Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Dip Happily with Hummus!

Hummus RecipeAre you looking for  a healthy and inexpensive alternative to your average high-fat sour cream and onion dip? Try hummus! Hummus is a pureed blend of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, tahini (a sesame seed paste), garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. It is believed to have originated in the Middle East and has been consumed there for thousands of years. Recognized even in ancient times for its nutritional value, hummus is an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. Furthermore, hummus contains a fair amount of fiber from the chickpeas, as well as healthy unsaturated fats from the olive oil and tahini.

Traditionally, hummus is served as a dip for flatbread, such as pita bread, and may be served warm or cold. However, it is a delicious dip that can be eaten with anything from pita chips to raw vegetables. Some people even use it as a spread on their sandwiches as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise.

Hummus is available at most grocery stores. However, it is also easy to make. There are many variations of hummus recipes, so you can decide which you like best. Add roasted peppers, garlic or jalapenos to put your own spin on this nutritious treat.

Basic Hummus Recipe

Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (optional)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.
  2. Spoon into serving dish and serve with crackers; raw dip vegetables, such as carrots or celery; or pita bread.

Makes about 3 cups (Recipe can be halved.)

Recipe adapted by Rachel Stroud, EHC dietetic intern, from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hummus/

Do You Need to Be Gluten Free?

Gluten FreeAs companies are increasingly advertising gluten-free on their products, questions are starting to pop up on the benefits or issues with gluten. Diets have been started, books have been written and people have started spending more money to add the phrase “Gluten-Free” to their chosen lifestyle. While this is an excellent advancement for the gluten-intolerant community, there seems to be some misconceptions concerning gluten.

Where is gluten found?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. However, due to the extensive processing of most foods we consume today, we find gluten showing up in places it normally would not. Ice cream, vitamin supplements, toothpaste and even the glue on envelope seals often contain gluten.

Why would someone choose gluten-free?

Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies are disorders that require constant attention and diet adaptation from those who suffer from them.

NOTE: These conditions are the only reasons an individual would be required to eliminate gluten from his or her diet.

What is celiac disease?

People with celiac disease lack the ability to absorb gluten in their intestines. When the gluten goes undigested, the protein triggers an immune response, resulting in damage to the intestines. These continual immune attacks can compromise the body’s ability to adequately absorb nutrients and result in permanent absorption problems.

How do I know if I have gluten intolerance?

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the amount of people with some type of intolerance to gluten. If you find yourself suffering from frequent bloating, diarrhea or abdominal pain, it is certainly worth being tested for. If you have an intolerance, it is best to avoid commercially processed foods completely. Fresh produce or meats and foods bearing the “gluten-free” stamp of approval are the safest way to go.

So, despite the rising confusion and concern, rest assured that gluten-free is not a trend or a fad diet. It is a way to manage the symptoms and prevent the consequences of a serious disease.

What Should I Know About the Dietary Guidelines?

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

In the world of health care nutrition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans set the standard for what we recommend as far as nutrients and physical activity. In our personal and family lives, the contents of the Dietary Guidelines become a call to action meant to empower and encourage us to continue taking steps in the right direction toward maintaining healthy lifestyles.

What are the Dietary Guidelines?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the government’s evidence-based recommendations to promote health, prevent chronic disease and reduce the growing rates of overweight and obese Americans. An updated document is released every five years, taking into account recent research and health trends. The most recent update was just released this past January.

What do the Dietary Guidelines have to offer me?

With each new release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the writers focus on the latest health disparities within our country and seek to offer tips on how to refocus our nutritional efforts. Physical activity, portion control and fat make frequent appearances as headliners. This year’s update also gave us some new, simple and tangible recommendations to consider.

What are some of the most important takeaways from the Dietary Guidelines?

Balance your calories
  • Enjoy your food, but watch your portions.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to increase
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
Foods to reduce
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals. Choose foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

The full document is far more extensive than the recap above. It includes applicable research and updated recommendations. Read the Dietary Guidelines in full.

Think in Color for a Nutritious Diet

Colorful fruits vegetables for healthDo you ever feel overwhelmed by all the foods you feel you should or shouldn’t consume every day? Ever wish for a more intuitive way to recognize nutritious foods? Well, maybe it isn’t so hard after all! Often, just thinking about incorporating a variety of colors into your diet will put you on the right track. In fact, many of our needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are found in the actual coloring of a food.

As such, try using the following colors to liven up and enhance your diet:

White

White foods contain powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help respiratory health, heart health and thyroid function.

  • Key Nutrients: Xanthines, Selenium
  • Examples: Garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, parsnips, bananas, brown pears

Orange/Yellow

These foods contain nutrients important for maintaining healthy vision, immune function and wound healing capabilities.

  • Key Nutrients: Carotenoids (Pre-Vitamin A), Flavanoids, Vitamin C
  • Examples: Carrots, pumpkin, squash, apricots, lemon, mangoes, oranges, peaches

Red

Red fruits and vegetables help lower the risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

  • Key Nutrient: Lycopene
  • Examples: Tomatoes, watermelon, beets, cherries, pink grapefruit, red peppers

Green

Green foods contribute ingredients that help digestive health and help keep you feeling full longer. They also contain vitamins that influence the production of new cells and prevent changes to DNA that can lead to cancer.

