Natural Foods

How to Make a Healthy Sandwich

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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How to Make a Healthy SandwichLunch often includes some kind of sandwich. Not all sandwiches are equal, though. Some are loaded with more calories than you need, while others are a fairly healthy choice. It all depends on what the sandwich is made of. Here are some tips to help you make a healthy sandwich.

How to Have a Healthy Sandwich

Share with a friend
Restaurants and fast food places are notorious for selling people a much larger portion of food than is healthy to eat. Bring a friend or family member to lunch with you and split that giant sandwich into the two portions that it is supposed to be.

Another option is to set aside half of the sandwich right away. Eat half the sandwich for lunch, and save the other half for later.

Make an open sandwich
One way to reduce the amount of calories you are eating is to make a sandwich with only one piece of bread (instead of two). Pile plenty of vegetables and protein onto the bread. You won’t have to worry about how to fit it all between two pieces of bread.

Try a wrap
The number of calories in a slice of bread differs, depending on exactly what kind of bread you are using. A romaine lettuce leaf doesn’t have many calories at all. Some restaurants offer wraps in addition to sandwiches. Fast food places might have a “low-carb” option. They will wrap your burger in a lettuce leaf instead of a hamburger bun.

Read the labels
If you don’t read the nutrition labels on food very often – you are in for an unpleasant surprise. There are a lot of processed foods that contain sugar. Most people know that cookies contain sugar. Did you know that some condiments contain sugar, too?

Before you add ketchup, or mustard, or mayonnaise to your sandwich, take a minute to read the label. Find out how much sugar that condiment has hiding inside it. Check the amount of calories. You can skip the condiments and add moisture to your sandwich with tomatoes (or other juicy vegetables) instead.

Avoid processed meats
The easiest thing to throw onto a sandwich is some processed, sliced, lunchmeat. It might be tasty, but lunchmeat can contain a lot of sodium. A healthier option is cooked chicken breast, or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner. If you need a quicker option, try canned tuna or canned chicken. Look for a can that is labeled “no salt” or “low salt”.

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February is American Heart Month

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that February is American Heart Month. Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that February is American Heart Month. They point out that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Heart disease is preventable. Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy.

The CDC recommends that people eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help a person to avoid heart disease and its complications. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adults should have at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Limit the amount of processed foods that you consume.

Eating foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limit salt or sodium in your diet. Doing so can also lower your blood pressure.

The CDC also recommends that you exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Speak with your doctor to find out what kind of exercise he or she recommends for you and how long or often you should do it.

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. The CDC recommends that you do not start smoking. If you are a smoker, the CDC says you should talk to your doctor for suggestions on how to quit smoking. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can help. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.

The Mayo Clinic has more advice on how to keep your heart healthy. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you control your portion size. How much you eat is as important as what you eat.

The portions sold in restaurants are more than anyone needs. Unfortunately, people tend to forget that and end up overeating. The Mayo Clinic recommends that people use a small plate or bowl to help control their portions.

Another helpful way to control your portions is to keep track of the number of servings you eat. One serving of pasta is ½ cup (or about the size of a hockey puck). A serving of meat, fish, or chicken is about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. When in doubt, use measuring cups and spoons, or a scale, to figure out portion size you should be eating.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends that you create daily menus. Planning ahead makes it easier to ensure you get a variety of different nutrients in your diet. Variety can also make your meals and snacks more interesting.

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Pilot Program Lets SNAP Recipients Buy Healthy Food Online

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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The USDA has created a pilot program that can help people who receive SNAP benefits to purchase healthy foods. Learn about all the details.The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a pilot program that can help people who receive SNAP benefits to purchase healthy foods. The goal appears to be to give more options to people who live in “food deserts”.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In the past, the program was called Food Stamps. People were given stamps that they used to pay for their groceries. Today, people who receive SNAP benefits get a certain amount of money on an EBT card. The SNAP program is for people who are very low-income.

The USDA describes SNAP this way: “As the nation’s first line of defense against hunger, SNAP helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month and has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget for more than 43 million low-income individuals. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, 10 percent are over 60 and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings.”

The USDA has created a pilot program designed to enable SNAP participants to buy groceries online. This decision was made to help people who live in communities where access to fresh produce and other healthy food choices is limited. For example, a person who lives in a area that does not have any grocery stores would have to rely on getting their groceries from convenience stores. Those stores don’t typically have a lot of healthy foods to choose from.

The pilot program is slated to start this summer and will last for two years. At first, the pilot program will be testing online ordering and payment. The USDA says the online payment part of the program presents technical and security challenges that they will need to fully examine before they can offer the program nationally. SNAP online purchases require a higher level of security than do most other online purchases.

