When Preparing For “Back To School,” Don’t Forget About Healthy After-School Snacks

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groupkidsPreparing a child’s lunch is an important part of the back-to-school routine, but experts at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital say that thinking about healthy after-school snacks is also important to consider.

“Having one-to-two healthy snacks in addition to three meals a day is what is typically recommended for school-aged kids,” said Dr. Teresia O’Connor, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor and pediatrician at Texas Children’s. “If you’re eating three healthy meals a day, then the snacks should be small, and parents should think of it as an opportunity to get good, healthy nutrition into their child.”

O’Connor recommends picking foods that will help children get the energy they need for the rest of the afternoon while also offering snacks that will help them meet daily nutritional goals. For example, it is recommended that children get at least five fruits and vegetables per day, so a way to achieve this is to offer fruit and vegetable snacks.

“Many kids come home after school having had an early lunch and are pretty hungry, so picking snack foods that will help them feel full, but not over full or stuffed is important. That way they are not ravenous by the time dinner comes around, but hungry enough to eat a healthy meal” said O’Connor.

O’Connor suggests incorporating proteins and whole grains for satiety and also combining fruits and vegetables with proteins and whole grains. See her recommendations here.

What to avoid

She notes that snacks to keep to a minimum are those with added or excess sugar, such as candy, cookies; as well as fried foods, such as chips. These snacks should be the exception, not the rule.

“Everything can be eaten in moderation, but those kinds of foods are the ‘every now and then’ types of food and not the ‘go-to every day’ as an afternoon snack,” she said.

Snacks can be important

O’Connor emphasizes the importance of giving children a healthy snack to be sure they are able to focus on their homework and have the energy to engage in playtime or sports. However, make sure that the snack is healthy and has good nutrients in it instead of a high-calorie snack that does not have many nutrients but adds a lot of fat and sugar.

Timing of snacks

What time children have a snack varies on what your family schedule is like. Snacks should not be eaten less than an hour before dinner, because children may then not be as hungry for dinner. A healthy snack allows them to avoid being extremely hungry for dinner and eating too fast or more than they need.

“Snacks provide that balance so that you go into dinner feeling a little bit hungry but not ravenous,” said O’Connor.

After-school care

If kids are in an after-school program, check to see if the program offers snacks and talk to program leaders to see if they are healthy. If the snacks are not healthy, talk to the program coordinator to see if you can pack something small and healthy for your child.

After-school sports

boysoccerIf children are involved in after school sports, it can be important for them to have a snack before they spend an hour or two in physical activity after the school day.

“Proteins and whole grains are going to stay with them a lot longer than a candy bar. The kind of nutrients you get from proteins and whole grains give you energy for a much longer sustained time than processed simple sugars,” said O’Connor.

Healthy drinks

It is also important to think about what your kids are drinking – be sure they are not taking in empty calories and excess sugars from their drinks. Try to avoid sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks.

Instead, try to incorporate a glass of water or a glass of skim milk.

“I find that a lot of kids don’t get adequate hydration during the day,” said O’Connor. “Try getting your kids used to drinking a glass of water when they get home to make sure they’re keeping their bodies hydrated.”

Older children

Many middle school and high school students arrive home before their parents, and O’Connor says parents should be sure they are creating an environment where these teens are more likely to pick healthy snacks rather than unhealthy snacks. This means making sure foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain crackers and low-fat yogurt without a lot of sugar are available to them and making sure that the pantry is not full of potato chips, candies and cookies.

“Think ahead of time about how you are setting up your pantry and refrigerator and make the environment at home a healthy one,” she said.

Set the example

There are a few things that parents can do to help their kids make healthier choices. The first is getting them involved in helping you pick healthy snacks at the grocery store – they are more likely to eat the foods if they are able to choose themselves. Also, parents should act as role models for healthy eating. If parents come home and have a glass of water and fruits and vegetables, their children are more likely to follow this.

O’Connor also notes that in some cultures, the after-school meal is the main dinner and says that this still fits into a healthy diet as long as there are still only three meals and one-to-two snacks a day.

– Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine

Peter Piper’s Pepper Picks

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By Kac Young PhD, ND DCH

If Peter Piper truly picked a peck of peppers, then he had 1/4 of a bushel or 2 US dry gallons. Were they red, green, yellow, orange, purple or all of the above? What did Peter Piper do with his peppers once he picked them? We assume he made a feast for the neighborhood.

He might have chosen to cook Heart Easy stuffed peppers that are low in calories, full of vitamins A and C, folic acid, Vitamin B6 and an excellent source of dietary fiber.

