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Entries in nutrition (6)


How many vegetables a day? How much fruit? New study says 10.

Research shows that eating up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day can significantly improve your health. A new meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Epidemiology looked at up to 2 million people in 95 studies worldwide and found that:

approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 g, of fruit and vegetables a day.

That's about 1 3/4 pounds a day, easy on a plant-based diet. Read on for the risks avoided and the best fruits and vegetables to eat.

fruit salad

Click to read more ...


Is WAO a "diet tailored to embracing corporate-industrial agriculture"?!?

I'm thrilled that Mother Earth Living is featuring the first chapter of my book Wildly Affordable Organic (WAO) in its March/April issue. Some of the online comments on the site, though, snapped my head back. Am I a self-satisfied sneak who embraces corporate agriculture by foisting empty calories on the poor? If I am, please stop me before I cook again! My intention with the Cook for Good project is to support local farms, empower families with core skills, and to help people live lightly and joyfully on our planet. To put it in Cadillac vs. Ford terms, I give a damn, n'est-ce pas?  

I've responded to some key comments in detail below. Decide for yourself and, if you'd like, join in the conversation ...

Click to read more ...


Blueberry Pudding vs. Doughnuts Smackdown! 

Looking for a way to ward off diabetes, keep your heart healthy, and keep at a healthy weight? Just cook from scratch. Even foods that seem luxurious are so much better for you than fast food or processed food.

Take this week's recipe for Blueberry Rice Pudding for example. "Pudding for breakfast?," Mrs. Persnickety might gasp. Not every day, of course, but it makes a splendid treat. It's also a thrifty way to use leftover rice and slightly shriveled blueberries.

Let's compare a breakfast-sized serving of Blueberry Rice Pudding to one of my old favorite Sunday breakfasts from Krispy Kreme: two chocolate-iced cake doughnuts and a glazed raspberry-filled doughnut (for "fruit"). I'd wash them down with several cups of coffee. Jit-jit-jittery! Check out this chart ...

Click to read more ...


What do you think about the new IOM study on calcium and vitamin D?

A new research survey from the Institute of Medicine concludes that most people in the U.S. and Canada do not need more calcium or vitamin D to maintain bone health, although some teen-aged girls may be low in calcium and people over 70 might be lacking in both nutrients.

Too much calcium can cause kidney stones and too much vitamin D can harm one's kidneys and heart. The report says that both nutrients are needed for strong bones but not for "other health conditions." Widely reported studies that claimed these nutrients helped prevent everything from cancer to diabetes and help with physical performance and healthy reproduction were found to be from studies that provided "mixed and inconclusive results and could not be considered reliable." Wowser!

Here are some calcium values from the USDA National Nutrient Database:

foods high in calcium size calcium (mg)
orange juice, fortified with calcium 1 cup 500
milk 1 cup 352
Cheddar 1 ounce 204
collards,cooked 1/2 cup 133
black beans, cooked 1/2 cup 51
kale, cooked 1/2 cup 47
broccoli, raw 1 cup 43
chickpeas, cooked 1/2 cup 40

What to do? I'm going to start taking a calcium supplement again and make sure I get plenty of sunshine and exercise. The IOM says growing kids need up to 1,300 mg of calcium a day, with adults needing from 1,000 to 1,200 mg. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of only 400-500 mg of calcium a day to prevent osteoporosis in countries with high fracture rates, including the U.S. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine director of nutrition education Susan Levin says in their response to the IOM study that:

The most healthful calcium sources are green leafy vegetables and legumes, or "greens and beans." Broccoli, collards, kale, and other greens are loaded with highly absorbable calcium and a host of other important nutrients. They’re also low in fat and cholesterol-free.

I'd love to hear what you think, especially those of you who are nutritionists or otherwise have expert knowledge in this area. Please add your 2 mg's worth below.



Eden Organic Pasta, Gulliver's Travels, and Knavery

The Eden Organic Pasta website still has bad information about the serving size for much of its pasta, so I've written a note to Eden Foods president Michael Potter. Got a little shiver when I noticed that he shares a last name with Sue Potter, the marketing manager who has been my contact on this issue. I feel bad complaining to one family member about another, if that's the case, but I'd feel worse letting this slide.

Cathy H., a Registered Dietitian and Master of Public Health, wrote saying this is a big deal for diabetics as well as vegetarians and other protein counters:

Probably a more important issue with the mislabeled pasta is that the carbohydrate amounts would be off and if someone is counting carbs in order to match their insulin to the carbs eaten they would be off by 1/2 and with pasta that is a big deal.

When a company refuses to fix such as easily fixed problem (updating a few website graphics) after it has caught the public's eye, then what else is slipping through the cracks?

I've been reading Gulliver's Travels and was struck by this description of the laws in Lilliput:

They look upon Fraud as a greater Crime than Theft, and therefore seldom fail to punish it with Death: For they alledge, that Care and Vigilance, with a very common understanding, may preserve a Man's Goods from Thieves, but Honesty hath no Fence against superior Cunning: And since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual Intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon Credit; where Fraud is permitted or connived at, or hath no Law to punish it, the honest Dealer is always undone, and the Knave gets the Advantage.

I don't think the Knave Eden Organic is conniving, just permitting. Which honest Dealer is undone? In my case, it was Whole Foods. I quit buying their less expensive and nutritionally superior pasta in favor of Eden Organic's mislabeled product.