Foods, Health and Disease

HWA – RHEUMAROID ARTHRITIS – THE CURE – Diet

Eating healthy is more than just lip service if you’re dealing with pain and stiffness in your joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis. A smart eating plan helps keep your weight in check and boosts your overall health, giving you an edge on this challenging condition. True, your diet can cure RA, and easy changes to what you eat can make you feel a little better, why wouldn’t you? Take a look at what the research shows about foods that can help reduce inflammation and raise your energy levels, starting now.

How Does Diet Impact Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There’s more and more clinical evidence to support the idea that specific foods can help treat RA, and there are many people with the disease who swear what they eat affects how they feel. In one study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 25% of RA patients were convinced certain foods made their arthritis symptoms better or worse. (Blueberries and spinach topped the list of feel-better foods while sugary sodas and desserts took honors for the worst.)

Here are a few ways diet may impact RA:

  • Body weight: RA patients have a higher risk of obesity (and all the metabolic complications that go along with it), and if you’re obese you’re less likely respond to medical treatment compared to someone at a healthy weight. A healthy body weight also improves your odds of achieving remission and puts less pressure on your already achy joints.
  • Heart disease risk: “Heart smart” isn’t just a cute phrase for RA sufferers, who are twice as likely as the general population to suffer heart problems. It’s not totally clear why, but it could be that the systemic inflammation due to RA causes swelling of the arteries that lead to the heart. Following a heart-healthy diet is key.
  • Inflammation: Medical researchers believe an excess of inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins may contribute to RA. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, nuts, and plant oils, have anti-inflammatory effects that may interfere with the formation of these molecules.
  • Immune system: A diet rich in antioxidants gives your immune system the support it needs to fight the disease and may help reduce the chance of infection.
  • Gut health: If you have RA, you know all about GI problems like bloating and nausea. Inflammation and impaired immunity likely play a role in your gassy gut, as do some common RA medications. In addition, certain imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to RA. A healthy diet is the first step to restoring order in the GI tract.

What Is the Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Unless you have a doctor who can take the time to go over a diet just for you, than your doc will probably tell you to eat a generally healthy diet. That means go easy on the red meat and processed foods and load up on fresh fruit, leafy greens, lean proteins, and whole grains.  Some studies show that these specific types of diets can be beneficial to easing RA symptoms.

Mediterranean Diet

Ah, the famous Med diet, full of fish, whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Don’t you feel better just reading about it? Seriously, this approach has been shown to help lower inflammation, likely due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. In one randomized controlled trial from Sweden, RA patients who followed a Mediterranean diet for three months had fewer symptoms and better quality of life. Bonus: The Mediterranean diet is good for your heart, too.

Vegan / Vegetarian

It’s cool and trendy, and it also works: Several small studies suggest that avoiding animal products may help reduce inflammation and ease RA flares. What’s more, vegans and vegetarians are less likely to be overweight than meat eaters, and they have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels (markers of heart health), too. On the flip side, plant-only eaters can have lower levels of vitamins B12 (key for energy), calcium, and vitamin D (vital for bone health). If you’re thinking about going vegan or vegetarian, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian first, and keep an eye on your vitamin levels.

Intermittent Fasting

Also in the trend du jour camp, this approach seems to have legs: Research shows that going for multiple hours without eating may improve RA symptoms. Fasting may help “reset” the immune system by eliminating damaged cells and replacing them with new ones. Bummer though, RA patients tend to relapse upon returning to a normal eating pattern. Think of fasting as a short-term treatment, not a long-term solution.

Anti-inflammatory foods for RA include fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil

Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Fight RA

We’re now going to tell you that certain foods can ease symptoms  . Load up on these inflammation-reducing options, this is not just a once in awhile method, these are daily foods that are a must.