In his red bell peppers, he got bonus lycopene, an important carotenoid that may have helped protect him against prostate and other cancers.

Peter may have already known that bell peppers, adaptable plants that are part of the nightshade family, are fairly hardy and can be grown in a variety of climates. Versatile geographic gems, bell peppers are found in many types of traditional cuisines, from Mexican and European to Chinese and Creole dishes. Delicious many ways, bell peppers can be eaten raw as crudités or in a salad; stuffed and baked; sautéed or stir-fried.

We’ve added some protein and given a new kick for Peter Piper’s Peck of Peppers. Try this recipe and fill your family with goodness and enjoyment of one of nature’s greatest treats.

stuffed pepper with rice and beansHeart Easy ™ Stuffed Peter Piper Peppers with Triple Rice and Beans

Ingredients:

1 Cup red beans soaked in 2 Cups of water overnight and drained

1 Cup of brown rice

1 Cup wild rice

1 Cup coarsely chopped onion

1 packet of condensed low sodium non fat chicken broth dissolved in 3 Cups of water (or 3 Cups of low sodium non fat chicken broth) Do not use the high sodium chicken stock cubes.

16-20 oz. ground turkey breast

2 tsp. cold pressed virgin olive oil

1 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes with basil, drained

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/2 Cup SoySation ® 3 Cheese blend

4-6 red or green bell peppers, cleaned and tops cut off. (scallop the edges if you wish)

Directions:

recipeskacyoungCombine soaked and plumped beans with dry rices, onion and chicken broth in a large kettle. Bring to boil and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a skillet and brown the ground turkey breast until the pink has disappeared. Break up turkey breast with a potato masher until the texture is fine pieces. Set aside.

When beans and rice are ready, add tomatoes and stir. Add turkey, SoySation®, seasonings and stir. Fill prepared peppers with mixture, place in an oven-proof baking dish and bake at 350˚ for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Tip: Only purchase bell peppers that are free of blemishes, and try to hold out for organically grown varieties.

– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy Cook Book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals anyone can make and everyone will love.

Offending Foods – Part 2

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By Mark Pitstick, MA, DC

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

cookiesAfter 30 days of eliminating a food, re-introduce it to your diet and see if there are immediate inflammatory responses such as rash, itching, burning eyes or sinus drainage. Next, wait two days to see if any bowel, mental or musculo-skeletal symptoms arrive. If that food seems OK, add it to your diet but no more than three times per week. Then test another food until you’ve gone through the list of suspected food allergies.

In my opinion, a nutritional-based healthcare program is the best way to test for food allergies. The best ones I know of include Nutrition Response Testing, System Strength Analysis, Applied Kinesiology, Contact Reflex Technique, Bio-Meridian and Stressor Nutrient Balancing. Do a search for one of these techniques and find the best practitioner near you. Feel free to contact me if I can help you or your loved ones in any way.

These methods detect stressors such as food allergies and offending foods. Treatment includes avoiding offending foods for 90 days and perhaps taking digestive enzymes and/or betaine hydrochloride to facilitate elimination of food residues in the body.

Food allergies can also be nature’s way of saying it doesn’t like the quality of that food. For example, were the tomatoes you ate chemical-free or not? Was the beef grass-fed and pastured raised? Pasteurized milk from pen-raised cows receiving hormones and antibiotics is understandably more likely to cause health problems than certified raw dairy products from pasture raised cows.

Likewise, people are often allergic to “commercial eggs”—those from chickens raised in unhealthy conditions. In this case, the words “organic” and “free range” can’t be trusted due to business lobbyists affecting food-labeling laws. “Organic” chicken eggs can only mean that the hens were fed organic feed—even though they were raised in cramped cages. Similarly, “free range” eggs can mean that the chickens had access to a small concrete pen during half of their short lives.

Allergies to farm fresh or pastured hen eggs are rare and the eggs are more nutritious and healthy. Likewise, some people with wheat or other grain allergies can handle products from Europe that have not been subjected to genetic modification, herbicides and pesticides. Read books and articles by journalist Michael Pollan to learn more about this topic that is so important for the health of you and your family throughout the generations.

The health status of a person also affects what foods he or she is “allergic” to.

The health status of a person also affects what foods he or she is “allergic” to. For example, foods containing yeast (wine, beer, aged cheeses, bread, pretzels, cider) may be especially problematic for those with an overgrowth of yeast in their body. Also, if a person’s filtration organs (colon, liver, kidneys) are overwhelmed, a person may be “allergic” to more foods than if those systems were functioning normally.

