19 Sep

I recreated this tasty trail-mix using raw nuts, sulfite-free dried fruit, and gluten free dark chocolate chips (I found all of these ingredients at Trader Joe’s!)

The Hungry Artist

Well, it’s happened:  My eight year old son asked me if he could have his own cooking blog.  I guess I should have been flattered, but my first thought was, “Oh nooooo!”

To buy some time, I told him he’d have to come up with three original recipes and posts first.  I should have listened to my husband who said he would have made the requirement at least ten posts!

A budding writer (he’s working on a chapter book — part of a trilogy– as well), three posts was a breeze for him.  And he’s always coming up with his own creations when he helps me cook anyway.  Here’s a favorite from the past:

A couple months ago, he and I were standing in line at a store near a display of trail mix meant to encourage an “impulse buy”.  Not surprisingly, he wanted me to buy a package.  To…

View original post 321 more words

19 Sep

Try to find an organic sunflower oil if possible for this recipe!

Butter Beans Blog

2519482235_35889ebe92For children with nut allergies it can be a challenge to find a substitute for nut butters, which provide lots of protein and good fats.

At Butter Beans school lunches, we serve sunflower seed butter to our students, and they all seem to love it! We stumbled upon this fantastic recipe that we’d like to share with you, so that you can enjoy this nutritious butter at home.


  • 3 cups sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions: Toast seeds in a pan over medium heat until fragrant and golden, 2-3 minutes. Place the seeds in your food processor and add salt & sugar, then process until fine. Wait 5 minutes, then process again. Wait another 5 minutes and process, then add your honey. Keep processing and add your oil. If you prefer a more crunchy texture, add less oil…

View original post 27 more words

Top 30 Worst Foods in America

21 Jul

Have you seen this list yet? Most of today’s most popular fast foods are overloaded with dangerous levels of fats, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium, not to mention the poor quality of these foods which lack the key nutrients required for health. Why do these foods remain a staple for some? Don’t sabotage your health; take care to avoid these scary foods and keep yourself on track with your health.

This list is brought to you by Eat This Not That and Men’s Health.








1. Worst Meal in America

Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Guacamole Bacon Burger with Medium Natural Cut Fries and 32-oz Coke

1,810 calories – 92 g fat (29.5 g saturated, 2 g trans) – 3,450 mg sodium

Of all the gut-growing, heart-threatening, life-shortening burgers in the drive-thru world, there is none whose damage to your general well-being is as potentially catastrophic as this. A bit of perspective is in order: This meal has the caloric equivalent of 9 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnuts, the saturated fat equivalent of 30 strips of bacon, and the salt equivalent of 10 large orders of McDonald’s French fries!

2. Worst Drink

Baskin-Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake

2,600 calories – 135 g fat (59 g saturated, 2.5 g trans) – 1,700 mg sodium – 263 g sugars

We didn’t think anything could be worse than Baskin-Robbins’ 2008 bombshell, the Heath Bar Shake. After all, it had more sugar (266 grams) than 20 bowls of Froot Loops, more calories (2,310) than 11 actual Heath Bars, and more ingredients (73) than you’ll find in most chemistry sets. Yet the folks at Baskin-Robbins have shown that when it comes to making America fat, they’re always up to the challenge. The large Chocolate Oreo Shake is soiled with more than a day’s worth of calories and 3 days’ worth of saturated fat. Worst of all, it takes less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw.

3. Worst Ribs

Outback Steakhouse Baby Back Ribs

2,580 calories

Let’s be honest: Ribs are rarely served alone on a plate. When you add a sweet potato and Outback’s Classic Wedge Salad, this meal is a 3,460-calorie blowout. (Consider that it takes only 3,500 calories to add a pound of fat to your body. Better plan for a very, very long “walkabout” when this meal is over!)