Here are the retailers that are participating in the SNAP pilot program:

* Amazon – Maryland, New Jersey, New York

* FreshDirect – New York

* Safeway – Maryland, Oregon, Washington

* ShopRite – Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

* Hy-Vee – Iowa

* Hart’s Local Grocers – New York (based in Rochester)

* Dash’s Market – New York (based in Buffalo)

The USDA anticipates being able to add more retailers to the program. Eventually, the goal is to allow SNAP participants, nationwide, to be able to use their benefits to make online purchases that will help them to obtain healthy foods.

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Reasons Why Raw Cookie Dough Can Make You Sick

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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People can get sick after eating raw cookie dough because of it contains raw eggs. There is another ingredient to watch out for too!Raw cookie dough can be very tempting, but that isn’t a good reason to eat it. You may have heard that the reason why people get sick after eating raw cookie dough is because of it contains raw eggs. There is another ingredient to watch out for that you may be unaware of.

Why Raw Cookie Dough Can Make You Sick

People who eat raw eggs risk getting sick from food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point out that the inside of eggs that appear normal can contain a germ called Salmonella. The germ causes diarrhea and severe stomach cramps. Most people get over it in about a week, but Salmonella can be very dangerous for older adults, infants, and people who have weakened immune systems.

The way to avoid the Salmonella germ is to avoid consuming eggs that are raw or that are only lightly cooked. Raw cookie dough contains raw eggs. That’s one reason why eating raw cookie dough can make you sick.

The other reason is due to an ingredient that you know is in raw cookie dough but may not have realized could make a person sick. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants people to be aware that raw flour can make people sick because the flour may have a harmful strain of E. coli on it. This means that eating raw flour can make you sick – and playing with raw flour can also make you sick.

In 2016, many people got sick from a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. The FDA traced it to flour that was used in raw cookie dough that people handled or ate before they got sick. The flour came from a specific company’s production facility. That company voluntarily pulled their flour off the market. To be clear, the recall does not mean that it is suddenly safe to eat or play with raw flour.

The FDA notes that it isn’t just the flour in raw cookie dough that can make people sick. It is also possible to get sick from the flour that is in any kind of raw dough that contains flour. Some restaurants give children raw dough made from flour to play with while they wait for their meal. The children might be happy to play with the dough. They won’t be happy later on if the dough makes them sick.

That means the homemade play dough that you made for your kids could make them sick just from touching it if the dough contains contaminated flour. Raw flour could be in the play dough that is used at your child’s school or day care. Kids often put their fingers into their mouths while handling play dough (and some will taste and eat some of the dough).

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Healthy Ways to Exercise in the Winter

Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. During the holidays, we need to stay healthy. Fortunately, there are some ways to exercise in the winter.Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The opportunities to get some exercise become limited when the winter weather gets cold and snow and ice covers the ground. The winter weather happens at the same time that many people are celebrating holidays that involve a lot of sweet, rich, food. Fortunately, there are some ways to exercise in the winter.

Ways to Exercise in the Winter

This could be your last chance of the year to get some unfinished yard work done. Raking leaves, picking them up, and hauling them out of your yard can provide you with some exercise. Whatever you do not complete before the snow falls will have to wait. This “time limit” could motivate you to get a good workout.

Has the snow already fallen? People who are young, active, and healthy can get some exercise by removing the snow from their driveway and the sidewalk in front of their house. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying to remove snow. Your doctor can consider your personal health conditions and determine if snow removal is a safe form of exercise for you.

Before you start shoveling snow, make sure to bundle up. Wear layers that will help you to keep warm. Consider wearing wool instead of cotton. Wool can keep you from losing body heat even when the fabric gets wet. Cover your skin with a hat, scarf, and gloves, to avoid frostbite.

Remember to take breaks. Don’t try and shovel a large area all at once. Do some today, and try again tomorrow. Or, bring a friend or family member to help you. Both of you will be getting some good exercise.

Get some indoor exercise by taking a quick walk through a shopping mall before the stores open (or early in the morning). Take the stairs, instead of the elevator, whenever possible. Go for a short, yet fast, walk on your break.

Now might be a good time to join a gym. Doing so will give you access to treadmills, stair-climbers, exercise bikes, and other exercise equipment. The gym might have an indoor track you can walk or run on. There could be fun exercise classes to try. If you are a college student, you might be able to use your school’s gym for free.

There are also ways to get exercise at home. Set aside time to thoroughly vacuum the rug or mop the kitchen floor. Doing a huge amount of laundry is another way to get some exercise. If this does not appeal to you, see if you can find an exercise video on YouTube that is fun to do.

