Category Archives: healthy eating

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Recipe: Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal Muffins

Celiac disorder, like any other diseases that require dietary restrictions, can be challenging. However, this does not mean that people stricken with celiac disease are compelled to eat bland foods because of their sensitivity to gluten. FoodFacts.com is happy to dispel that perception and share this easy-to-make, healthy AND delicious gluten-free banana bread baked oatmeal muffins!

Time: 15 minutes

Serving: 12

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 over-ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In one bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
  4. Add dry to wet and mix only until combined.
  5. Fold in the raisins.
  6. Spoon batter into lined or greased standard-sized muffin pans and silicone liners.
  7. Bake for about 11-14 minutes.
  8. Let muffins cool before drizzling Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, if using.

Note: Be sure to store muffin in an airtight container.

Tip: Turn this recipe vegan by replacing the eggs with flaxseed eggs and forgoing the Hershey’s syrup.

Recipe: Watermelon and cucumber smoothie

watermelon-932748Summer is coming!

Temperatures are rising. Seasonal fruits are back in the stands at supermarkets and pop-up food bazaars. ‘Tis the season for colorful, fruity smoothies, and Foodfacts.com is happy to share this refreshing concoction from Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family! This vegan-approved watermelon and cucumber smoothie is great for helping you stay hydrated during the hot summer months.

Bonus: it’s said to be an effective antidote to hangover, too!

Time: 15 minutes

Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup peeled and sliced cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 liter sparkling water, chilled

Additional ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine watermelon, cucumber, lime juice, salt, and mint in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Be sure to press to release all liquid.
  3. Fill a tall glass with ice, and pour 1/2 cup of the watermelon and cucumber mixture.
  4. Add 1/2 cup or more of the sparkling water.
  5. Stir in agave to taste.

Note: Store leftover mixture covered in refrigerator for up to one day. Be sure to stir well before drinking.

 

Recipe: Turmeric tonic

FullSizeRenderSpring allergies? Foodfacts.com has a wellness shot to help you combat the sneezes: turmeric tonic!  This trendy superfood contains a decongestant compound, and acts as anti-histamine. It also has analgesic and anti-bacterial properties, which means, it is great in treating allergies!

Time: Less than 15 minutes

Serving: 2

Ingredients

  •  2 cups coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Place coconut water, turmeric and ginger root in a blender, until ginger is finely shredded.
  2. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a jar.
  3. Add lemon juice, sea salt and honey.

 

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before using turmeric for allergy treatment. Ask about dosage and time intervals for ingestion appropriate for your health condition. 

 

The organic food movement

MarketSuperstore Whole Foods may have had to answer to some controversies in the recent years, but their multi-billion increase in sales in the second quarter indicates that the company continues to thrive. As a matter of fact, Whole Foods is slated to open more stores in 2016, and to introduce 365 by Whole Foods. The 365 by Whole Foods brand will cater to the same market, but will sell most organic products at cheaper prices.

Foodfacts.com is pleased to say that the success of Whole Foods is attributed to the growing mindfulness of the public on the importance and benefits of healthy eating. Rainbow-colored bagels and vibrant vodka+grenadine aquarium bowls may be popular in the United States (and on social media), but there is no denying that the country has also seen an undeniably significant surge in the demand for healthy food.

American consumers seem to have developed both a general awareness on nutrition as well as an appetite for organic food that cannot be sated. Proprietors have no choice but to give in to the demand. Last year, TechSci Research reported that over 20,000 food stores across the U.S., and 3 out of 4 grocery stores have sections specifically dedicated to organic products. That number is only expected to grow even more in the coming years.

Organic products are no longer limited to traditional sources. The market has ballooned up so drastically that there has spawned a number of start-ups in the sector. Despite the hurdles that small, new companies face when competing with large corporations like Whole Foods, high consumer demand has propelled them to success. One such success story is Los Angeles-based, online retailer, Thrive Market. The start-up sells specialty organic foods and beauty products. Within 17 months of its launch, it has already seen $10 million in sales. There are new organic products businesses that come up by the day, and venture capitalists and angel investors sure have their eyes set to seal deals to back them.