4. Worst Pizza

Uno Chicago Grill Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza

2,310 calories – 165 g fat (54 g saturated) – 4,920 mg sodium – 120 g carbs

The problem with deep dish pizza (which Uno’s knows a thing or two about, since they invented it back in 1943) is not just the extra empty calories and carbs from the crust, it’s that the thick doughy base provides the structural integrity to house extra heaps of cheese, sauce, and greasy toppings. The result is an individual pizza with more calories than you should eat in a day and more sodium than you would find in 27 small bags of Lays Potato Chips. Oh, did we mention it has nearly 3 days’ worth of saturated fat, too? The key to success at Uno’s lies in their flatbread pizza.

5. Worst Mexican Dish

Chili’s Fajita Quesadillas Beef with Rice and Beans, 4 Flour Tortillas, and Condiments

2,240 calories – 92 g fat (43.5 g saturated) – 6,390 mg sodium – 253 g carbs

Since when has it ever been a smart idea to combine 2 already calorie- and sodium-packed dishes into one monstrous meal? This confounding creation delivers nearly a dozen Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts worth of calories, the sodium equivalent of 194 saltine crackers, and the saturated fat equivalent of 44 strips of bacon. Check please.

6. Worst Seafood Dish

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Parmesan Crusted Sole

2,190 calories – 141 g fat (58 g saturated) – 2,980 mg sodium – 145 g carbs

Fish is normally a safe bet, but this entrée proves that it’s all in the preparation. If you fry said fish in a shell of cheese, be prepared to pay the consequences. Here that means meeting your daily calorie, fat, saturated fat, and sodium intake in one sitting.

7. Worst Chinese Dish

P.F. Chang’s Combo Lo Mein

1,968 calories – 96 g fat (12 g saturated) – 5,860 mg sodium

Lo mein is normally looked at as a side dish, a harmless pile of noodles to pad your plate of orange chicken or broccoli beef. This heaping portion (to be fair, Chang’s does suggest diners share an order) comes spiked with chicken, shrimp, beef, and pork, not to mention an Exxon Valdez-size slick of oil. The damage? A day’s worth of calories, 1 ½ days’ worth of fat, and 2 ½ days’ worth of sodium. No meat-based dish beats out the strip.

8. Worst Appetizer

On the Border Firecracker Stuffed Jalapenos with Chili con Queso

1,950 calories – 134 g fat (36 g saturated) – 6,540 mg sodium

Appetizers are the most problematic area of most chain-restaurant menus. That’s because they’re disproportionately reliant on the type of cheesy, greasy ingredients that catch hungry diners’ eyes when they’re most vulnerable—right when they sit down. Seek out lean protein options like grilled shrimp skewers or ahi tuna when available; if not, simple is best—like chips and salsa.

9. Worst Burger

Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

1,901 calories – 138 g fat (47 g saturated) – 4,201 mg sodium

Any burger whose name is 21 syllables long is bound to spell trouble for your waistline. This burger packs almost an entire day’s worth of calories and 2 ½ days’ worth of fat. Chili’s burger menu rivals Ruby Tuesday’s for the worst in America, so you’re better off with one of their reasonable Fajita Pitas to silence your hunger.

10. Worst Sandwich

Quizno’s Large Tuna Melt

1,760 calories – 133 g fat (26 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) – 2,120 mg sodium

In almost all other forms, tuna is a nutritional superstar, so how did it end up as the headliner for America’s Worst Sandwich? Blame an absurdly heavy hand with the mayo the tuna is mixed with, along with Quiznos’ larger-than-life portion sizes. Even though they’ve managed to trim this melt down from the original 2,000-plus calorie mark when we first tested it, it still sits squarely at the bottom of the sandwich ladder.

11. Worst Salad

On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard

1,700 calories – 124 g fat (37.5 g saturated) – 2,620 mg sodium

The dismal dawn of the 1,700-calorie salad is upon us. With as much saturated fat as 37 strips of bacon and more calories than 11 Taco Bell Fresco Beef Tacos, this abdomen expander earns a well-deserved spot on our list of the Worst Foods in America.

