Imagine World Peas

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by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

greenpeasThere is a surprising amount of incredible nutrition in a green peas. Peas pack a lot of nutrition in a tiny pod. They come from the legume family, like cannelli or navy beans and share the same nutritional payloads of fiber, protein and vitamins.

Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables, rich in health benefiting nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Peas are also relatively low in calories in comparison to beans, and cow-peas. 100 g of green peas contains only 81 calories, and no cholesterol. These legumes are a good source of protein and soluble as well as insoluble fiber.

One half cup of peas has just as much protein ( 5 grams) as an egg or one tablespoon of peanut butter, but without the fat or cholesterol. Fresh peas are generally available from April to June, yet frozen peas retain all the taste and nutrition of fresh peas and are available all year long. Canned peas miss the mark. They lose most of their vitamin content and are packed with unhelpful salt and sugar.

In cooking peas, some people pulverize them (no offense Brits) and some people make them an afterthought. I say we start giving peas the respect they deserve and elevate them to higher place on our list of food choices.

You can use peas in a variety of different ways. I love to use them in low fat pasta salads, as a side dish with pearl onions, in green salads, stirred into a rice dish, paired with sautéed mushrooms or even added to freshly made guacamole. Try Heart Easy™ Peas Francoise alongside a rotisserie chicken for a delicious and heart-healthy meal. Or make up Heart Easy ™ Pasta, Tuna & Pea Salad which you can use as a meal or a side dish. Learn to love peas and take them to heart.

beanfranHeart Easy ™ Peas Francoise


8 ounces frozen peas, 1/4 cup water, two scallions slivered into one-inch pieces, 2-3 thin slices of fat free ham, julienned, 1 low fat butter substitute like Smart Balance Light, 1/2 cup of Boston lettuce slivers.


Combine all ingredients, except ham and butter substitute. Cook peas, scallions and water for 2-3 minutes. Pour off any remaining water and fold in the ham strips and butter substitute. Cook until butter substitute melts and ham is heated through. Add lettuce slivers at the last minute and serve.

(Traditional Peas Françoise includes the slivers of Boston lettuce. The lettuce adds both flavor and texture but you can omit if you choose.)

beanspastatunaHeart Easy ™ Pasta, Tuna & Pea Salad


1 (8 oz.) bag whole grain pasta (macaroni, penne, twists)
2 (5 oz.) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
4 celery ribs, diced
1 package (15 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
1/3-1/2 cup low fat Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste


Cook pasta according to package directions, but don’t overcook. Drain and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, celery, peas, mayonnaise. Stir until well-combined.
Add cayenne pepper and salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Top with fresh ground pepper.

Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding.

Is Your Diet Full Of Hidden Sugars?

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By Alison Aldridge

healthyjunkMany people are now making a conscious effort to try to cut out cut down on their sugar consumption, but this is easier said than done as a lot of foods have hidden sugars. One of the major reasons for cutting down on sugar is to lose weight or at least maintain weight, but another really good reason is to help improve oral health. A diet high in sugars will increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease as the sugar provides plenty of food for plaque bacteria which in return will produce toxins that increase the risk of cavities and gum disease.

While it’s pretty obvious that certain foods contain high amounts of sugar, others can come as something of a surprise. That healthy breakfast cereal you tuck into each morning could be one of the worst offenders. A consumer organization in the UK tested 50 different breakfast cereals and worryingly found 32 had high sugar contents, including many of those designed specifically to appeal to children. It’s the same story with as many low-fat or fat-free products that are frequently bought by people trying to watch their weight, or by those who are simply more health conscious.

A lot of people who are health conscious exercise regularly, and may use energy drinks after a heavy session at the gym. These can contain up to 13 spoonfuls of sugar, while some of the flavored vitamin waters can contain more than 10 spoonfuls of the sweet stuff.

Getting Into the Habit of Reading Labels

foodlabelIf you’re worried your diet may contain more hidden sugars then you’re aware of then it’s worth getting into the habit of reading the labels and choosing unsweetened versions of foods wherever possible. One typical example might be muesli. It can sometimes be quite tricky to adjust to eating something less sugary, but it’s worth persevering to see if your taste buds will accept the change! It can also be worthwhile trying to finish a meal with something less sweet and more tooth friendly such as crunchy vegetables or a small piece of cheese.

If you do want to have something especially sweet then try to eat or drink it as quickly as you can, as sipping a sugary drink over the course of a few hours is the worst thing you can do for your teeth. Obviously one solution can be to switch to diet versions of popular drinks, but these can also contain a lot of acid and may damage your teeth. Another solution is to try using a drinking straw when enjoying these beverages.