  • Fatty fish: Cold-water fish—the kind high in omega-3 fats—are perhaps the most promising food in the fight against inflammation. In another Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, RA patients who ate non-fried fish two or more times a week had lower disease activity than those who never ate fish. Cold-water fatty fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Antioxidant-rich produce (like blueberries and cherries) are great for stabilizing the “free radicals” that trigger inflammation. They’re also packed with polyphenols, which may help lower C-reactive protein. Cover your nutritional bases by eating a bunch of different colors every day.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) and reduce heart disease risk (elevated in people with RA). They’re also rich in selenium, which you might be low in if you have RA, and fiber, which has been shown to reduce inflammation. Choose oats, whole wheat, white rice, quinoa. (brown rice is processed with arsenic )
  • Legumes: These high-protein, low-fat foods are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium—all good for your heart and immune system. Black, garbanzo, and red kidney beans and black-eyed peas are good choices.
  • Nuts: Your favorite snack also happens to be full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Walnuts are especially good because they’re also high in omega-3s. Feeling adventurous? Try pine nuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts, too.
  • Olive oil: In addition to healthy fats, this oil contains a natural phenolic compound called oleocanthal, which acts like ibuprofen to block inflammation. (But don’t use it as a substitute for pain meds—it would take a 400-calorie serving to equal one 200mg ibuprofen tablet!) Sub it in for other cooking oils and butter to make your meals healthier.
  • Foods to Avoid When You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Add some, minus others. Experts recommend cutting back on these foods, which may make your RA symptoms worse.

    • Red meat: That juicy burger contains omega-6 fatty acids, which in excess can contribute to inflammation. What’s more, a diet high in red meat has been linked to increased heart disease risk. Your best bet: Choose lean cuts (10% fat or less) and look for “grass-fed” on the label, which may contain more omega-3’s than other types. Try to limit red meat to once a week.
    • Processed foods: Soft drinks, chips, and candy—the stuff of vending-machine heaven—are high in added sugars and unhealthy fats, which raise the risk of obesity and joint inflammation.
    • Gluten (sometimes): This one’s a little on the border. We know gluten can trigger inflammation in the gut, skin, and joints .
    • Corn:       This is the first place to start.  We call it the OSE group.  Glucose, Fructose and Dextrose, and others variations, on a label are made from corn. The second part of this is all dairy products.  Ask yourself, “What do chickens eat?”   Corn!      Corn is the only vegetable without a DNA structure.  No ones body can digest corn,   One more hint to all moms.  Apple Juice is corn juice!

      If you need help with your RA, write to us, and we can help you with a personal eating plan just for you.

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      Health and Wellness Associates

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      REVIEWED BY DR Anne Sullivan

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Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease

HWA- PSORIASIS HAS SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA – FOUR REASONS CELERY IS HEALTH AND A TASTY RECIPE

FOUR REASONS CELERY IS HEALTH AND A TASTY RECIPE

This tip is courtesy of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging. Get more ...

 

Celery is a vegetable that people seem to either love or hate – but if you are in the latter group, you are missing out! A biennial plant, celery is in the same family as carrots, dill and fennel. Why should you add it to your meals? Celery:

  1. Is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and its active compounds, phthalides, may help lower blood pressure.
  2. Has long been associated with dieting due to its fiber content and low-calorie count.
  3. Is rich in potassium and sodium – important in regulating fluid balance and stimulating urine production.
  4. Lends itself to soups, stews and stir-fries as well as salads, or spread with natural nut or seed butters as a snack.

When choosing, always seek out organically grown celery, as pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties.

I am seeing the popular trend of drinking celery juice, where users throw away all of the fibrous components that also make celery a healthful option. I do not think there is any evidence behind the celery juice hype, but if you do enjoy it, just don’t forget to eat the whole vegetable on occasion.

 

Red Potato Salad

 

Potato Salad
Closeup of a red potato salad. Selective focus; shallow depth of field.

Potato salad isn’t just for summer picnics. Our take on this classic side dish is a healthy, sophisticated version can you can confidently serve at a picnic, family barbeque, or even at the fanciest of meals.

This sophisticated version of a classic potato salad can be used as a side dish for even the fanciest meal. Instead of mayonnaise, we use mustard and wine combined with vinegar and a moderate amount of olive oil. The result is a sharply flavored mix for the potatoes. Small red potatoes – also called new potatoes – are better suited for this dish because they have a firmer texture after boiling than the commonly used russets or baking potatoes. Remember to remove any sprouts before cooking. If you find very small red potatoes, you can leave the skin on and cut them in half.