12. Worst Dessert

Romano’s Macaroni Grill New York Cheesecake with Caramel Fudge Sauce

1,660 calories – 97 g fat (57 g saturated) – 950 mg sodium – 165 g carbs

Considering the fact that Macaroni Grill’s savory menu is already cluttered with one of the country’s most potent arrays of calorie, fat, and sodium bombs, its lineup of destructive desserts only adds insult to injury. There’s the Dessert Ravioli (1,630 calories), the Lemon Passion (1,360 calories), and the always classic and catastrophic caramel-smothered cheesecake, which, with more calories than 3 Big Macs and as much saturated fat as 57 strips of bacon, is the worst dessert in America. Seek solace in a scoop of sorbetto—one of the country’s best sit-down sweets

13. Worst Pancake Breakfast

Bob Evans Stacked & Stuffed Caramel Banana Pecan Hotcakes

1,543 calories – 77 g fat (26 g saturated, 9 g trans) – 2,259 mg sodium – 109 g sugars

This appalling platter is stacked and stuffed with the sugar equivalent of 7 Twinkies, the caloric equivalent of 8 Dunkin’ Donuts glazed doughnuts, the sodium equivalent of 6 ½ large order of McDonald’s French fries, and 4 ½ times your daily limit of trans fat. It’s made numerous lists in our newest book, Eat This, Not That! The Best (and Worst!) Foods in America, including Worst Foods, Most Sugar-Packed Foods, and Trans-Fattiest Foods. Above all of these dubious distinctions, it’s the undisputed Worst Breakfast in America.

14. Worst Omelet Breakfast

IHOP’s The Big Steak Omelette

1,490 calories

We’re not sure what’s more concerning: IHOP’s never-ending stacks of margarine-slathered sweets or their reckless attempts at covering the savory side of breakfast with entrees like this one. With close to three-quarters of a day’s worth of calories folded into its eggy shell (thanks to a heaping portion of fatty beef), you’re committing to eating rice cakes for your next 2 meals when you start your morning off with this bomblette. Why not enjoy the substantial Garden Scramble and 2 more real meals instead?

15. Worst “Healthy” Sandwich

Applebee’s Chicken Fajita Rollup

1,450 calories

For some curious reason, wraps have come to be viewed as a healthy upgrade from sandwiches, as if those massive tortillas can be filled with nothing but anticalories. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The problem with wraps is that they function as holding tanks for fluids, so hurried fry-cooks can squirt in as much sauce as they want without making it look messy. With Applebee’s rollup, the offending sauce is a Mexi-ranch sauce, which looks suspiciously more like ranch than anything eaten in Mexico. But here’s the final insult: This “healthy” meal is served with fries. Eat them and you tack on 400 extra calories.

16. Worst Sliders

Ruby Tuesday Bacon Cheddar Minis

1,358 calories – 86 g fat – 75 g carbs

Diminutive dishes are one of the hottest trends in the restaurant world right now (probably since most are looking for ways to stretch a buck), and you’d think that would serve health-conscious eaters well. But not under the reckless watch of the burger barons at Ruby Tuesday, who manage to turn 4 “mini” burgers into the caloric equivalent of 7 Dunkin’ Donuts Sugar Donuts.

17. Worst Kids’ Meal

Uno Chicago Grill Kids Kombo with French Fries

1,270 calories – 79 g fat (11.5 g saturated) – 2,850 mg sodium

For food marketers, the color of money isn’t green—it’s beige. Any parent knows that most foods kids clamor for, from fries to white bread to chicken nuggets, come in beige. It’s also a marker of cheap, calorie-rich, nutritionally bankrupt foodstuffs. So when you see this monochromatic cluster of cheese sticks, dinosaur-shaped chicken and fried potatoes, you know your kid’s in trouble. Make it a rule when eating out: All dishes must come with at least two colors (and ketchup doesn’t count).