By the way, some environmental allergies (pet hair, dust, mold, pollen, grass and other unavoidable particles) are actually secondary allergies because of primary food allergies. Many clinicians have found that “environmental allergies” decrease or disappear when food allergies are addressed

In short, becoming truly healthy and eating moderate amounts of healthfully raised foods may be the solution versus avoiding supposedly allergenic foods the rest of your life. Work with your health care practitioners to see how this applies to you.

Mark Pitstick, B.S., M.A., D.C., has over forty years experience and training in hospitals, pastoral counseling settings, mental health centers, and holistic private practice. His training includes a premedical degree, graduate theology/pastoral counseling studies, masters in clinical psychology, and doctorate in chiropractic. His book Radiant Wellness: A Holistic Guide for Optimal Body, Mind and Spirit was endorsed by Drs. Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Bernie Siegel and others. Mark has been a frequent radio and TV guest and hosted a nationally syndicated radio show. He has presented many workshops on holistic health and spiritual awareness. He has been a review editor and regular contributor to many magazines and e-zines. Mark founded the Radiant Wellness Center and the Stressor-Nutrient Balancing healing method.

Disclaimer: Listing improvements of past patients’ problems does not imply a guarantee for those with similar conditions. I do not claim to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. I do teach people and health care professionals how to assist the body in healing itself of imbalances.

Offending Foods – Part 1

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By Mark Pitstick, MA, DC

peanutfreeAs I know very well from personal experience, food allergies can cause many serious physical and mental symptoms. I was nearly fifty years old before figuring out that I am allergic to wheat, dairy, corn, soy and sugar. Do you know how many meals and processed foods those five are in?

I suffered with many symptoms—clues from my body that it couldn’t tolerate those foods. Those symptoms hurt the quality of my life as a family member, friend, doctor and teacher. I did a good job . . . but not always the outstanding level that is possible.

Now I eat the real food diet 95 percent of the time and can tolerate occasionally eating a little bit of those foods. Addressing my food allergies has been a huge part of feeling happy, healthy and energetic almost all of the time.

That’s one reason I’m so passionate about getting this basic wellness information out to as many people as possible. Children shouldn’t have to suffer because of food allergies nor should adults have to search high and low for solutions to their health problems. It’s hard to know and show your fullest potentials when you feel tired, depressed and out of balance.

Food allergies can cause many serious physical and mental symptoms. Allergies create inflammatory changes that, in turn, contribute to symptoms of the bowel (diarrhea, constipation, bloating, excess gas), musculo-skeletal system (joint and muscle soreness and stiffness), “mental problems” (depression, brain fog, anxiety, panic, fatigue), cardiovascular system and other areas.

Food allergies can cause many serious physical and mental symptoms.

Marshall Mandell, M.D., author of Allergy, the Unrecognized Cause of Physical, Mental, and Psycho-somatic Illness, says that processed foods containing sugar and white flour are common triggers of food allergies. Canned foods offend more often than fresh sources.

The most common allergy producing foods are dairy products, wheat, yeast, eggs, sugar, corn and soy. Nonfat and low-fat varieties of cow’s milk are especially troublesome because there’s less fat to buffer casein, the allergy-producing protein in milk. Allergies to gluten—found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, kamut, spelt and triticale—are also very common.

Nutritional experts are also increasingly questioning the benefits of soy because it’s a very common allergy-provoking food, is difficult to digest, and often comes from genetically modified sources. In moderation, fermented, organic, non-GMO soy products—miso, natto, tempeh and tofu—are better tolerated than non-fermented soy products. Serving sizes are an issue as well. Asian cultures tend to use small amounts while westerners overdo it.

People are more familiar with IgE allergies that cause immediate onset reactions, such as those experienced with allergies to peanuts. The symptoms are obvious and directly follow ingestion of the offending food. As such, they are relatively easy to identify and avoid.

Much more common, however, are IgG or delayed onset food allergies. Symptoms from this type of food allergy typically take about 48 hours to show up and may not always trigger a reaction. Thus, it’s difficult to determine what foods caused what symptoms. Paradoxically, people are sometimes most allergic to foods that they like and eat the most.

However, as discussed in Hidden Food Allergies by James Braly, M.D., and Patrick Holford, identifying IgG food allergies is easier with current testing methods. They recommend a quantitative IgG ELISA food allergy test.

Another method of identifying foods that trigger allergies is to use food rotation and elimination techniques as described in How to Control Your Allergies by Robert Forman, Ph.D.; The McDougall Plan by John McDougall, M.D.; or Is This Your Child? by Doris Rapp, M.D.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article…..