Food as Medicine

An analysis by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service found that the levels of phenolic compounds (which provide antioxidant protection and other health benefits) in red potatoes (and this red potato salad) rivals the levels found in some vegetables that are traditionally regarded as nutrition powerhouses, including broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, organic if possible
1/4 cup Dijon or Dusseldorf mustard
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion
2 stalks celery
2 tsp capers
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Chopped fresh dill to taste
1/2 lb steamed green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces (optional)

Instructions

1. Boil potatoes in their skins, covered, just until they can be easily pierced with a sharp knife.

2. Meanwhile, prepare dressing in a jar, combining mustard, vermouth, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste; shake well.

3. Drain potatoes, let cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into thick slices. Place in a large bowl.

4. Pour dressing over the potatoes while they are warm, tossing well.

5. Add chopped onion, sliced celery, capers, finely chopped parsley, dill and, if you like, other chopped vegetables (red bell pepper, radish).

6. Correct seasoning. Chill until served.

7. If desired, you can toss in lightly cooked fresh green beans as a good last-minute addition.

 

 

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-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

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REVIEWED BY DR “J” JARANSON

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA-KETO SNACK IDEAS

KETO SNACK IDEAS

 

GREAT SNACK IDEAS AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT EAT BREADS OR PASTAS DURING THE DAY

CARDIAC DIETS HAVE MANY REQUIREMENTS, SO PLEASE FOLLOW THOSE ALONG WITH DIABETICS.    KETO IS NOT A DIABETIC DIET.

 

 Pork Rind Nachos 2 Ways: Louisiana Hot Sauce Pork Rinds + Ranch + Shredded Cheese OR Plain Pork Rinds + Taco Seasoning + Shredded Cheese + Sour Cream + Microwave for 30 seconds

 Bacon & Guac: Bacon + Sabra Guac Singles

 Pepperoni Chips: Pepperoni + Paper Towel +  Microwave for 45 seconds + Pair with cheese of choice

Desk Drawer Soup: Boullion cube + Hot Sauce + 1 tsp Coconut Oil + Boiling Hot Water

 Dragon Balls: Hard Boiled Eggs + A rub of Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Smoked Paprika, and Cumin

Chocolate “Crackers” & Spread: Squares of Lily’s Dark Chocolate + Butter / Cream Cheese / Brie

 Ham Pin Wheels: Ham + Whipped Cream Cheese + Chopped Green Onions + Roll up & Slice

 Keto Cereal: Shredded Coconut + Sliced Almonds + Crushed Pecans + Chia Seeds + Flax Seeds + Pyure Packet + Cinnamon + Vanilla Extract + 1 tbsp MCT oil + Unsweetened Almond Milk + Heavy Cream

 Avocado Boats: Avocado + Frank’s Red Hot Sauce + Eat with spoon out of the skin

Quick Charcuterie: String Cheese Stick + Wrap in Prosciutto

 Keto Yogurt: Whole Milk Yogurt + Peanut Butter (one ingredient: peanuts) + Pyure Packet + Vanilla Extract

. Keto Muffins: 1 Egg + 2 tsp Coconut Flour + Pinch of Baking Soda + Pinch of Salt + Mix ingredients in mug + Microwave 1 minute

 Cheese chips: Sliced Cheese + Parchment Paper + Microwave until bubbling

 Keto Easy Egg Salad: Hard Boiled Eggs + Crush with a fork + Add mayo, mustard, salt and pepper + mix ingredients

Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix: Roast Pumpkin Seeds with Salt and Chipotle Chili Powder + Cacao Nibs

 Dog Dive: Hot Dogs + Salsa Verde

 Keto Smoothie: Avocado + Unsweetened Almond Milk + Ice Cubes + Pyure Packet + Frozen Strawberries + Kale