18. Worst Vegetarian Sub

Blimpie Special Vegetarian Sub (12″)

1,186 calories – 60 g fat (19 g saturated) – 3,532 mg sodium – 131 g carbs

“Vegetarian” doesn’t automatically translate to “healthy.” Sure, this sandwich has vegetables, but it also has 3 different kinds of cheese and a deluge of oil tucked into a hulking 12” roll. No wonder it contains more than half a day’s worth of calories and a cascade of carbs. For a truly healthy pile of vegetables, try the garden salad. If a sandwich is the only thing that will do, you’ll have to settle for the small VeggieMax, still far from a model of meatless eating.

19. Worst Frozen Meal

Stouffer’s White Meat Chicken Pot Pie

1,160 calories – 66 g fat (26 g saturated) – 1,780 mg sodium

The potpie is one of the world’s worst dietary inventions to begin with, and the damage is all the more extreme when the pie seems as big as a child’s head. Stouffer’s tries to get away with it by falling back on the serving-size sleight of hand; that is, to list as 2 servings what every person with a fork will consume as 1. Nobody splits potpies, and eating this whole thing will fill your belly with more saturated fat than you should eat in an entire day.

20. Worst Mall Treat

Cinnabon Regular Caramel Pecanbun

1,110 calories – 56 g fat (10 g saturated, 5 g trans) – 151 g carbs – 47 g sugars

Cinnabon and malls are inseparable. Consider it a symbiotic relationship: Researchers have found that men are turned on by the smell of cinnamon rolls, and further studies have shown that men are more likely to spend money when they’re thinking about sex. But just because Cinnabon might be good for Gap doesn’t mean it’s at all good for you. This dangerously bloated bun contains nearly an entire day’s worth of fat and more than half of your daily allotment of calories. (For those keeping score, that’s as much as you’ll find in 8 White Castle hamburgers.)

21. Worst Breakfast For Your Blood Pressure

Arby’s Sausage Gravy Biscuit

1,040 calories – 60 g fat (22 g saturated, 2 g trans) – 4,699 mg sodium

This is absolutely one of the worst ways you could start your day. Make a date with this and you’ll have consumed 2 full days’ worth of sodium before the noon hour. The key to maintaining a reasonable blood pressure for most folks is to take in at least the equivalent amount of sodium and potassium throughout your day. (A 1:1 ratio is seen as ideal.) The problem with this biscuit is that you’re consuming a heart-stopping level of sodium and almost no potassium. Throw in an abundance of calories and trans fat and you may have been better off sleeping in.

22. Worst Adult Beverage

Red Lobster Traditional Lobsterita

890 calories 183 g carbs

Lobsterita means a lobster tank-sized glass filled with booze and high-fructose corn syrup. You’d have to drink 4 regular on-the-rocks margaritas to outdo the massive caloric load. Pair that with a dinner and you might be pushing a full day’s calories in one meal. If you want to get drunk, take a shot. If you want to enjoy a cocktail, make sure it doesn’t start with a bottle of mix—your body and your taste buds will thank you.

23. Worst Frozen Breakfast

Jimmy Dean Pancake and Sausage Breakfast Bowl

710 calories – 31 g fat (11 g saturated) – 890 mg sodium – 34 g sugars

A disastrous trifecta of refined carbs from the pancakes, saturated fat from the sausage, and added sugar from the syrup. Jimmy’s got his name attached to more than a few solid breakfast choices, so find one less than 400 calories immediately and make the switch. Hint: Look to the breakfast sandwiches and the D-Lights line.

24. Worst Frozen Pizza

DiGiorno for One Supreme pizza with Garlic Bread Crust

840 calories 44 g fat (16 g saturated, 3.5 g trans) 1,450 mg sodium

Regardless of the crust you choose, DiGiorno’s For One line is dominated by nutritional duds. The bloated crust and the greasy toppings will saddle you with 60 percent of your day’s sodium, 80 percent of your day’s saturated fat, and nearly twice the amount of trans fat you should take in daily. Hands off!