Gum Disease

The reasons for trying to switch to a less sugary diet are compelling, especially if it helps to lessen the risk of developing gum disease. It’s estimated up to four fifths of the population will develop some degree of gum disease at some point during their lifetime, and this risk can increase with age. Gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss in the world and is an extremely serious condition. It’s often called a silent disease as the initial symptoms can be very easy to miss, and is an excellent reason for visiting the dentist at regular intervals. It’s much easier to treat when caught early enough. Having a healthy, tooth friendly diet may help you avoid this serious condition.

– Alison completed her training at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, England, and she is registered with the General Dental Council in London, England. She has over twenty five years of experience working within the dental industry and currently writes for

Binge Eating Disorder

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By Judy Bennett

kideatingsandwichAnyone with a teenager knows that kids can seem like “bottomless pits” when it comes to food. But when is a child’s appetite not only unhealthy, but a cry for help?

Binge Eating Disorder, or BED, usually affects children between the ages of twelve and twenty-five, with girls outnumbering boys two to one. Children with BED eat large quantities of food whether or not they are hungry; they report feeling “zoned out” and out of control when eating. This leads to strong feelings of shame and distress, which then prompts the child to comfort him/herself with more food. Binge eating differs from bulimia in that the child is not compelled to “purge” after a binge episode, either through vomiting, laxatives, or compulsive exercise. Therefore, a child with BED is more likely to be overweight.

Studies have found physical, social, and psychological causes that lead to binge eating. The hypothalamus, a gland that secretes hormones that tell you when you’re full, may give off faulty signals. Compulsive eaters also have low levels of serotonin, the body’s “feel-good” chemical (Melinda Smith, MA; Robert Segal, MA; Jeanne Segal, PhD). Sometimes a child who is rigidly denied certain foods at home will binge on them at a friend’s house, or in secret. Most commonly, kids who binge are suffering from stress, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, or boredom.

Is your child suddenly eating an alarming amount of food because of a growth spurt, or in response to a problem he/she can’t soothe any other way? What should you look for?

• anxious behaviors such as nail-biting, sleep disturbances, aggression

• hidden stashes of food or empty wrappers

• preoccupation with food, i.e. next meal or snack

• negative comments about him/herself

• social isolation; spending more time alone in his/her room

• disengagement from normal activities of interest

• eating quickly; returning for more food within an hour of a meal

• a pattern of any of these behaviors occurring at least once a week over a three month period

If you’re concerned about your child’s eating habits, here are some Do’s and Don’ts for parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults in the child’s life, according to Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, chief pediatric officer of RealAge.


• allow mindless eating in front of the TV. Food should always be consumed at the table, without distractions (no texting, reading, etc.)

• tell children to “clean their plate.”

• use food as a reward.

• focus undue attention on food, body weight, or table manners.


• try to figure out what’s going on emotionally. Pressures at home? At school?

• manage your child’s stress. Find professional help if needed.

• teach kids to cook, so they learn to appreciate subtle flavors and quality ingredients.

• encourage physical activity to balance brain chemistry, alleviate boredom, and metabolize excess weight.

• provide three healthy, nutrient-dense meals and two snacks per day, but allow treats on occasion.

• be a good role model. Control portions, eat slowly, make healthful choices, and avoid the “don’ts” above.

• schedule doctor visits more frequently to build accountability and keep close tabs on any risk factors that may be present.

Above all, parents should feel empowered to address the issue head-on. Whether the cause is physical, social, or psychological, BED isn’t just a phase that children grow out of. “We remember to talk to our kids about drugs or bullying,” says Nancy Creighton, children’s outreach liaison at Westbrook Health Services. “But we don’t necessarily talk to them about good nutrition.”

– Judy Bennett is a board certified holistic health practitioner and a member of the International Association of Wellness Professionals and the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Taking Care of Your Blood Pressure

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By Nisha Sharma

healthyheartbpBlood Pressure Monitoring

Monitoring blood pressure is important to keep the heart and veins of the body in optimal condition. First, an individual must schedule an appointment with a medical professional to determine if blood pressure is normal. A chronic abnormal blood pressure reading will determine what actions a patient must follow. When a patient visits a physician, several important vital signs assist in determining blood pressure health. Individuals might need to change to a low-sodium diet, increase exercise, lose weight or take daily prescription medication when blood pressure is abnormal.

