Monthly Archives: February 2011

Healthy Oatmeal Recipe

Here is a healthy way to make Oatmeal, a very nutritious breakfast, from our friends at The Picky Eater. Tomorrow we will be talking about McDonald’s Oatmeal so take note of the nutrition differences:
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The Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal :)
I can sometimes be a creature of habit. When I was growing up, I pretty much had the same things for breakfast and lunch for like 15 YEARS. How crazy is that? It was always oatmeal in the morning and some sort of sandwich for lunch (usually PB&J!).

These days, I do like to mix it up a bit more – but I still LOVE my oatmeal And honestly, I think sometimes oatmeal gets a bad rap for being boring, or tasting bland or whatever – but the key is to just dress it up with your favorite fruits, nuts, granola, milk, etc – and it ends up being an amazing and wholesome meal! So here’s my take on the PERFECT bowl of oatmeal!

So first, of course – you need the Oats… There are tons of options out there for Oatmeal – there’s the instant kind, the Quaker (e.g. filled with sugar) kind, there’s the slow cooking kind, the multi-grain kind, etc. I really like to get the whole grain / multi-grain variety that has oats, wheat, rye and barley with no sugar added.

I just love the way it looks in the bowl Oatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse – with tons of soluble fiber & antioxidants. This variety is super hearty, filling, has only 130 calories per serving and 5g of fiber & protein each!

This version is also really easy to make – you just add 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of oatmeal, microwave it for about 3-4 min and it turns out like this!

I just love how the oats get all fluffy and warm once they’re cooked! Now for the mix-ins – here are some of my favorites. First up – Blueberries!

Frozen blueberries are great because 1) They’re fresh year-round 2) They become all melty and warm in the oatmeal and 3) They never go bad! You can see them already defrosting just minutes after I put them on the oatmeal…

With a wonderful sweetness, antioxidants and fiber – you really can’t go wrong with this superfood! Once the blueberries are mixed in, I love adding in walnuts (another super food with omega 3s!)

Now – oatmeal has to be creamy and flavorful, and slightly sweet. The final three mix-ins are: Honey (yum!), Almond Milk (I like unsweetened almond breeze – see pic below), and Cinnamon (this adds a wonderful nutty flavor and goes soo well with the honey!)

Stir it all together, and your perfect bowl of oatmeal is complete! When it’s all done, it adds up to about 250-300 calories – the perfect breakfast!

Tada! We are ready to eat! I love how the oatmeal turns a bluish color as the blueberries melt into it I totally had this for breakfast today.. and yesterday… and the day before … haha – looks like I’m still a creature of habit! What does your perfect bowl of oatmeal look like? I’d love to hear from you!

Presenting The Oscar Food Nominations

The 83rd Academy Awards are this Sunday so we put together a list of foods to go with some of the movies nominated for an Oscar.

Tell us what will you be making for Oscar night??

“The Melo” Sandwich

New York City is welcoming back basketball All-Star Carmelo Anthony with open arms and what better way for the Big Apple to celebrate then with an iconic deli sandwich. “The Melo” isn’t just any sandwich though, it’s New York City skyscraper style with a pound of Pastrami, Salami, Corn Beef and a half pound of Bacon. That’s a lot of meat! And a ton of calories from our calculations it looks like this sandwich could have around 4,444 calories, 114.5 grams of saturated fat and 20,704 milligrams of sodium! Wow! But then again, watch the video and take a look at this hunk of a deli sandwich there is no way you can eat this alone or in one sitting. We love the enthusiasm New York is showing but please share this ‘Melo Meal” with friends…it looks like a heart attack on a plate for just one person!

Dealing With Food Allergies During The Holidays

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Our blog of the day comes from a mother who has a son that suffers from multiple food allergies. In this blog she gives some tips on how to deal with food
allergies during holidays and family functions.

“Holiday gatherings almost always center around food, folks, and fun, with a huge emphasis on food! That’s great except when you or, one of your children,
has food allergies. It can lead to some awkward times and hurt feelings. Since my main goal for my family is to live a thriving life, in spite of allergies, one thing I have to do is to plan ahead!

This past year Thanksgiving was at my house, so the planning and meal prepping was all done by my family, and we are getting more and more used to cooking dairy and egg free, all though we certainly haven’t arrived! But eating over at someone else’s can be no problem
with a little planning ahead.