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Martha’s Table Brings Healthy Food to Food Deserts

Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at 7:28 pm
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Fruit & Vegetable PlatterPeople who want to eat healthy foods may find that incredibly difficult to do if they live in a food desert. Martha’s Table believes that access to fresh, healthy food is essential for supporting stronger children, families, and community. Martha’s Table has created healthy eating initiatives to help families make healthy choices.

The USDA defines food deserts as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. Food deserts are often found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

Martha’s Table began in 1979 as a result of the partnership between Dr. Veronica Maz and Father Horace McKenna, who wanted to create a safe place for children to eat and read after school. Martha’s Table has expanded their services, in response to the needs of the community, since then. Martha’s Table is located in Washington, D.C.

Martha’s Table provides Healthy Markets. They are pop-up grocery stores where children, their families, and neighbors can shop at no cost for fresh, healthy produce and healthy pantry supplies. At least 40% of the food available at each market is composed of produce such as sweet potatoes, cabbage, and kale. Non-perishable staples range from peanut butter to whole-wheat pasta and beans.

Martha’s Markets program began in 2011 as a result of a partnership with the Target Foundation’s Meals for Minds program. Martha’s Markets are currently run in 7 elementary schools, two community centers, and at Martha’s Table, where the market is open to students and families in the Martha’s Table Healthy Start and Healthy Connections programs.

At the pop-up Martha’s Markets, families select from fresh, seasonal produce and healthy pantry staples at no cost every month. The markets also include chef-led culinary demonstrations designed to spread the joy of healthy eating.

Joyful Food Markets started in 2016 in partnership with the Capital Area Food bank. The purpose of the Joyful Food Markets is to increase access to and encourage consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables east of the Anacostia River. Joyful Food Markets are run exclusively in elementary schools. You can find a list of those elementary schools on the Martha’s Table website.

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Thanksgiving Dinner for Guests with Food Restrictions

Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Will you be making Thanksgiving dinner this year? Here is some advice about how to make your Thanksgiving dinner safe for loved ones with diet restrictions.Thanksgiving dinner is often celebrated with family and close friends. Some of your loved ones might have food restrictions that prevent them from fully enjoying dinner. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make Thanksgiving dinner safe for all of your guests.

Thanksgiving Ideas for People with Food Restrictions

Tofurky is a vegan alternative to turkey. It contains no meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products. There is a Tofurky gravy that is suitable for vegans. Tofurky is not safe for people who have celiac disease or a gluten allergy or intolerance. It also isn’t safe for people with an allergy to soy.

Some turkeys are not gluten free. That may sound strange, at first. Check the package to see if the turkey has been brined. The ones that are brined are injected with a solution designed to keep them moist. That solution often includes gluten. Brined turkeys are not safe for people who have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or a gluten allergy.

Most Butterball turkeys are gluten free. The Butterball Stuffed Turkey is not gluten-free. Some Butterball products are packaged with gravy packets. Those gravy packets are gluten free, too. The gravy contains rice flour instead of wheat flour and the modified food starch is corn based.

It is possible to make your own stuffing by using bread that is allergy friendly. Udi’s makes a gluten free white sandwich bread that does not contain wheat, gluten, dairy, or soy. It does contain eggs, though, which makes it unsuitable for people who have egg allergies or who are vegan.

Schar makes an Artesian Baker White Bread that is gluten free, dairy free, and egg free. It does contain soy, which makes it unsuitable for people with soy allergies. It also contains honey, which might not be good for people with bee or pollen allergies. Some vegans do not eat honey.

While you are making Thanksgiving dinner, it is very important that you keep all of the packages. Doing so allows guests who have food allergies or dietary restrictions to know, for certain, what exactly is in the food they are being served. This enables them to know what is safe to eat.

Keep in mind that some foods might have ingredients that are allergy-free for a specific guest – but unsafe for another guest. The food packages are important for another reason. Some foods are allergy-free but made on equipment that is shared with products that contain allergens. That could make a person who has celiac disease or a nut allergy very sick.

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4 Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress

Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 at 12:54 am
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When times are tough, it is natural to want to find ways to feel better. Here are a few healthy ways to reduce stress.Everyone has experienced times when their life was very stressful. The source of that stress can vary. It can be difficult to know how to cope. Fortunately, there are some healthy ways to reduce stress. The best part about the healthy ways to reduce stress is that you can do them without feeling guilty about causing yourself any harm.

Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress

Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. The Mayo Clinic says that studies have shown that yoga may reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga can also enhance your overall mood and sense of well-being.

Check to see if there are yoga classes being offered where you live. People take yoga classes at their gyms. There might be a place that is dedicated to teaching yoga. If all else fails, you can try following along with a YouTube video about yoga.

Take a Bath
Parents might remember when their baby was small and a nice, warm, bath helped him or her calm down and become relaxed. Baths can have that affect on adults, too. Hot baths can soothe muscle aches, which can be very helpful for people who have been physically tense for a long time due to stress.