Routine Physician Visits

Blood pressure is measured on adults with a specialized medical armband device called a sphygmomanometer. The device has mercury that rises to show diastolic and systolic rates. At the same time, a stethoscope is used to listen to heartbeats and respiration rates. Each individual has a variation of blood pressure readings throughout a day due to physical activity, health conditions, medication, diet and emotional stress. Blood pressure readings in combination with the temperature of the body, heartbeats per minute and pulse rates are important tests to determine physical conditions.

Abnormal Blood Pressure Readings

An abnormal blood pressure reading is the result of a chronic, temporary or emergency health condition. Many patients have higher readings due to nervousness while at a medical facility. Additional factors that show temporary abnormal readings are having a full bladder, recent exercise, smoking and consuming caffeine. Individuals with abnormal readings in a medical office setting can purchase a blood pressure monitoring device to check readings throughout a normal day. This is a great way for an individual to care for blood pressure health.


Low blood pressure is a dangerous medical condition that causes fainting or dizziness. Emergency hypotension is a result of massive blood loss, hormonal imbalances, infection, toxins or thrombosis. Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa change the chemical balance inside the body while often causing hypotension. A patient in a trauma situation resulting in blood loss can develop a shock condition rapidly. Low blood pressure more commonly occurs as a medical crisis than a chronic health condition.


Hypertension is a chronic condition of high blood pressure that causes the heart muscles to work harder to move blood through the veins and arteries. If an individual routinely has a high blood pressure reading, then arterial hypertension is present. Chronic hypertension damages veins, arteries and heart muscles. Hypertensive patients are more likely to have aneurysms, renal failure, heart attacks or strokes. Individuals with this condition must modify daily lifestyle to reduce blood pressure readings.

Lifestyle Modifications

A nutritious food plan with natural foods low in sodium such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein from poultry and whole grains assists in lowering blood pressure. Individuals should consume foods high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Reducing emotional stress is imperative for hypertensive patients. Individuals can engage in physical activities to improve cardiovascular health and muscle strength. A physician will typically prescribe antihypertensive medication to assist in lowering blood pressure.

– Nisha represents a site called She enjoys writing about elderly healthcare and dementia care.

How Childcare Centres Plan Nutritious Meals That Kids Always Love

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By Anthony Smith

saladheartsmallHow much time do you spend thinking about, preparing and cooking the meals for your child? As parents, we strive to do what’s best for our children and often that starts with meals. What to feed your child is one of the first major decisions a parent makes and then before you know it, your bundle of joy has an opinion of their own on what they want to eat. Regardless of the time and consideration you may have put into planning and making your child’s lunch, whether or not they eat it, is a whole other story. Then there’s the fact that Grandparents, babysitters and child care centres seem to have a significantly higher success rate of convincing your two-year-old to eat whatever is put in front of them. How do the centres do it – what’s their secret and how do they get a fussy-eating toddler to eat at day-care what they won’t at home.

1. The Menu

Food provided in child care has an important role to play in the growth and development of children and in the development of their future eating habits. Most parents should be able to take comfort in knowing that a significant amount of toddlers’ daily nutrition requirements are being met by their long day childcare centre. Check for displayed menus to show a variety of foods such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, lean meat, fish, chicken, milks, yoghurts and cheeses. Make sure your child has easy access to plenty of water and check to see if milk is also provided throughout the day.

2. Age Appropriateness & Variety

Most centres will ensure the menu includes food that is appropriately sized and textured for the age and ability of the child. Children with special dietary requirements due to food allergies, cultural background or medical condition should also be catered for – ensuring the centre works together with these families to meet the specific needs of the individual child. Variety of food also plays an important factor. Plates should be loaded with a few different foods from the menus, allowing the children to explore a new food – pick it up, touch it and smell it – so that it becomes more familiar to them. It can take up to fifteen attempts before a child gets used to a new taste.

3. The Power of The Masses

kidseatinghealthyChildren learn from an early age to follow and mimic those around them. Often times a sour reaction to a new food is just a knee-jerk reaction to the unknown. So when toddlers see their friends happily eating the variety of food offered at a child-care centre, they often follow along.
Finally, when children gather together to eat and drink, staff should create an atmosphere that is relaxed and home-like. It is also seen as an opportunity for social interactions and language development. Meal and snack times are happy, social occasions that promote healthy eating habits. Food always looks better when your best friend is eating it too.

Just remember – Working together with childcare staff can positively reinforce healthy food messages and eating habits for your child.