Spicy Keto Slaw: Wasabi Mayo + Bag of Coleslaw + Sliced Almonds

 Protein-Packed Chocolate Keto Ice Cream: Greek Yogurt + Vanilla Extract + Chocolate Protein Powder + Freeze for 15 minutes

 Bagel-less & Lox: Smoked Salmon + Cream Cheese + Capers

 Chocolate Mousse: Heavy Cream + Pyure Packet + Cocoa Powder + Whisk Together

 Easy Keto Breakfast: Fried Egg + Frank’s Red Hot Sauce + Bacon

Salmon Salad – canned salmon and Hellmans mayo

Keto Wrap: 3g net carbs Tortilla + Sriracha Mayo + Lettuce + Cheese + Ham

 Keto Trail Mix: Moon Cheese + Cello Whisps + Macadamia Nuts

 Crunchy Keto Salad: Chopped Purple Cabbage + Balsamic Vinegar + Pyure Packet

 

 

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-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

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REVIEWED BY DR PATRICIA CARROTHERS

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Foods, Uncategorized

HWA- COD UP IN THE MOMENT

COD UP IN THE MOMENT

Pan-Fried Cod Recipe - (4.5/5)

Coddle your taste buds, with these breaded fish sticks – you’ll fall for them hook, line and sinker.

TARTAR SAUCE

1/2 cup Hellmans Mayonnaise

1 tbsp minced, fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried

I tbsp sweet green relish

2 tsp each prepared horseradish and lemon juice

 

Cod Up In The Moment | Cooking, Slow cooker recipes, Recipes

2/3 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs

3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

3/4 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper

3 egg whites

1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, at least 1/2 inch thick

6 lemon wedges ( optional )

  • To make tartar sauce, combine mayonnaise, dill, relish, horseradish, and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley,  thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.  Lightly beat egg white in another shallow bowl.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels.  Cut fish into thick strips. Working one at a time, clip pieces in egg whites, then in crumb mixture, coating both sides with crumbs.  Place on baking sheet.  Allow some space between pieces.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.  Fish is ready when it flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges, if desires.

Serves 6

 

 

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Health and Wellness Associates

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Foods, Uncategorized

HWA-SPAGHETTI SQUASH HASHBROWNS

SPAGHETTI SQUASH HASHBROWNS

 

This unique spin on hash browns gives you a fun way to enjoy a childhood favorite while still allowing your liver and body to heal. You can serve these hash browns on their own or top with chopped tomato or a fresh tomato salsa.

The star ingredient of this recipe is the spaghetti squash, which is a variety of winter squash. Loaded with nutrients that our livers can easily store, winter squash of all varieties are a fantastic food to include regularly. They are high in carotenoids that protect liver.

Ingredients:
1/2 large spaghetti squash (yields about 2 cups cooked)
1 teaspoon dried herbs, such as rosemary or thyme
Handful of chopped green onions or parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.

Scoop the seeds out of the spaghetti squash. Place it cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pierce the squash a few times with a fork.

Roast it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft. Cool the squash completely.

Once the squash is cooled, use a fork to scoop strands of “spaghetti” out of the squash and place them in a bowl. Add the herbs. Mix until combined.

Form the mixture into patties, and then place the patties between pieces of kitchen towel and squeeze out the moisture.

Place a ceramic nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add the hash browns. Cook until browned, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with chopped green onions or parsley.

Makes 1 to 2 servings.

 

We are in this Together!

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

 

REVIEWED BY DR PATRICIA CARROTHERS

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Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Low-Calorie Sweeteners Connected to Diabetes

Low-Calorie Sweeteners Connected to Diabetes

artificial sweeteners

Giving up sugar to rely on low-calorie sweeteners seems like a good idea for your diet. Those small packages often have 600 times the sweetness of sugar, ensuring your favorite food or beverage won’t be bland. But there’s a hidden danger connected to artificial sweeteners: Dr. Sabyasachi Sen, associate professor of medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., authored a study that shows the use of low-calorie sweeteners may pre-dispose overweight individuals to diabetes.