First, figure out your game plan. Where are you going? Grandma’s? Cousin Eddie’s? George’s next door? How aware and adaptable are they in regards to food
allergies? I ask because some people are more than accommodating and will be happy to include things that are “safe” for you or your little one to eat. And
some people will look at you cluelessly when you even talk about allergies. You mean you can’t have milk? Only not cow’s milk? Is there another kind of milk?
Get out, they can make milk from nuts, is that even real? And who would drink it? You know what I mean!

Anyway, depending on the severity of the allergies, if the host/hostess is willing to cook something new, have a few recipes ready that you’d like to suggest. If your allergies are so severe and you don’t want to
risk a reaction from cross contamination, tell them your dilemma, and ask how they’d feel about you bringing your own food. Now I don’t mean a full course meal for everyone, just pack what YOU would need to eat for the meal. Or if that would be too awkward, make up a couple of recipes for you to share with everyone. This not only ensures you will have something you know is safe for you
to eat, but then you can also watch their surprised faces when you tell them that the delicious, creamy, pumpkin pie you made is, in fact, dairy/egg free.

I actually had someone say to me once, at a gathering, “I thought when you said that dessert you made was dairy free and egg free it would probably mean taste free, too. I was really surprised to find out how good it really was!” It was good to get feedback from someone on a new recipe, and it also opened the door
for me to talk about my son’s food allergies, raising awareness about it.

With all that being said, remember the best laid plans can go awry. Something I try and do when we go to a gathering and I’m not sure how it will go, is bring
snacks just, in case, there is nothing for my son to eat. Something quick and easy to grab and bring to gatherings are fruit and vegetable trays that are
already prepared (discard the calorie laden, milk infested dips that are usually included, though), this also, always insures there is something he likes, that
is safe to eat! ”

To read more of her blogs go to:

http://www.thrivinglifewithallergies.blogspot.com/

Overcoming Social Isolation and dealing with Celiac Disease

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Today’s featured blog comes from Jennifer who is a foodfacts.com member who struggles from Celiac Disease….

“The phone rings…it’s my friend calling to see if I would like to come over to dinner. Little does she know that I have just been diagnosed with Celiac disease and I’m now nervous about eating at other people’s homes. I’m still learning what to eat and how to read labels. I feel my heart beat increase, and my palms start to sweat. “What is this weird feeling,” I ask myself. I feel like I’m going to panic…and all over a social invitation. “What’s wrong with me, this shouldn’t be a big deal. It never was before, I’ve always just done what I wanted.” Oh yeah, I remind myself, it’s because I don’t know if I will be able to eat if I go over. Maybe I just shouldn’t go. Maybe I should just stay home and eat the few foods I know are “safe.” But, I miss my friends. They are important to me. I really want to go. So, now what do I do?

Does this situation seem familiar to you? It does to me because I had this happen on numerous occassions, especially when newly diagnosed. Every once-in-a-while, it still happens, but I’m no longer afraid of it.

Let’s take the above scenario and layout an example conversation of what to say and do to overcome the social anxiety that has arisen.

First, take a deep breath. Maybe, take three…and try to clear your mind. Remember, a good friend will generally do their best to understand and help you out…as you would likely do the same for them.

Next, thank your friend for the invitation. Ask, if they have a moment, for you to explain your current situation. Then you can say something like this, “Remember when I told you I was having some tests done due to digestive issues.” Response, “Yes.” You, “Well, I got my results back and I found out that I have an autoimmune disease called Celiac. I had no idea what this was until my Dr. explained that it means my body cannot tolerate the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley. There are significant health consequences that can occur if I continue to eat these foods, so I am having to change my entire diet and can’t eat the same foods I always have. So, while I would love to accept your invitation, I would need to have a bit more involvement in the dinner plan, or at least need to know if you are preparing something that I can’t eat, so that I can bring something with me and still come. Can we talk about what you will be serving for dinner? ”

Friend, “Sure…” possibly with some other questions and curiosity. “We were planning on having spaghetti. This is the sauce we are using and the spices we have.”

You, “Spaghetti will be fine. I can prepare my own noodles and bring them with me. I looked up the sauce you are using, and it will be fine, however the garlic seasoning that you have is not okay. Would it be okay if I brought over a substitute garlic salt that is on my safe list?”