The food industry has always been an industry that is continuously evolving. Right now, there is an undisputable organic food movement in existence.

Healthy meals to prepare for Mother’s Day

Mom’s cooking is the best, alright, but this Mother’s Day, give your favorite resident chef a break! Spoil mom with these delicious and healthy meals to show her how much you love and appreciate her.

Whether you’re making breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a little snack for mom, Foodfacts.com has got you covered!

Breakfast: Organic buttermilk blueberry pancakes

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Wake mom up with the smell of freshly-cooked pancakes delivered to her bed. These organic buttermilk blueberry pancakes are sure to get her ready to start the day!

Get the recipe: Buttermilk blueberry pancakes

Foodfacts.com recommended ingredient: Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Organic Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mixes

Lunch: Grilled pork chops and peaches

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This seared-on-the-grill, caramelized, charred pork chops-and-peaches combo is guaranteed to be a hit! Add in some kale, and you’ve got the perfect lunch!

Get the recipe: Grilled pork chops and peaches

Foodfacts.com recommended ingredient: Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce

Dinner: Sun-dried tomato and feta stuffed artichokes

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End the day with this light, scrumptious and nutritious dinner. The burst of flavors these tasty sun-dried tomatoes and tangy feta cheese stuffed in hearty artichokes is sure to be a party in her mouth!

Get the recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Artichokes

Foodfacts.com recommended ingredient: Wegmans Traditional, Feta Cheese in Brine, Fat Free

Dessert: Chickpea Cookie Dough

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Of course, mom gets to have some dessert. Treat mom with these sweets, minus the guilt!

Bonus: It makes for a great opportunity for quality time to make them together with mom, too!

Get the recipe: Chickpea Cookie Dough

Foodfacts.com recommended ingredient: Nature’s Agave Premium Raw Agave Nectar

 

Note: Though some of these meals require some level of kitchen experience, don’t worry about messing them up. It’s practically impossible for mom to get disappointed at any gesture on Mother’s Day. You could get all the recipes all wrong, but she’ll still love them anyway — and you even more!

Easy, healthy guacamole for your Cinco De Mayo shindig

guac-386796No Mexican shenanigan is complete without a bowl of good old guac! For your Cinco De Mayo celebration, whip up this Foodfacts.com-approved, easy-peasy guacamole recipe from New York’s Dos Caminos’ executive chef, Ivy Stark.

Time: 15 minutes

Serving: 8

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves, divided
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped onions, divided
  • 4 teaspoons minced jalapeno peppers, divided (tip: remove seeds and membrane)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 4 large avocados
  • 4 tablespoons cored, seeded, and finely chopped plum tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice

Directions

  1. Mash 2 tablespoons cilantro, 2 teaspoons of onion, 2 teaspoons jalapeno, and kosher salt together against the bottom of a large bowl with the back of a spoon.
  2. Add avocados.
  3. Fold in remaining cilantro, onion and jalapeno.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice. Add seasonings to your taste and/or if necessary.

Ivy’s pro tip: for a twist, gently mash avocados with a fork, instead of using a food processor, until chunky-smooth.

Top this Mexican party staple with an additional dash of kosher sea salt before serving, and you are good to go!

Happy National Drink Wine Day! Raise your glass and toast the health benefits!

Wine CorksFoodFacts.com is pretty convinced that most people understand that there are major health benefits that can be obtained from drinking wine. What we’re less convinced of is that those same people know what those health benefits actually are. We thought that in honor of National Drink Wine Day a review might be in order.

The Benefit: Promotes Longevity
The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.

The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke
The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clot-related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer
The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.

The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline
The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.

There’s no denying it … drinking wine can do a lot for your health and well-being. Raise your glass and toast the health benefits!

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/8-health-benefits-of-drinking-wine

10 aphrodisiac ingredients for your Valentine’s Day menu.

There are holidays that we immediately relate with food. Thanksgiving turkey. Easter eggs. And then there’s Valentine’s Day. FoodFacts.com isn’t surprised that we relate Valentine’s Day with many different foods … chocolate, champagne, caviar – the list goes on. Not surprisingly those foods are considered aphrodisiacs … foods that put you in the mood. We thought in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’d share the details on 10 aphrodisiac ingredients for your Valentine’s Day menu.