  • Key Nutrients: Fiber, Folate
  • Examples: Asparagus, leafy greens, avocados, broccoli, artichokes, brussel sprouts, green beans

Blue/Purple

This color group contributes another antioxidant shown to have anti-aging, memory and urinary tract health benefits.

  • Key Nutrient: Anthocyanins
  • Examples: Blackberries, blueberries, grapes, plums, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple potatoes

So, if you find yourself feeling intimidated by all the vitamins and minerals, don’t. In the end, you don’t need to know the chemical names of all the different nutrients; you just have to know your colors!

Top 5 Reasons to Try Avocado Spring Rolls

The Emory Facial Center periodically shares new recipes that are good for the skin and overall health. This month, try our Avocado Spring Roll recipe. It’s easy to make, and avocados bring lots of great health benefits to the table. Below, you’ll find our top five reasons to give this delicious recipe a try!Avocado Spring Roll Recipe

1. Good Fat

We’ve all heard of good fats and bad fats, but rarely do we hear information about what foods we can get our good fat from, and what the benefits of doing so are. While they do contain a substantial amount of fat, the fat in avocados is monounsaturated or “good” fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids can actually help to reduce cholesterol levels. In addition, oleic acid, one of the monounsaturated fatty acids present in avocados, has actually been shown to help fight breast cancer.

2. Fight Prostate Cancer

The combination of high levels of vitamin E and carotenoid lutein in avocados makes them a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting prostate cancer. In a recent study, when prostate cancer cells were exposed to avocado extract including these two components, the extract was shown to inhibit the growth of these cancerous cells.

3. Support Eye Health

The carotenoid lutein found in avocados and mentioned above provides substantial eye health benefits. Lutein helps protect the eyes from eye diseases such as cataracts and macular generation.

4. Support Heart Health and Prevent Stroke

Those who consume diets rich in folate demonstrate a much lower rate of heart disease than those who don’t. Avocados are packed with folate. In fact, one cup of avocado has almost 25% of the recommended daily value for folate. Consuming folate rich diets is also shown to lower the risk for stroke.

5. Regulate Blood Pressure

Avocados are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Most foods high in potassium (such as potatoes) are eaten cooked. Cooking these vegetables removes about 30% of their potassium content, giving the avocado, which is eaten raw, an extra leg up on the potassium competition.

We hope this gives you an even better reason than just their taste to incorporate avocados into your diet. Let us know what you think of our spring roll recipe in the comments below!

Top 5 Reasons to Advance Your Health at Your Local Farmers Market

Produce Local Farmers MarketThere are countless reasons to incorporate fresh produce into your daily diet. From the vitamins and nutrients fruits and vegetables provide to the disease fighting properties they contain,  diets that are well-balanced with fresh produce help keep us healthy. However, when shopping for fruits and vegetables, it can be difficult to determine where to buy produce, what factors to consider, and whether the produce you’re buying is as healthy as it could be.

If you shop at your local franchise grocery store, you may often be confronted with the choice between purchasing organic or non-organic produce. Non-organic farms are where the majority of standard grocery store produce comes from. Non-organic farming techniques often use chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth, chemical herbicides to control weeds, and chemical pesticides to reduce pests. On the contrary, organic farmers use crop rotation practices, all natural fertilizers, and natural techniques, such as bringing in the proper animal life to control pests. One of the best places to find organic produce is at your local farmers market. Below we’ve outlined the top five reasons to shop locally at a farmers market:

  • Freshness, taste and variety– food sold at local farmers markets is extremely fresh, usually picked within a few days before it is sold. Furthermore, produce that is in-season is easy to come by and oftentimes you can find varieties of produce at the farmer’s market that you can’t find elsewhere.
  • Community– local farmers markets attract a wide variety of people from the community. They are a great place to meet new people that share an interest in healthy living. Meeting the farmers who grow your food is also a bonus.
  • Environmental benefits– as we mentioned above, organic farmers value the land they grow on and often take measures to ensure its future prosperity. While not all farmers at the farmers market are organic growers, these local farmers usually own the land they grow on, and hence take an interest in its sustainability.
  • Economic benefits– when you shop at local farmers markets you make investments both in your health and the local economy. Additionally, some of the produce can be cheaper than you’d find in the grocery store because the time and overhead of getting it to the selling point is reduced. The money you spend at farmers markets goes to the farmers themselves, who are able to reinvest in their farms to continue providing fresh produce at a reasonable cost.
  • Educational benefits– if you ever have a question about produce, crops, weather, and which foods are in season, the farmers market is a great place to go. The farmers welcome questions from patrons about how their produce was grown (i.e. did they use organic techniques?), when it was picked, and can even provide cooking tips. Additionally, if you take your family along with you, it gives your kids a great opportunity to learn about produce and healthy eating. They may even want to pick out a few items of their own!

We hope this information gives you a great reason to check out your local farmers market. If you’re interested in locations, we’ve provided a few of them below:

Morningside Market
1393 N. Highland Avenue
Saturdays from 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Peachtree Road Farmers Market
Cathedral of St. Philip
2744 Peachtree Road, NW
Saturdays April 10, 2010 – December 18, 2010
April-August: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
September-December: 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

Decatur Farmers Market
163 Clairemont Ave.
Wednesdays Year-Round
Summer 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (March-October)
Winter 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (November-February)
Saturdays Year-Round 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more organic shopping opportunities, visit the Organic Directory from Georgia Organics.