Mark Pitstick, B.S., M.A., D.C., has over forty years experience and training in hospitals, pastoral counseling settings, mental health centers, and holistic private practice. His training includes a premedical degree, graduate theology/pastoral counseling studies, masters in clinical psychology, and doctorate in chiropractic. His book Radiant Wellness: A Holistic Guide for Optimal Body, Mind and Spirit was endorsed by Drs. Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Bernie Siegel and others. Mark has been a frequent radio and TV guest and hosted a nationally syndicated radio show. He has presented many workshops on holistic health and spiritual awareness. He has been a review editor and regular contributor to many magazines and e-zines. Mark founded the Radiant Wellness Center and the Stressor-Nutrient Balancing healing method.

Disclaimer: Listing improvements of past patients’ problems does not imply a guarantee for those with similar conditions. I do not claim to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. I do teach people and health care professionals how to assist the body in healing itself of imbalances.

Good Nutrition Beyond The Family Meal !

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By Stacey Antine

healthyeatingboyFamily meals are an important tool to emphasize healthy eating and social habits, but the sky is the limit when you connect good nutrition to exploring the great outdoors on family time! Warm weather means it’s time to shut off the TV, to stop texting and get connected with trees, birds, worms and so much more right in our own state, town or backyard. Here’s how to get started on your exciting outdoor adventure with family and friends:

• Mark the Calendar. Schedule play dates with nature at parks, farms, farmers’ markets events and botanical gardens by getting them on the calendar when everyone (pets, too!) is available and then, start the research!

• Start a Garden. From my personal experience of working with thousands of kids of all ages, they love to grow, harvest and cook with their hand-grown food. There is nothing more rewarding for a child (or grown-up kid) to plant carrot seeds, watch their tops grow and then, dig for orange gold when these delicious carrots loaded with beta-carotene are ready to be harvested. Remember you won’t see dancing chicken nuggets in the garden or cans of soda being dumped on the plants because it would hurt the plants. Once kids make the nature-nutrition connection and apply it to their own bodies, their light bulbs go off and you will see their food choices move in a healthier direction.

• Jump into Composting. Composting and gardening go hand-in-hand. It’s an exciting way for the family to eat more fruits and veggies to help build up the pile, reduce landfill garbage, get some exercise and hang out with worms!

• Variety Cures Boredom. Each weekend can bring a new adventure by visiting the local zoo, hike a new path, bike ride as a family and pack a fun, nutritious picnic at the local park. Splurge by camping overnight (I can promise you that you will not find any vending machines at these locations!).

• Go Veggie Picking. Visit a local farm that offers the public the opportunity to pick your own produce and enjoy the experience knowing where your food comes from.

• Bring the Binoculars. Sitting still is a new concept for many of us in our 24/7 lifestyles, but if you just rest and take in the sites, you will be amazed to watch nature at work!

• Keep a Journal. Kids love to create journals of their experiences including what foods they picked and tried, what bugs they found, and any other family adventure. Everyone can participate in drawing, writing or adding stickers of what was observed. Don’t forget the camera!

Get planning and enjoy the great outdoors with your family and remember that good nutrition is an experience that can be achieved beyond the plate at the family meal.

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, founder, HealthBarn USA, author, Appetite for Life and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

97% Of Kids’ Meals Still Unhealthy

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hamburgervectorFrom Your Health Journal…..”I wanted to promote an excellent article I found written by Barb Berggoetz of The Indianapolis Star entitled 97% of kids’ meals still unhealthy, groups warns. First, the image from the article catches my eye, as it shows back to back to back fast food establishments side by side. As we know, there is an obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world, as well as a rise in obesity related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, asthma, weak joints, and heart disease. Some of the major components to a child’s life that contribute to this health issue are the increase of technology usage, reduction of physical activity, and poor diet. Today’s article review is questioning whether are fast-food restaurant kids’ meals getting healthier? A recent study on fast food found 97 percent of the nearly 3,500 meal possibilities did not meet the center’s nutrition criteria for 4- to 8-year-olds. The criteria from this study says kids’ meals cannot exceed 430 calories, more than 35 percent of calories from fat or more than 10 percent of calories from saturated plus trans fat. They cannot have more than 35 percent added sugars nor more than 770 milligrams of sodium. Also, they must provide at least a half serving of fruit or vegetable, including an item that is 51 percent or more whole grain or including specified levels of vitamins or fiber. The criteria exclude sugar drinks, in favor of water, juice or low-fat milk. Please visit the Indy Star’s web site (link provided below) to read this complete article. It was well written and very informative.”

From the article…..

Are fast-food restaurant kids’ meals getting healthier?

Sure, some have added apples or offer milk as a drink option. And with all the attention on childhood obesity and good nutrition, one might think significant changes were under way.