If you are predisposed to metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat — all things that lead to heart disease and strokes — then your risk of diabetes is also increased by three to five times. According to Sen, artificial sweeteners, especially in a person with metabolic syndrome, increase fat accumulation and can lead to diabetes.

Sen’s study looked at sucralose, the equivalent of three to four cans of diet soda per day, and found that transporters on the cell surface show more cell function when a person consumes artificial sweeteners. “Glucose rushes in when the gates are open,” he said. “And this causes inflammation.”

The study found that people who were already obese were the most likely to add fat cells. “If you are an athlete and normal weight, you can handle glucose,” Sen explained.

It is difficult to determine which chemical is causing the increased risk of diabetes, but Sen’s study used sucralose-based products, which are the newest on the market. He used a low-calorie, low-sweet mixture of sucralose in powder form that was diluted and added to cells. When quantities were increased, effects were even more pronounced.

In a separate experiment, biopsy samples of abdominal fat from people who said they consumed low-calorie sweeteners, primarily sucralose and a trace of aspartame and/or acesulfame potassium, were compared. The cells of the patients who were obese showed increased glucose transport compared to those who did not consume low-calorie sweeteners.

The FDA has approved five low-sugar products — saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. One low-calorie product, Stevia, has also been approved. One of the problems with artificial sweeteners is that a small portion of a low-sugar product is much more intense than sugar, and a person can begin to use it more and more or may find normally tasty foods less appealing.

So, what should you do? According to Sen, both sweetened beverages and low-sugar drinks are bad for you. “If you just drink sweetened beverages, you are taking in sugar itself, but if you drink beverages with artificial sweeteners you are taking in greater quantities of glucose. I’m not saying we should replace artificial sweeteners — that’s even worse,” Dr. Sen added. “But consider an option like fizzy water.”

In other words, weight gain and metabolic syndrome can be a vicious cycle for some. You use artificial sweeteners and become more and more reliant on these products. The more you use, the more glucose your body produces. Foods rich in natural sugars like fruit don’t taste as good.

The other problem is that people tend to think that artificial sweeteners don’t pack any extra calories and so they may over-indulge in other sweetened products.

Sen’s research took place in petri dishes in a laboratory, but the implications for people are serious. You don’t get a free pass with artificial sweeteners — even though the research model used smaller quantities of artificial sweeteners, the impact on cells was significant.

Remember We are in This Together!

 

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Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

Health and Wellness Associates

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

 

News Picture: Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in SeniorsDiets heavy in red meat and fatty foods could help spur a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, new research suggests.

The study found that people who ate more typical Western diets were three times more likely to develop an eye condition that robs you of your central vision — late-stage age-related macular degeneration.

“What you eat seems to be important to your vision, and to whether or not you have vision loss later in life,” said study lead author Amy Millen. She’s an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, in Buffalo, N.Y.

“People know that diet influences cardiovascular risk and the risk of obesity, but the public may not know that diet can affect vision loss,” Millen said.

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when a part of the eye called the macula is damaged. Sometimes this happens when deposits called drusen grow on the macula. Or it can occur when new blood vessels keep forming and leak blood, scarring the macula, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Genetics and smoking are known risk factors for age-related macular degeneration.

The study included almost 1,300 people from a nationally representative sample. Most did not have macular degeneration. There were 117 who had early AMD, and 27 had late.

All of the study participants completed surveys about their diets twice during the 18-year study.

The researchers sorted the foods into 29 categories to measure the quality of the diet.

They found that people who ate a more Western diet were much more likely to develop late-stage AMD. Foods linked to a higher risk included:

  • Red and processed meats
  • Fats, such as margarine and butter
  • High-fat dairy
  • Fried foods.

“Diet is one way you might be able to modify your risk of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration,” Millen said, especially if you have a family history of the disease.

She noted that since the study was observational, it couldn’t prove that eating healthy foods would reduce the risk of AMD, but she said it did show the foods you probably don’t want to eat often.

Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City, wasn’t involved with the study, but said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“This study shows what we’ve suspected. A diet high in fatty foods, processed meats and refined grains makes the more severe form of macular degeneration more likely,” Deobhakta said.