Friend, “Sure, that will be great.”

You, “Also, since I am still learning myself, would it be okay with you if I helped out in the kitchen that day, just to help make sure that we keep gluten containing foods seperate from gluten free foods. It will be fun to cook together and you will be helping me learn how to eat. I can also bring over a couple of gluten free items so you can taste them too. It would be fun for me to share my new experiences with you.”

Friend, “Sounds good! I look forward to having dinner together.”

You, “Great! See you on Friday!”

Of course there may be more conversation about other parts of the dinner and the disease, but you get the gist. Once you start talking about it openly, you will be amazed at how receptive most people are. Don’t expect them to know or understand unless you tell them. Also, be patient with them, as they will have to learn just as you are having to learn. But, the most important thing to remember is, if you don’t face it and get out there. it will never get easier. Practice and communication are the key to empowering yourself and others to help you on your journey to a healthier, happier you.”

To read more of Jennifer’s blogs and to learn more about Celiac Disease please visit her website:

http://foodallergytherapist.com/blog/

Concerns over Caramel Color in Soda Causing Cancer

The Center for Science In The Public Interest is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the caramel color used in some sodas and foods. Soy sauces, steak sauces, dark beers, syrups and the popular Coca-Cola and Pepsi sodas may all contain this chemical color additive.

The Center for Science In The Public Interest is asking the FDA to ban Caramel IV and Caramel III, both made with ammonia. The color additive is also know as, 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI).

The American Beverage Association stated that 4-MEI is safe and is not a human carcinogen.

Coca-Cola released the following statement:

Our beverages are completely safe. Ensuring the safety of our products and maintaining the confidence of consumers are the most important priorities for The Coca-Cola Company.

CSPI’s statement irresponsibly insinuates that the caramel used in our beverages is unsafe and maliciously raises cancer concerns among consumers. This does a disservice to the very public for which CSPI purports to serve. In fact studies show that the caramel we use does not cause cancer. Further, the caramel we use does not contain the 2-MEI alleged by CSPI.

4-MEI is found in trace amounts in a wide variety of foods and beverages, including Coca-Cola. In fact, it forms normally in the ‘browning reaction’ while cooking, even in one’s own kitchen.

These extrapolations by CSPI to human health and cancer are totally unfounded. We have a responsibility to challenge Mr. Jacobson’s statements and make the truth clear for the public.

It should be noted that often animal lab tests do not correlate directly to human testing. As of now, it seems the biggest risk for drinking soda is obesity.

FoodFacts.com Saves the Day

We love hearing stories like this one, it’s the reason our company was founded and we are glad we can help. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

allergies-nightshade-plants

From: Kari Jones
Foodfacts.com has recently played a huge role in our lives. Last week, my three year  old suddenly developed a severe allergic reaction to almost everything in the nightshade family. She was eating a
Lunchable, something that she has eaten hundreds of times before and she broke out into hives and her face began to swell. We gave her  Benedryl and took her in. The doctor said if we would have waited any
longer she would have gone into shock. Within a week, our lives have been turned upside down. When I called the Lunchable  company and I was shocked to learn that they aren’t required to put certain things on their labels!
I stumbled on to foodfacts.com and it has been a saving grace. The fact that you acknowledge nightshade allergies is fantastic. With your site I have been able to start a running list of things that she can and can’t eat to give to
babysitters and grandparents. Thank you so much for making this life transition a little easier for us.

Have A Healthy Valentine’s Day

Sure, it’s easy to get carried away with the aisles filled with bags of Valentine’s Day candy. Hey, you might even feel a little guilted into buying these indulgent treats. But be careful, some of these treats are filled with unhealthy ingredients, calories and fats. A chocolate free Valentine’s Day?? No, no, we aren’t suggesting that! But there are healthier Valentine’s Day treats and we tell you all about them in this video:

And remember, everything in moderation!

Check out health scores for your favorite candies here:

February is American Heart Month

American Heart Month has been around since 1963 the goal is to help raise awareness for America’s #1 killer…Heart disease. A good amount of having a healthy heart deals with nutrition and the good and bad foods Americans are consuming.

Here’s a video of 5 things you can do to have a healthier heart:

To add to that list…
-Control your portion size
-Plan ahead and create daily menus
-Allow yourself an occasional treat

And don’t forget exercise is extremely important in keeping your heart healthy.