Baths are the ultimate “me time”. Soaking in warm water makes most people feel good. Some people like to add scented bath products in order to enhance their feeling of relaxation and self-care.

Acupuncture
According to Psychology Today, acupuncture works to reduce stress and depression. In short, an acupuncturist inserts fine needles into certain acupuncture points in order to remove the roadblocks that stop energy, or “qi”, from flowing through the body.

People who receive acupuncture lie on a comfortable table. After the needles are in place, the lights are lowered and calm music is played. Some people use aromatherapy along with acupuncture. The person is left to relax for a certain period of time. Many feel “blissed out” and very relaxed after receiving acupuncture.

Take a Nap
There are a lot of people who are sleep deprived. The person might work too many hours or work far away and have to get up early for a long commute. Parents of young children are often sleep deprived. Some people lose sleep due to stress and anxiety.

Take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon. That nap might provide you with more rest than an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning. People naturally feel more tired in the afternoon, which makes it the perfect time for napping. Sleep lets your body, and your mind, recharge.

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The FDA Considers How to Define “Healthy”

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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That package of food has the word "healthy" on it.  But, what does that really mean?  The FDA wants you to help them figure that out.There is a growing number of people who seek out food that is healthy. But, what does the word “healthy” actually mean when it appears on a food label? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering how to define “healthy”.

The FDA recently published the final rules about what must appear on a Nutrition Facts Label The packages of food you pick up at the grocery store might already have the newly revised food label format. It makes the calories and serving sizes of products easier to see. It also gives additional nutritional information about added sugars, vitamin D, and potassium.

The FDA is aware that consumers use the Nutrition Facts label to help them make decisions about which product to buy. The updated Nutrition Facts label will be helpful, but there are other improvements that need to be made.

We often see things like “low in fat”, or “good source of” or “healthy” on a food label. The FDA is now taking a closer look at the word “healthy”. Consumers have seen that word on so many food labels that it may have lost its meaning all together.

The FDA is asking for public input on what people think the criteria should be, or what the terms should be, for an updated definition of “healthy” (when it is placed on a package of food). Those who want to share their thoughts about this can do. Start by visiting the FDA’s website that is called “Healthy” on Food Labeling. This request for guidance started on September 28, 2016.

The Food and Drug Administration came up with some questions that people may want to answer. What current dietary recommendations do you think should be reflected in the definition of “healthy”? What are the public benefits of defining the term “healthy”? What do consumers expect of foods that carry a “healthy” claim? What factors and criteria should be used for the new definition of “healthy”?

In addition to asking for public input about what “healthy” should mean, the FDA is also going to work with the food industry to encourage companies to change their products to have better nutrition profiles. Eventually, this should result in healthier food options for consumers. It will also give the word “healthy” a specific meaning.

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FDA Bans 19 Chemicals in Antibacterial Soaps

Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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The Food and Drug Administration has banned chemicals in antibacterial soaps that were not proven to be more effective than regular soap and water. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned 19 of the 22 chemicals that are used in antibacterial soaps. It is strange to think about, but it appears that the some of the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, that we thought were helping us to stay healthy, could actually harm our health.

On September 2, 2016, the FDA issued a final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. The final rule stated that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products that contained certain active ingredients, can no longer be marketed.

The FDA says the manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients were safe for long-term daily use, and they did not demonstrate that soaps with those ingredients were more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of diseases. In other words, antibacterial washes are not really more effective than soap and water at preventing the spread of germs.

The chemicals that the FDA banned include:
* Cloflucarban
* Fluorosalan
* Hexachlorophene
* Hexylresorcinol
* Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
* Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
* Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
* Poloxamer-iodine complex
* Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
* Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
* Methylbenzethonium chloride
* Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
* Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
* Secondary amyltricresols
* Sodium oxychlorosene
* Tribromsalan
* Triclocarban
* Triclosan
* Triple dye

The FDA started considering the chemicals in antibacterial soaps in 2013. Since then, data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients (for example, triclosan and triclocarban) used in antibacterial products could pose health risks such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.

Triclosan has been found in human milk and dolphins’ blood, and most freshwater streams are contaminated with it. The chemical kills “bad” bacteria that can cause harm to humans, but, unfortunately, it can also kill “good” bacteria that humans need. It is possible that triclosan is encouraging germs to become resistant to other antibiotics.

Many manufacturers have started phasing out their use of certain active ingredients in antibacterial washes in 2013. Not all of them have done so. Manufacturers will have until September 6, 2017, to remove those 19 ingredients from their products.

In addition the FDA is considering the safety and efficacy of three more three more ingredients: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol. The new FDA rule does not affect hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes. It only effects antibacterial soaps.

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