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New nutrition labels, same healthy eating advice

We all know that as a nation, we are getting bigger and heavier. Worse still, our future - our children- are becoming obese and unhealthy at increasingly younger ages. For decades, the scourge of obesity was blamed on a high calorie, high fat diet. Turns out, we have probably been doing it wrong all these years and our bulging waistline attests to this colossal failure. Research and the medical community now have increasing evidence that the real villain of the story is a very sweet little molecule called fructose. Fructose is what gives us the sweetness in table sugar (sucrose)…also in brown sugar, honey, agave, and of course, high fructose corn syrup. Call it by any name, but sugars are dangerous to our health. Fructose is addictive, much in the same way as alcohol and illicit drugs are. In fact, sugar (fructose) metabolism closely replicates alcohol metabolism except for the acute effects on brain. Sugar has been likened to alcohol without the buzz!

You may already have heard about First Lady Michelle Obama’s work with the FDA which has led to newly proposed changes to nutrition labels on packaged foods. The amount of sugars, specifically, “added sugars” will be part of that new label. I am not implying that a zero added sugar diet will be the panacea for the pandemic of obesity and ill health. We still need to eat healthy and exercise right. There is no magic pill, no startling new advice. Remember what our grandmothers used to say:
 

Nutrition spotlight on quinoa

This week the Registered Dietitians and Diet Technicians offered up a unique spin on quinoa for National Nutrition Month. Many of you reported you have had it as a side dish at dinner or in a salad for lunch. However on Wednesday, we served quinoa for breakfast! Spiced up with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, the sky is the limit for extra add-ins to further boost the nutrition of your morning meal.

Additional Flavor Ideas to Mix and Match:
  • Chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, etc)
  • Diced apple or pear
  • Banana slices
  • Mixed berries
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, prunes)
  • Almond or peanut butter
  • A tablespoon of flax seed or chia for healthy essential fatty acids
  • Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar for sweetness
  • Scrambled egg for protein
Technically considered a seed (not a grain), quinoa is gluten-free and a complete source of protein. A serving provides a good source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Quinoa is also packed with B-Vitamins including folate, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6. Try substituting quinoa for pasta or rice at meals to change things up and increase the nutrition ..

Adding kale to your repertoire

Thank you to everyone who stopped by for the first week of National Nutrition Month yesterday! It was a big success and you made it possible! The overall feedback we received was very positive for the Kale salad we shared, even those who thought they didn’t enjoy kale! This proves a great example of exploring new, nutritious foods to add to your current diet that you might not have tried (or liked) before.

For those who found the below recipe too salty, you can reduce the sea salt to 1/2 teaspoon and add just ¼ cup of gorgonzola cheese. The sea salt is pertinent to “massage” the kale which helps tenderize the leaves. You may also substitute gorgonzola cheese for a reduced-sodium goat cheese or feta instead. Enjoy!

Massaged Kale Salad


Enjoy the taste of eating right - National Nutrition Month 2014

In honor of National Nutrition Month®, the Registered Dietitians and Diet Technicians of Swedish Medical Center will be promoting healthy eating and proper nutrition each Wednesday in March during lunch hours (11am-2pm) at the First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, and Issaquah Campuses.

This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”. Research by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that taste is the main reason Americans will select one food over another. This creates a complicated dilemma, as the foods you love will likely become the ones you eat the most. The challenge is to create easy to prepare, delicious, and nutritious meals and snacks that are low in fat, sodium, and added sugar.

The nutrition experts will be providing healthy tips, recommendations, and information to encourage and improve the nutritional health of the Swedish community. There will be ...

FDA finally defines gluten free

On August 5th, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at long last published a formal rule regulating the use of the term "gluten free" on foods and beverages.  Even though this came with a big sigh of relief to the millions of people with celiac disease living in the US, consumers should be aware that the law gives manufacturers one year to be in full compliance (and goes into effect August 5, 2014).

As we head into the final months before the law’s final compliance date, I thought I’d highlight a few other key points about this brand new law:

1. No symbols needed.  The law does not require or recommend manufacturers use any particular symbol or food label, but if a label should include any of the following phrases, compliance must be ensured:
    •    “Gluten-free”
    •    “Free of gluten”
    •    “No gluten”
    •    “Without gluten”

2.  It’s voluntary.  A manufacturer may produce gluten-free foods, but just choose not to label them as such.   

3.  “Gluten-free” does not mean “zero gluten”. The new law defines "gluten-free" to mean that a food contains less than 20 parts per million (20 ppm) of gluten.  (This tiny amount can be visualized as less than a tenth of a grain of salt on a slice of bread, and is acceptable as the standard for people with celiac disease).

4.  As with any rule, there are exceptions.  Although ...

When stress takes a toll on your heart

When you face danger, your body’s built-in alarm system triggers the production of adrenalin and cortisol. Adrenalin makes your heart beat faster and cortisol produces sugar to help you physically and mentally react. Your body returns to normal when the danger is over.

Unlike cavemen, barbarians and knights, we don’t face extreme danger very often. Unfortunately, every-day stress also triggers your alarm system.

Work. Commute. Kids. Relatives. Friends. Death of a loved one. Money. Everything in life can cause stress.

Stress takes a toll on your body — including your heart. Because stress can linger, your body continues to produce extra adrenalin and cortisol.

When your body’s alarm system doesn’t turn off, you may eat more, exercise less, lose sleep, argue more, forget things, get depressed, or smoke or drink more than usual. These things put an added burden on your heart and increase your risk of heart disease. Recent studies have shown that laughter and positive thinking promote heart health, while anger and job stress can increase the risk of heart attacks.

Here are some tips to protect your heart from stress:

12 healthy recipes for the 12th Man

When you gather with friends and family this Sunday to watch the Seattle Seahawks compete against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, do your guests and yourself a favor and have a couple of healthy alternatives ready.
 
We’ve prepared 12 recipes – in honor of Seattle’s 12th Man – that are easy and healthier than your typical fried, fatty foods. Enjoy and Go Hawks!

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