Not so, at least according to a recent survey by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization focusing on nutrition and food safety.

The group’s report found 97 percent of the nearly 3,500 meal possibilities did not meet the center’s nutrition criteria for 4- to 8-year-olds.

Only slight progress has been made since 2008, when the center last reviewed kids’ meals at chain restaurants. At that time, 99 percent of the meals didn’t meet its standards. In 2008, one-third of chain restaurants had at least one meal that met standards. Now, 44 percent do.

Registered dietitian Heather Fink, though, says it’s up to individuals to make healthier choices.

“It’s a parent’s decision in most cases,” said Fink, owner of Nutrition & Wellness Solutions, a nutrition consulting firm in Fishers. “The parents should be in charge of choosing a healthier option. If you want a healthier meal, just don’t go to fast food restaurants. I wouldn’t expect them to be healthy.”

The criteria say kids’ meals cannot exceed 430 calories, more than 35 percent of calories from fat or more than 10 percent of calories from saturated plus trans fat. They cannot have more than 35 percent added sugars nor more than 770 milligrams of sodium. Also, they must provide at least a half serving of fruit or vegetable, including an item that is 51 percent or more whole grain or including specified levels of vitamins or fiber. The criteria exclude sugar drinks, in favor of water, juice or low-fat milk.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Eating Right On Vacation

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By Cole Millen

saladplateSo, you have dieted in preparation for a great vacation and you are looking good. How are you going to keep the weight off during your relaxation time? Not to worry. It is possible to eat well on vacation and come back without having to fight the scale for your pre-vacation body.

Leaving
You might not know it, but your mission to keep the weight off starts before you are on vacation and while you are leaving. You will be tempted to catch a quick meal on the road or at the airport because you had to spend time getting all of your last minute vacation needs together. Either pack yourself a healthy snack from home or fill up on healthy food before you go. You will be too full to hit the fast food places at the airport which will save you both calories and cash!

Room Service
Forget about ordering in and room service when you are at the hotel. Hit the Internet and find the nearest market. Stop there for healthy foods at mealtime and put healthy snacks that do not require refrigeration, such as fruits, in your hotel room. If you have a fridge in your room, stock it with the foods you were eating on your diet. Above all, skip the drinks in the hotel and your mini-bar. The calories in these will destroy any diet. Both your midsection as well as your credit card will be extremely grateful!

Reading Reviews

One of the major factors that I found that has made a tremendous impact in my travels, was when I began to read the reviews on the areas and restaurants of where I was staying before hand.

One of the major factors that I found that has made a tremendous impact in my travels, was when I began to read the reviews on the areas and restaurants of where I was staying before hand. Without this knowledge, it is practically a free for all when you get to where you are going and this is what often leads to unhealthy eating and expensive spending. I did a poor job of this in the past and paid the ultimate price with weigh gain. My most recent trip, I stayed in a hotel and I searched the destination’s reviews and ended up with the best option for my personal eating habits. Looking up the reviews on your hotel and surroundings can be a difference maker when you are trying to be healthy on your travels. They offer important information such as whether or not they have a pool to exercise, continental breakfast, workout room, healthy restaurants available/ nearby, as well as local markets. Make sure to do your homework prior to your departure.

Restaurants
Unless you are vacationing alone, you are likely to wind up at a restaurant at some point, even if you do not want to eat out. That is okay. Go straight for healthy dishes like salad and fish. Order steamed vegetables in lieu of starches like bread, pasta and potato. Do not order anything fried. If you are at a restaurant that sells huge portions, ask for a take-out container as soon as your meal arrives. Dump half of it in the container and save it for later. You will be less likely to overeat if you make that commitment right away.

girljogExercise
You do not have to hit the gym while you are on vacation, but go right ahead if you enjoy it. You will get plenty of exercise just enjoying your surroundings. You are probably in a nice climate in a beautiful location if you are on vacation, so make the most of it. Go for a walk or jog. Go rafting, hiking, swimming or even shopping. Just stay on the go when you can. When you cannot, stick to salad and lean protein that day.

At the end of a vacation following these tips, you will be sure to come home healthy and with a little more cash in pocket.

– This article was written by Cole Millen, an avid traveler and health enthusiast who has devoted his craft to helping others stay on track during their travels. This most recent post was inspired by his stay in a Las Vegas hotel where finding healthy food can be as difficult as winning in the casino!

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

Ingredients:

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.

Directions:

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

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.

boycookieDon’t:

• 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.

Do:

• 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.

bloodpressureHypotension

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

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 MHA.org.uk. She enjoys writing about elderly healthcare and dementia care.