Oysters: Oysters are high on the list of aphrodisiacs because they are rich in zinc. The notion that oysters are an aphrodisiac dates back to the 18th-century, when Giacomo Casanova would consume dozens of oysters to spike his arousal. There’s also science to back it up: American and Italian researchers found that oysters have rare amino acids (D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate) that triggers a spike in hormones.

Avocado: The pear shaped fruit was considered to be an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs, as the fruit hangs from trees in pairs, similar to testicles. There could be some science behind this notion, as the fruit has high levels of vitamin E which helps keep your energy level high.

Chili Peppers: If you have a penchant for spicy food, then know that chili peppers are an aphrodisiac since they mimic the feelings of arousal by stimulating endorphins (the feel good chemicals in your brain), speeding up your heart rate, and making you sweat.

Honey: Honey contains boron, a chemical element that regulates hormone levels and boosts your energy naturally.

Coffee: A study published in the journal Pharmocology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found that the caffeine found in coffee stimulates your heart rate and makes your blood flow.

Arugula: While arugula doesn’t sound like a likely aphrodisiac, its abilities have reportedly been noted since the first century A.D. The leafy vegetable has minerals and antioxidants that block contaminants that would harm your libido.

Olive Oil: Filled with antioxidants, the oil has many other health benefits including heart health, good blood flow and a rich source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Pine nuts: Though these little nuts are expensive, it may be worth the high price for their aphrodisiac abilities.

Chocolate: Dark chocolate has been shown to cause a spike in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure.

Bananas: The fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme which Dr. Oz says triggers testosterone production, and the fruit’s potassium and vitamin B elevate energy levels.

The holiday of love deserves the food (or foods) of love. So when you plan your Valentine’s Day menu, make sure you include a few aphrodisiac ingredients. You’ll make your meal more authentic to the holiday … and make your special someone feel even more special!

http://www.latintimes.com/valentines-day-ideas-eat-these-10-aphrodisiac-foods-sex-your-date-369203

Mars, Inc. to phase out artificial colors over a 5 year period.

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FoodFacts.com truly believes in everything in moderation. But along with said moderation, we really want people to think about what they are putting in their bodies and we’ve been trying to show people this for over a decade. Mars, Inc. is yet another company that is starting to realize that the ingredients that go into their products need to be re-examined. But is this really for our general health or because they need to fall in line to consumer demands? They announced this week that they will start to phase out the artificial coloring in their products in the next five year period.

“Artificial colors pose no known risks to human health or safety, but consumers today are calling on food manufacturers to use more natural ingredients in their products,” Mars said Friday.

While it makes us elated that large companies like Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Nestle, SA, General Mills, Inc, and now Mars, Inc. are feeling the pressure to remove all their artificial ingredients (for safer, more healthier ingredients) we can’t seem to understand why they keep coming out with statements like the one above. Even though Red 40 is approved by the FDA, there has been extensive research to come out saying it has caused tumors in laboratory animals (https://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf), and has come under serious fire by consumer and research advocacy groups.  It is also banned in several European countries. It has to make you wonder…why is the United States perfectly acceptable in allowing it in our foods?

Is diet food healthy food? If you believe diet food brands, it is!

diet food collageIf you’ve been part of the FoodFacts.com community for a few years or more, you’re familiar with our stance on branded diet foods. We’re not fans. We truly believe that dieting done right requires adapting a healthy lifestyle – one which embraces fresh, healthy foods, exercise and the avoidance of ingredients that are distinctly unhealthy. If you’ve ever taken a look at the ingredient labels of any of the diet branded foods, you know they don’t fit that bill. It’s become obvious that many consumers agree with our approach as the sales of those foods are in decline. So, like any skilled and savvy manufacturer those diet brands have set out to reinvent themselves. Is diet food healthy food? If you believe diet food brands, it is!

For years, Americans cycled through one brand-name diet after another, each promising a sure method to lose weight. Along the way, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine made fortunes off their low-calorie, low-fat diet programs and products.