25. Worst Side Dish For Your Arteries

Jack in the Box Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges

760 calories – 52 g fat (16 g saturated, 13 g trans) – 960 mg sodium

It’s no surprise this side dish is bursting with fat and calories—it’s a plate of fried potatoes topped with bacon and melted cheese. The Jack in the Box menu is so thoroughly swaddled in trans fats that they truly have earned the bottom slot on our list of the trans-fattiest foods in America—not to mention, the title of Trans-Fattiest Restaurant in America. The good news is that not all of Jack’s items are filled with the bad stuff—a smarter appetizer or side dish would be the Grilled Chicken Pita Snack.

26. Worst Supermarket Kids’ Lunch

Oscar Mayer Maxed Out Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Combo Lunchables

680 calories – 22 g fat (9 g saturated) – 1,440 mg sodium – 61 g sugars

The Maxed Out line is the worst of the lackluster Lunchables, with a back label that reads like a chemistry textbook. By cramming dessert and a superweet drink into the box, Oscar manages to saddle this already-troubled package with more added sugar than your child should take in all day. This meal has the sugar equivalent of 10 Dunkin’ Donuts jelly-filled doughnuts!

27. Worst Gas Station Treat

Hostess Chocolate Pudding Pie

520 calories – 24 g fat (14 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) – 45 g sugars

This is the type of snack you pick up at a gas station in a pinch and feel vaguely guilty about, not knowing that you just managed to ingest nearly three-quarters of a day’s worth of saturated fat before your tank finishing filling up. And considering these little packages of doom cost a buck or less across the country, the pudding pie qualifies as one of the cheapest sources of empty calories in America.

28. Worst Supermarket Drink

Sobe Pina Colada Liz Blizz (20 oz bottle)

325 calories – 0 g fat – 78 g sugars

Don’t be fooled by the natural motifs that adorn Sobe’s bottles. It has more sugar than you’ll find in two Snickers bars! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t buy products with cartoon animals on the front.

29. Worst Snack For Your Arteries

Pop Secret Kettle Corn (1/3 bag)

180 calories – 13 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 5 g trans) – 150 mg sodium

The only “secret” here is that the company has no qualms about trans fat. Eat an entire bag of this kettle corn, and you’ll consume 15 grams of the artery-clogging junk—that’s more than 7 times your recommended daily limit. Choose Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter for fewer calories and no trans fat.

30. Worst Canned Fruit

Del Monte Peach Chunks Yellow Cling Peaches in Heavy Syrup

100 calories – 23 g sugars

Peaches themselves aren’t bona fide junk food; they are, after all, still fruit. But why manufacturers feel the need to can, packaged, and bottle nature’s candy with excess sugar is a question we will never stop asking. In this case, the viscous sugar solution clings to the fruit like syrup to a pancake, soaking every bite with utterly unnecessary calories. Looking for cheap sources of fruit to have on hand at any time? Opt for the frozen stuff—it’s picked at the height of season and flash frozen on the spot, keeping costs low and nutrients high.

Get Exercising! Health Benefits that Can Motivate You to Get Started

2 Mar

By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, N.D.

Nowadays we don’t need as much of an excuse to exercise, or do we? For those who do, here are 15 well established health benefits from exercise that you can use as motivation toward achieving the body you have always wanted and living out your health and fitness goals.

It would be a challenge to list them all, so let’s start out with these reasons to exercise:

  1. Battle depression
  2. Boost your IQ and think better
  3. Build stronger bones
  4. Cure insomnia
  5. Improve your brainpower
  6. Increase your energy levels
  7. Lose weight
  8. Lower your blood pressure
  9. Lower your risk of diabetes and reverse pre-diabetes
  10. Lower your risk of heart disease
  11. Manage arthritis
  12. Reduce your risk of cancer
  13. Relieve chronic knee pain
  14. Slow down your aging process
  15. Ward off a cold

Keep in mind, too, that regularity is KEY when it comes to reaping the benefits of exercise, no matter what type of exercise you do. So, maintain your routine, push yourself when you have extra energy or go a little slower when you must, but know that every little thing you do for your health is a plus and will keep you looking and feeling younger and healthier… it’s never too late to get started!

A Dozen Foods for New Moms

9 Feb

By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, N.D.

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your new baby is to nourish your body with a healthy, balanced diet.