– Anthony Smith is the Chief Operating Officer of an Australian childcare management company, Guardian Child Care. As a parent himself, Anthony recognizes the importance of providing quality childcare for children where they are able to thrive and in an educational and nurturing environment.

More On Nutrients

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healthychoiceFrom Your Health Journal…..”An excellent article I wanted to promote written by Dr. Brian Parr for the Aiken Standard entitled Know your nutrients: Fats. This is an excellent written article about the macro-nutrients, which include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This article focused primarily on fats, which does get a bad rap with many people looking to eat healthy. The truth is, there are good and bad fats. Some bad fats are hidden in many foods as they increase shelf life of the product, add texture, and add some great taste. But, there are many good fats that maintain and regulate body temperature, maintain hormonal levels, insulate the body, protect body organs, help with the absorption and distribution of vitamins A,D,E, & K, and strengthen our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints. Please visit the Aiken Standard web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was well written and very educational.”

From the article…..

Since March is National Nutrition Month, I am writing about the major nutrients in our diets: carbohydrates, fats and protein. Last week I provided information about carbohydrates, the major energy source in our diets. This week I will write about fats, including saturated fats, unsaturated (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans) fats, omega-3 fats and cholesterol.

Fats tend to get a bad reputation since they are higher in calories than carbohydrates and protein and are associated with obesity and heart disease when eaten in excess. While this is true and some dietary fats are detrimental to your health, others have health benefits. These benefits are linked to the effect of the fats on the LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol in your blood.

Cholesterol is only found in animals and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are primarily consumed in animals as well as tropical oils such as palm and coconut oil and tend to raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. In fact, saturated fat is more strongly linked to heart disease than is cholesterol.

Unsaturated fats are found in plant oils. Polyunsaturated fats tend to lower both LDL and HDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are associated with lower LDL, but they do not lower HDL cholesterol – this is better. Oils high in polyunsaturated fats include corn and soybean oil while olive and canola oils are rich in monounsaturated fats.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Children In U.S. Eating Fewer Calories

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healthyjunkFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article in the Salt Lake Tribune via The New York Times news service written by Abrina Tavernise entitled Children In U.S. Eating Fewer Calories. Over the past week, I have written my displeasure with the US being called the fat capital of the world in many articles I found on the net – then I produced articles from other countries like Canada, Britain, Mexico, Australia, and China stating how they have similar concerns. There is no doubt the US has a weight issue, but they are not alone. Health care cost may skyrocket in the future if change does not occur…. change is also needed to reduce obesity related illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and weaker joints.

Then, we read a refreshing articles which states how American children consumed fewer calories in 2010 than they did a decade before. Health experts said the findings offered an encouraging sign that the epidemic of obesity might be easing, but cautioned that the magnitude of the decline was too small to move the needle much. Please visit the Salt Lake Tribune (link provided below) to read the entire article. It was well written and informative.”

From the article…..

American children consumed fewer calories in 2010 than they did a decade before, a new federal analysis shows. Health experts said the findings offered an encouraging sign that the epidemic of obesity might be easing, but cautioned that the magnitude of the decline was too small to move the needle much.

And while energy intake has not changed considerably for adults in recent years, fewer of their calories are coming from fast food, researchers said. Obesity rates for adults have plateaued after years of increases. A third of adults are obese.

The results of the research on childhood consumption patterns, the only federal analysis of calorie trends among children in recent years, came as a surprise to researchers. For boys, calorie consumption declined by about 7 percent to 2,100 calories a day over the period of the analysis, from 1999 through 2010. For girls, it dropped by 4 percent to 1,755 calories a day.

“To reverse the current prevalence of obesity, these numbers have to be a lot bigger,” said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “But they are trending in the right direction and that’s good news.”

National obesity rates for children have been flat in recent years, but some cities have reported modest declines. The new evidence of a lower calorie intake for children may also foreshadow a broader national shift, experts said.

“A harbinger of change is a good phrase,” said R. Bethene Ervin, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the authors of the report. “But to see if it’s really a real trend we would obviously need more years of data.”

A drop in carbohydrate consumption drove the decline, a point of particular interest for those who study childhood obesity. Sugars are carbohydrates, and many argue that those added to food like cereal and soda during processing are at the heart of the childhood obesity epidemic. Ervin said it was not clear whether such added sugars alone were behind the carbohydrate decline.