But it seems those days are over, according to industry analysts and nutritionists. “Dieting is not a fashionable word these days,” says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University. “[Consumers] equate the word diet with deprivation, and they know deprivation doesn’t work.”

According to Mintel, a market research firm, few people are purchasing diet products anymore. A survey of 2,000 people released by the firm in October found that 94 percent of respondents no longer saw themselves as dieters. They were also disillusioned with the industry: 77 percent of the consumers surveyed said that diet products are not as healthy as they claim to be, and 61 percent said most diets are not actually healthy.

“Consumers are not dieting in the traditional sense anymore – being on programs or buying foods specific to programs,” says Marissa Gilbert, an analyst from Mintel who worked on the report. “And there’s greater societal acceptance of different body sizes.”

That’s really hurt the dieting industry, Gilbert says. From summer 2014 to summer 2015, Lean Cuisine’s frozen meal sales dropped from around $700 million to about $600 million, or about 15 percent. Weight Watchers, Medifast and Jenny Craig have also seen revenues wither over the past few years. Sales of diet pills have dropped 20 percent in the last year, according to the Mintel report.

Roberts says it’s likely because many people who wanted to lose weight tried these diets and programs but weren’t successful. “They’ve tried Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and books and things of their own design,” she says. “It didn’t work.”

As Jean Fain, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated psychotherapist and author, has noted, programs like Weight Watchers typically are just “a short-term fix and conditional support for long-standing eating issues” and can even exacerbate them.

With each subsequent failure, people become more skeptical about the products. Some give up on losing weight altogether, Roberts adds.

But many people do still want to lose weight, and increasingly they’re hoping good nutrition and “healthy eating” will get them there, says R.J. Hottovy, a senior equity analyst with market research firm Morningstar. “Consumers are looking for a more holistic, more health and wellness approach,” he says. “The shift in food trends is toward fresher and more natural ingredients.”

The problem is there’s a lot of disagreement over what a healthy, well-balanced meal looks like. Half of the people in Mintel’s survey said they didn’t know what to think about nutrition and wellness information.
As we’ve reported, even the federal government isn’t sure what “natural” means. And increasingly consumers have to contend with terms like gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO in the grocery store. These and other restrictive notions of eating have been quick to catch on, but often don’t have consistent scientific evidence backing them up as healthful or effective for weight loss.

Roberts, who also founded a weight loss start-up called iDiet but says she doesn’t currently make money from it, observes that food companies are taking advantage of the chaos. “Companies are bombarding [consumers] with gluten-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, and it’s got us to a very bad place because people don’t know what to think anymore,” she says. “I think what [consumers] want to do is lose weight by eating sensibly. That’s the holy grail of weight loss, and the companies say, ‘We’ll lock into that.’ ”

And while Weight Watchers’ point system emphasizes “natural” fare and home-cooked meals, it’s still manufacturing processed, high-sodium, low-fiber products.

According to Julie Lehman, marketing director for Lean Cuisine, the company, which is owned by Nestle, has put new labels on products that were already cholesterol-free or gluten-free without changing their formulations. “Lean Cuisine is an emblem of the diet culture that we’ve all grown up with. We know that and we want to walk away from that and focus on eating well and eating healthy,” she says. The brand has added “No Preservatives” and “Gluten-Free” and “Non-GMO” labels and a new line of frozen meals, certified organic by the nonprofit Oregon Tilth. “Consumers are demanding some of these things, and we want to offer it to them,” Lehman says.

Roberts is unconvinced. She doesn’t see the products getting any healthier. “They can relabel them, but the meals are not any different. If you open a box of Lean Cuisine or something like that, you’ll see about a quarter cup of veggies in there. Is that an outstandingly healthy meal? By my standards, it’s not.”

People will still be hungry and still feel deprived, and may ultimately not meet weight loss goals, she says. “They’ll give healthy eating a bad name just as they gave dieting a bad name.”

Healthy food is real food. You can easily determine how healthy your diet is by determining the contents of your grocery shopping. Are you purchasing meals with ingredient, or ingredients for meals? If you’re doing the latter, you’re on the right track!

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/20/462691546/as-diet-foods-tank-confusing-health-labels-replace-them