Many women are in a hurry to lose those pregnancy pounds. Did you know that eating foods that boost your energy at regular intervals will provide you with the stamina you need to be the best mom you can be? This is because eating nutrient-rich foods throughout the day can maximize the precious energy your body is trying to preserve as a new mom.

If you are nursing your baby, it is important for you and your baby that the quality of your breast milk stays consistent no matter what you choose to eat. When you are not getting the additionally required nutrients from your diet or supplements, your body will provide them from your own stores. For your well-being, it is best to make sure you are obtaining the nutrients you and your baby need by incorporating a variety of healthy breastfeeding-friendly foods into your nursing mom food plan.

Try your best to incorporate the following 12 foods for new moms as a regular part of your diet; your body — and your baby — will thank you!

1. Salmon

Salmon is pretty close to the perfect food when it comes to a nutritional powerhouse for new moms (please make sure it is safe wild Atlantic salmon). One of the best breastfeeding foods out there, salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby’s nervous system. All breast milk contains DHA, but levels of this essential nutrient are higher in the milk of women who get more DHA from their diets.

The DHA in salmon may also help your mood. Studies suggest it may play a role in preventing postpartum depression.

One caution: FDA guidelines say breastfeeding women should limit consumption of fish (due to heavy metal contamination) to 12 ounces per week because of potential exposure to mercury. Salmon is considered to contain less mercury when compared to other types of fish, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.

2. Low-Fat Dairy Products

Whether you prefer yogurt, milk, or cheese, organic, rBST-free, antibiotic and hormone-free dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. In addition to providing protein, B vitamins, and vitamin D, dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. If you are breastfeeding, your milk is loaded with calcium to help your baby’s bones develop, so it is critical for you to eat enough calcium to meet your own needs as well as theirs! Other great forms of milk include almond milk and rice milk.

3. Lean Beef and Turkey

When you’re looking for foods to boost your energy as a new mom, seek out iron-rich foods like lean beef (ensure it is from antibiotic and hormone-free animals). A deficiency of iron can drain your energy levels, making it hard for you to keep up with the demands of a newborn baby.

Also, when you’re nursing, you need to eat extra protein and vitamin B-12. Lean beef and turkey are excellent sources for both of these nutrients.

4. Legumes

Beans, especially dark-colored ones like black beans and kidney beans, are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians. Not only are they rich in iron, they’re a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein, help stabilize your blood sugars, and are an excellent source of fiber to help keep your digestion regular.

5. Blueberries

Breastfeeding moms should be sure to get two or more servings of fruit (fresh or frozen) each day. Antioxidant-rich blueberries are an excellent choice to help you meet your needs. These satisfying and yummy berries are filled with good-for-you vitamins and minerals which will give you a healthy dose of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high, protect your eyes and provide antioxidant protection! Delicious in blended into smoothies or sprinkled onto a salad.

6. Brown Rice

If you’re attempting to lose the baby weight, you might be tempted to drastically cut back on your carbohydrate consumption. But losing weight too quickly may cause you to produce less milk for the baby and leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish. It is wiser to incorporate healthy, whole-grain carbs like brown rice in your diet to keep your energy levels up (an added protein boost would be to sprinkle in some edamame beans). Foods like brown rice provide your body with the calories it needs to produce the best quality milk for your baby.

7. Oranges

Portable and nutritious, oranges are a great food to boost energy for new moms. Nursing moms need even more vitamin C than pregnant women, which makes oranges and other citrus fruits an excellent breastfeeding food. Can’t find time to sit down to a snack? Sip on some orange juice as you go about your day — you’ll get the vitamin C benefit and can even opt for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more benefit from your beverage, or similarly, supplement safely with vitamin C as a less sugary option.

8. Eggs

Egg yolk is one of the few natural sources of vitamin D — an essential nutrient to keep your bones strong and help your baby’s bones grow (opt for cage-free, antibiotic-free and organic eggs when possible). Beyond that, eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs. Try scrambling up a couple of eggs for breakfast, tossing a hard-boiled egg or two on your lunchtime salad, or having an omelet and salad for dinner. As part of your diet, you might even opt for DHA-fortified eggs to increase the level of this essential fatty acid in your milk.