To read the complete article…..Click here

The “Case” For Eating Greener

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broccoliYour Health Journal…..”I wanted to promote a great article today in The Observer by Patty Hammond about the importance of eating healthy, especially your vegetables. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease. Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake. I suggest you visit The Observer web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It is one of the most informative articles I have read recently.”

From the article…..

If you want to attain and maintain a healthy weight, as well as reduce your risk for developing chronic disease, it’s time to realize how important it is to eat your vegetables.

Not only do vegetables provide loads of nutrients like potassium, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fiber, eating more of them can also help you consume fewer calories overall. That’s because fiber-containing foods, like vegetables, make you feel full more quickly. Plus, most vegetables are lower in fat and calories per cup than other foods and you won’t find any cholesterol in them. However, you need to be smart about how you prepare and serve them because sauces and seasonings can quickly add a lot of fat, calories, and sometimes even cholesterol to your vegetable dishes.

So how many vegetables should you be eating every day? Probably more than you’re currently eating, if you’re like most people. This is especially true if you eat a lot of greasy starchy fast food French fries and not many other vegetables. According to, the amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most adults should try to eat at least two or three cups of vegetables a day. When determining how much a single serving should be, just remember that, in general, one cup of vegetable juice, raw or cooked vegetables is a single serving, but when you eat raw leafy greens you need to eat two full cups to count them as one serving.
– See more at:

To read the full article…..Click here

Lack Of Sleep Tied To Altered Genes

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sleepFrom Your Health Journal…..”A great article from The Herald by Elizabeth Lopatto entitled Lack Of Sleep Tied To Altered Genes. Through the months, we have discussed how sleep is critical for good health. We touched upon how sleep gives the body a chance to rest / recharge to help us achieve optimal performance. We discussed how sleep gives our vital organs a chance to rest, strengthen our immune system, keeps hormones related to appetite stable, improves memory, reduces stress, and keeps many chemicals in our bodies regulated. Sadly today, many adults and children do not get enough sleep. Once major contributor to the lack of sleep is the advancements in technology – as there are so many ways for us to communicate and be entertained. Now, a new report states that just a week of inadequate sleep can alter the activity of hundreds of genes, which may help scientists explain how wakeful nights can lead to ailments such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. This was a very interesting article, offering great information. I encourage all of you to visit The Herald web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Just a week of inadequate sleep can alter the activity of hundreds of genes, which may help scientists explain how wakeful nights can lead to ailments such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Blood samples taken from patients revealed genetic changes that, with further research, may help answer why sleepless nights are so harmful to health, according to the study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While not all of the altered genes have known functions, some are involved in metabolism and stress response.

More than one-third of Americans sleep fewer than seven hours a night, affecting their ability to concentrate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When people don’t get enough sleep, have poor-quality rest, or sleep at the wrong times of day, they are at a higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and depression, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“These pathways are ones investigators can pursue,” said Louis Ptacek, a neurologist at UC San Francisco, who wasn’t affiliated with the research. “These genes are interesting, why is the rhythm dampened?”

Most adults need seven hours to nine hours of rest each night.

To read the full article…..Click here

Got Diet Chocolate Milk?

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kidsarmsupFrom Your Health Journal…..An interesting article in MSN today about chocolate milk and kids by Aimee Picchi. Milk sales appear to be dipping, and the milk industry would like to get approved a low calorie chocolate drink. The popularity of sports drinks and bottled water is replacing milk in school lunches and meals. So, the dairy industry is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of low-calorie sweeteners — including aspartame — in milk products. The response from parents will be interesting, as many are concerned with the amount of calories in the children’s flavored milk, but now, many parents will be concerned over chemicals / sweeteners that now may appear in the product. Please visit the MSN web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

With milk sales going down the drain, the dairy industry wants the U.S. to approve low-calorie sweeteners for the kid-targeted drinks.

The milk industry is dealing with a crisis, with sales evaporating to their lowest level since 1984. Sports drinks and bottled water are taking the place of dairy as consumers worry about calories and some schools cut back on serving chocolate milk to kids.

But now, the dairy industry is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of low-calorie sweeteners — including aspartame — in milk products. So, the agency last week asked for comments and data about the issue.

The reason? Allowing low-calorie sweeteners in milk would “particularly benefit school children” who tend to drink chocolate and strawberry milk at school, according to the petition from the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association.

Chocolate milk sold by companies such as Nestle (NSRGY -0.33%) is already available in options like Nesquik’s “no sugar added” flavored drinks, but the dairy industry is arguing that labeling terms such as “reduced calorie” don’t appeal to kids.

To read the complete article…..Click here