feeling confident about making healthy choices, just try to pick the most colorful meal option.  Generally speaking, colorful foods are healthier than their bland counterparts.

Applying an 80/20 rule for eating right on vacation can really assist with maintaining your weight while still letting yourself splurge while you’re out and about.  The rule is simple, 80% of your food consumption should be healthy, clean eating foods such as veggies, fruits, lean meats and complex carbohydrates.  The other 20% is yours to do with as you please.  Letting your guard down a bit while on vacation is no crime, but being strategic about when and how often to splurge is the key to coming home happy with yourself and your body.

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Walnut Crusted Wild Salmon

  • 1 lb fresh wild salmon
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a plastic ziplock bag, add the walnuts and Cajun seasoning. Using a rolling pin, crush the walnuts until fine crumbs form. This is my quick method but a food processor will work as well.

Place the salmon in a baking dish and add a bit of water to cover the bottom of the pan. Press the seasoned walnut mixture onto the salmon (sprinkle sea salt over the fish if desired) and bake in the oven until salmon is done and flakes easily with a fork (a rule of thumb is about 10 minutes for each 1″ thickness of the filet).

Serve the salmon over a bed of greens with a side of roasted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes) and enjoy!

GF Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

It seems as if fall weather is approaching, a bit cooler in the morning, yet the sun is still bright and warming during the day. Soon the leaves will be changing to beautiful colors of red, orange, and yellow. What better way to enjoy the crisp, cool air than with a gluten-free spiced pumpkin muffin. A perfect treat for the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee.

  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut nectar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a muffin pan.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In another bowl, combine the vanilla, pumpkin, oil, and coconut nectar. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir together. Scoop the mixture into the greased muffin pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done.  Allow to cool 30 minutes.

Low Fiber Foods & Cancer

For today’s post, we have a guest blogger writing a great article about different foods that may or may not be beneficial during cancer treatment. For any individual going through chemotherapy, side effects may vary from person to person and make it difficult to know what to eat. Jillian shares with us some tips on how fiber and other foods interact with the body when undergoing chemotherapy. Jillian can be found at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/bio.htm.

Look for a follow-up post on our favorite cookbooks and nutrient-rich recipes to help manage side effects when undergoing cancer treatment.

Why Low Fiber Foods Are Recommended For Some Cancer Patients

Cancer treatment programs can often require a complete reworking of a person’s lifestyle in order to accommodate for changes in environmental tolerances. Changes in diet are certainly a big part of this. Often, doctors will sit down with their patients before treatment and lay out exactly what they can expect to experience based on past experience.

Dietary requirements are likely to change based on the type of cancer and based on which parts of the body are being affecting at the time. Proper nutrition for mesothelioma patients may vary somewhat from a patient that’s receiving treatment for something like colon cancer.

Because common cancer treatments can affect fast-replicating tissues in the body, it’s typical that cells that make up the lining of the intestines can experience disruptions in their normal life cycle. This can cause bowel irritability and chronic diarrhea for patients that are currently on a chemotherapy regimen. It’s for this reason that many doctors will recommend limiting the amount of fiber in the diet and may recommend that the patient stay entirely away from certain foods.

While individual dietary specifications will largely vary from one patient to the next, most doctors will recommend that their patient avoid things like beans, peas, and corn. These are heavily fibrous and difficult for even a healthy digestive system to process. For protein, it’s recommended that patients stick to eggs and nut-based products like smooth peanut butter. If these aren’t suitable for the patient’s tastes, things like tofu can also be added.

What About Other Foods?

Dairy products certainly aren’t banned from a cancer patient’s diet, but it’s often advised that they be limited to small amounts. It’s common for people that normally enjoy milk or yogurt on a regular basis to feel less tolerant of it while undergoing cancer treatment. Those people should adjust their dairy intake according to what feels most comfortable for them.

While proper dieting can certainly offer a tremendous number of health benefits, it’s important to keep in mind that it probably won’t facilitate the treatment of cancer all by itself, without other forms of treatment. The key idea is to create a diet that gives the body everything it needs to continue functioning normally, but without creating discomforts likely to occur during treatments. After all, the better a patient feels from day to day, the more energy they’re going to be able to devote to getting better in the long run.

Celiac Disease, Part 1

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  • Celiac disease affects roughly 3 million Americans, which averages out to be about 1 in 133 healthy people.
  • In individuals with a first degree relative with celiac disease, the prevalence drops to 1 in 22, and in those with a 2nd degree relative, it affects 1 in 39 people.
  • The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. would fill 4,400 Boeing 747 airplanes.
  • The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. is roughly equal to the number of people living in the state of Nevada.
  • U.S. fans with celiac disease could fill Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, 37 times.

Did you know that May is Celiac Disease Awareness month? Although this is only recognized in a handful of states, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois, and California, awareness about celiac disease has spread. However, more knowledge is needed, as getting an accurate diagnosis is very difficult. It is commonly misdiagnosed as IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or many other various conditions. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, 41% of adults and 60% of children diagnosed were asymptomatic and it takes an average of four years for a symptomatic individual to be correctly diagnosed with celiac disease. This makes me wonder how long it takes an asymptomatic individual to be correctly diagnosed or someone who does not have the “usual” symptoms associated with celiac disease such as gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea. During this time without a correct diagnosis, individuals are at increased risk of other autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, neurological disorders, and possibly cancer.