9. Whole-Wheat Bread

Folic acid is crucial to your baby’s development in the early stages of pregnancy, but its importance doesn’t end there. Folic acid is an important nutrient in your breast milk that your baby needs for good health. And it’s crucial you eat enough for your own well-being, too. Enriched whole-grain breads and pastas are fortified with this vital nutrient, and they also give you a healthy dose of fiber and iron. Safe supplementation with folate is another great option to keep your body optimally protected.

10. Leafy Greens

The list of benefits you get from eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli goes on and on. They’re filled with vitamin A, which your baby needs to get from your breast milk. They’re a non-dairy source of dietary calcium. They’ve got vitamin C and iron. On top of that, green veggies are filled with heart-healthy antioxidants, they’re low calorie, and they’re tasty to boot.

12. Whole-Grain Cereal

After yet another sleepless night, one of the best foods to boost energy for new moms in the morning is a healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereal. Many cold cereals are available that are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you meet your daily needs. Or, whip up a healthy hot breakfast by stirring blueberries and milk into a delicious serving of oatmeal or quinoa and toss in your favorite nuts for added protein and sprinkle in some yummy cinnamon.

12. Water

Dehydration is one of the biggest energy drains there is. New moms who are breastfeeding are especially at risk. To keep your energy levels and milk production up, make sure you stay well hydrated. You can vary your options and meet some of your fluid requirements by drinking water regularly throughout the day. Careful with coffee and regular tea since caffeine enters your breast milk and can cause your baby to become irritable and sleep poorly. Opt for herbal teas instead.

Vitamin B12 Shots

7 Feb

By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, N.D.

Many of us are familiar with the importance of vitamin B12 to protect our nerves, cardiovascular and digestive systems, mental function and blood health. The best dietary sources are from animal products such as meat (especially liver), fish, eggs and dairy. Keep in mind that plant foods cannot be relied on as a sole source of vitamin B12 (vegans beware!). There are B12-producing bacteria in the colon, but their location makes it difficult for absorption (hence why many vegetarian animals, like rabbits, eat their own feces). Fermented soy, spirulina, seaweed, algae and nori products do not actually contain B12, but rather an inactive analogue which does not serve the needs of an omnivore’s physiology. Of course, artificially-fortified foods remain an option for those opting for this path.

The body has the capacity to store a few years worth of vitamin B12 (mostly in the liver, which is why Pâté is such a good source of B12). However, it is generally not the lack of B12 in our diet that leads to a functional decrease in B12 levels, it is the assimilation. Vitamin B12 has a very complex absorption pathway, which is what typically impairs absorption.

How Vitamin B12 gets Broken Down and Absorbed:

1. It starts in the stomach where adequate levels of stomach acid are required.

2. Next, a protein complex called intrinsic factor (IF) is secreted from the stomach lining and binds to B12.

3. This B12-IF complex is finally absorbed at the end of the small intestine (ileum).

 Each of these steps must be fully intact in order to guarantee efficient B12 delivery into the system. Here are a few reasons why certain things may go wrong:

* The casual use of over-the-counter antacids and increasing prescription of acid inhibiting drugs.

* Poor eating habits lead to a functional decrease in stomach acid output from the stomach (that feeling of being full or bloated after a protein heavy meal).

Signs & symptoms which can be associated with B12 deficiency:

    * Low energy, chronic fatigue

    * Mental fog, forgetfulness, memory loss

    * Depression

    * Pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia

    * Numbness, tingling in hands or feet

    * Dizziness

    * Headaches

    * Neurological damage

    * Gastritis, diarrhea

B12 functional deficiency is quite common especially because high stress depletes this vitamin. B12 shots CAN make an enormous impact for someone who has had a long term deficiency; someone who has problems with absorption; those with high-stress lifestyles who do not take the time to nourish their bodies properly. The shot is more of a short-term solution when compared to healing the G.I. tract and ensuring that all the mechanisms for absorption are intact. In the meantime, a shot of B12 can provide a drastic improvement in energy and mental function. The idea with the shot is to bypass all those steps needed for absorption from the diet and simply inject directly into the tissue. The wisest approach would be to use these shots in the interim and get down to business and fix the actual problem…

Maintain Without the Gain!