Both Millen and Deobhakta said inflammation caused by a less healthy diet and stress on the cells in the eyes (oxidative stress) are likely behind the increased risk.

“The eyes are a sentinel for the rest of the body. In the tiny blood vessels of the eyes, even small changes that you would not otherwise notice in other organs, you will notice in the eyes,” Deobhakta said.

So can you make up for a lifetime of eating poorly? That’s not known. But both experts said that a healthy diet — full of vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens) and fruits and fatty fish — contains important nutrients for eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

“It’s difficult to switch the way you eat overnight, but this is almost certainly a decades-long process, so try to slowly move toward more virtuous behavior with food. Try to supplement your current diet with more leafy vegetables and increase your consumption of fish,” Deobhakta said.

And both experts strongly advised no smoking.

The study was published in the December issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

 

Every time I make bread pudding, I chastise myself for not making it more often! Maybe it’s because I don’t always have extra bread around, or perhaps it’s because I’m never quite sure if bread pudding is supposed to be for breakfast or dessert. The last time I made this fall-flavored Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I realized something: I don’t have to have a plan for it! It’s delicious hot out of the oven for breakfast, and the leftovers can be served for dessert later in the day.

This hearty dish is perfect for cold fall and winter days. When the days start to get shorter and the air crisps up a bit, I find myself craving sweet, rich food. That doesn’t always work out too well for my waistline, though. Luckily, with recipes like this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I can have my cake and eat it, too! You see, most bread pudding recipes are loaded up with excess sugars. It takes a lot of sugar to sweeten something as savory as whole-wheat bread. But, we found a brilliant workaround. Want to know how we did it?

You might be surprised to learn that cinnamon and cardamom aren’t exactly sweet on their own. They sort-of trick our taste buds into thinking they’re a sweet spice. That’s because baking recipes almost always pair them with sugar. If you were to taste a pinch of them on their own, you’d find that they’re super pungent, slightly spicy, and a touch earthy.

But, when you combine them with something sweet, these spices really bloom. They actually help fill out our palates, allowing us to really taste any sweetness in the dish. Using these spices is part-one of our super-secret hack to make this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding recipe more healthy. Part two: applesauce!

Instead of using a ton of processed sugar, we swapped in applesauce instead. It gives the bread pudding extra body while allowing the naturally sweet apples to shine.

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 6 slices whole-wheat bread , using gluten free works too
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk (or, milk of your choice)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped apples

options:  raisins, cranberries, nuts all work well

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Cut your bread into 1-inch cubes and place them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, applesauce, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat the mixture with a whisk until everything is well combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the mixture before pouring the contents over the bread cubes. Press the cubes down into the mixture to make sure each one soaks up the liquid.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until the pudding is set and no longer jiggles when you shake the pan. You can also insert a knife into the middle of the pudding to make sure it comes out clean.
  6. Allow the pan to cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  7. This pudding can be served hot or cold. Store it in the refrigerator (covered) for up to two days.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

 

At a party over the holidays, someone informed me that spinach and artichoke dip is no longer “in.”

I had no idea that food, especially near-universally crowd-pleasing food, could fall so easily out of vogue.

Then again, this came from my sister, the same one who has insisted for years that no one gets acrylic nails anymore. All I can say is last time I went in for a full set, I was in line behind plenty of other ladies waiting to get plastic glued to their fingertips.

Likewise, my sister imparted this sage wisdom over none other than a spinach and artichoke dip that she herself had made. So whether or not it’s still “in,” we all still love it.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach, cooked and liquid squeezed out
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese on high until fluffy. Add the artichokes, spinach, garlic, cheese, half the salt, and half the pepper. Mix on low speed just until combined.
  3. Carefully cut open the side of the chicken breast to create a pocket. Stuff each with the cream cheese mixture. About 3 to 4 tablespoons per chicken breast.
  4. In a large oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken carefully so the filling does not fall out. Cook each side about 1 to 2 minutes or until each side golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked though.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 389 | Total Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 806mg | Carbohydrates: 16g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 54g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4

 

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