So what exactly is celiac disease…? Individuals with celiac disease are allergic to proteins (glutenin and gliadin) found in wheat and relative wheat products (kamut, triticale, durum, spelt, semolina, farro, graham), rye, and barley. Upon ingestion of foods containing gluten, an immune-mediated toxic reaction occurs causing destruction of the villi in the small intestine. With atrophy of the villi, malabsorption of nutrients occurs including calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin K, along with the fat-soluble vitamins. With continued ingestion of gluten containing products, malnutrition can set in, along with other disorders including intestinal lymphoma and bowel cancer, lactose intolerance, osteoporosis, anemia, bone and joint pain, iron deficiency, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, depression, anxiety, neurological complications, miscarriages (and congenital problems in an unborn baby), and weight loss and failure to thrive in children.

Oats may be problematic in some individuals as crops that grow wheat are cleared out and then oats are grown leading to cross-contamination. However, you can purchase certified gluten-free oats at various grocery stores. It’s best to test the oats and see how well you tolerate them. If you feel that you have any symptoms re-emerge, remove them from your diet. Over time, as your GI tract heals, you may be able to reintroduce them again.

Next to come, gluten-free grains!

References:

Green PHR, Stavropoulos SN, Panagi SG, Goldstein SL, Mcmahon DJ, Absan H, Neugut AI. Characteristics of adult celiac disease in the USA: results of a national survey. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001;96(1):126-131.

Holmes S. Celiac disease: Symptoms, complications and patient support. Nurs Stand. 2010;24:50-56.

Heart Healthy Foods

In continuing with the heart healthy theme, (February is American Heart Awareness Month), I’ve posted some great heart healthy foods. Remember small, everyday changes, along with simple and easy nutrition tidbits (see previous post), diet modifications, and exercise you can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and its complications. 

Foods that are beneficial for heart health include:

  • Wild salmon, sardines, and other cold water, oily fish (omega 3 fats)
  • Fruits including apples, pears, berries, pomegranates, and citrus fruits
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, dark, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, onions, garlic, squash (all varieties)
  • Raw nuts and seeds ~ almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and pistachios
  • Whole grains ~ brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, oat groats, & wild rice
  • Beans ~ full of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates
  • Dark chocolate ~ choose 70% or higher and enjoy in moderation

Here’s a great recipe that I enjoy all the time featuring heart healthy salmon from Natural Health Magazine. Mix up the ingredients as you choose…diced bell peppers would be great, I soaked arame and stirred that in, and I’ve also used dried Italian seasoning when I was all out of fresh herbs).

Wild Salmon Salad

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 7.5-ounce can wild salmon
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ cup diced carrot
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • 2 scallions, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 tablespoons minced herbs, such as basil, parsley or cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Using the back of a fork, mix the salmon well.

Add the lemon or lime juice, carrot, celery, scallions, and herbs; mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on a bed of greens, or use as a filling for a sandwich topped with sliced tomato, avocado, and sprouts.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving: 173 calories, 34% fat (7 g; 1.7 g saturated), 15% carbs (7 g), 51% protein (22 g), 2 g fiber, 262 mg calcium, 1.4 mg iron, 616 mg sodium.

Natural HealthMag.com. http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/healthy_eating/healthy_recipes/61.  2009 Weider Publications, LLC.

American Heart Awareness Month

February is American Heart Awareness Month. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.? According to the Centers for Disease Control, about every 25 seconds an American will have a coronary event. Besides unmodifiable risk factors that cannot be changed such as age, hereditary, ethnicity, there are precautions you can take to help reduce your risk by altering lifestyle and dietary habits. For instance, certain diseases and conditions can put the heart at risk for a coronary event such as smoking (and second-hand smoke), being physically inactive, having high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol levels, along with being obese, and having an unhealthy diet.

A whole foods diet with brightly colored fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and oils, and whole grains supplies the body with adequate vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a healthy heart. High triglyceride and cholesterol levels can build up in the arteries, which can disrupt blood flow and lead to blockages. Soluble fiber found in fruits including pears, apples, and citrus fruits, along with oats and oat bran, barley, beans, and legumes has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.

Besides soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals play an important part in keeping the heart healthy. A refined diet high in excess sugar, sodium, processed foods and preservatives can lead to excess inflammation throughout the body, which suppresses the immune system. Leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale and collard greens are high in calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, and K, which are full of antioxidants and nutrients to help reduce inflammation and improve health.

Lastly, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean protein choices help lead the way to a healthy heart. When choosing fats and oils, avoid “hydrogenation or partially hydrogenated” from the ingredient list, as these have been shown to clog up the arteries. These hydrogenated fats may also be listed on the ingredient label as trans fat, which may be found in margarines, shortenings, or packaged crackers and baked goods. Instead choose olive or canola oil or plant-based margarines that are trans-fat free. In addition, opt for lean protein sources that are low in saturated fat and high in protein such as beans or legumes. When purchasing animal protein sources, look for skinless poultry, lean red meat, or fish. Begin to incorporate whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, barley, or steel cut oats over refined white flour products.

And remember, small modifications have a big impact over time leading to a healthier heart!

In Summary, Healthy Lifestyle Change Tips/Reminders

  • Choose lean cuts of poultry or meat w/o the skin
  • Avoid partially hydrogenated oils/trans fat
  • Choose low-fat dairy products
  • Aim for less than 300 mg of cholesterol a day
  • Choose foods lower in salt/sodium
  • Cut back on added sugars found in food and beverages
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
    (no more than two drinks for men and one for women)
  • Pay attention to portion sizes