31 Jan

By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, ND

Can’t Keep It Off? Losing Weight is the Easy Part. Let’s face it; we all know that losing weight isn’t the hard part. Many of us have tried some form of a diet and have seen results in the short term. But few people successfully maintain weight loss in the long term once they are not in the active ‘dieting’ phase. Several studies reveal that the majority of people in weight loss programs actually regain most of the pounds – and sometimes more – within three to five years. What is going on here?!

According to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the key to keeping the weight off for good is by eating a diet rich in protein and that contains low-glycemic carbohydrates. Those who followed this plan actually continued to lose weight during the maintenance phase!

The glycemic index (GI) indicates how carbohydrate-rich foods affect blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Most highly processed grain products (e.g. white bread, pastries, white rice, cereal bars, sweets) have a high GI and cause blood sugar to spike after eating, putting you at increased risk for Diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels, Obesity, Heart Disease, and the like, especially when eaten regularly.

Meals with a low GI are thought to cause changes in hormones and metabolism which, in turn, can reduce hunger and prevent overeating. Minimally processed grains (e.g. brown rice, whole-grain or brown rice pasta, large oat flakes, whole rye bread), whole fruits, legumes and vegetables have a low GI, which when after they’re eaten, lead to a slower and healthier rise in blood sugar.

Keeping your weight stable requires the same level of commitment as when you’re losing weight. Adjusting the carbohydrate and protein content of your diet will help increase your odds of maintaining weight loss, but there are other strategies you should consider.

The following tips will help you stay focused, motivated and on top of your food intake…

Include protein in your three meals and two snacks per day. Replace calories from refined (white) starchy foods with lean versions of protein like lean meat, fish, turkey, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes. These protein-rich foods delay the rate at which food is emptied from your stomach and keeps you feeling full longer.

All about portion size, especially when dining out. It’s up to you to make the right choices: skip the bread and dessert; if drinking, opt for a glass of red wine; save half of your meal in a take-away bag for another meal the next day.

Choose low GI foods and avoid eating processed and sugary foods. Wise options are beans, lentils, nuts, brown rice pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, large-flake oatmeal, organic yogurt, and almond milk. Low GI fruits include apples, oranges, peaches, pears and berries; opt for organic whenever you can.

Keep the Weight OffRevitalize and focus, even after you hit your goal weight; it’s easy to get sloppy and allow portion sizes to creep up, extra nibbles sneak in and the motivation to work out can wane. Try keeping a food and lifestyle diary for one week each month. “You Bite It, You Write It,” as you keep track of every bite, including your portion sizes, as well as exercise. Refresh your memory about serving sizes by measuring and weighing your foods again.

Step on the scale and make friends with the bathroom scale. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a continuing U.S.-based study tracking more than 5,000 people who have successfully lost significant amounts of weight and kept if off for long periods of time, reported that 75% of participants weigh themselves at least once a week. Use the scale as an opportunity to detect early warning signals and correct small increases in weight quickly and regularly.

Moving past slip-ups will help put an end to small weight gain before it adds up. If a few pounds creep back on, don’t dwell on your lapses. Take action to lose them: Reinstate your food diary for a few weeks, go back to measuring food portions or add an extra workout each week.

Check in with your Doctor: Research shows that having personal contact with someone who helps guide your nutrition at least once a month (be it face-to-face or over the telephone) is associated with better weight loss maintenance. Feel free to reach out and ask for support from a family member, co-worker or friend.

Exercising regularly is how 90% of those in the NWCR report successfully maintained their weight; they each reported getting one hour of scheduled exercise each day, often brisk walking.