The EALM Blog Shelf

While Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team work on some new and exciting projects, you may notice less posts on the Eating and Living Moderately Blog. We have created a “blog shelf” below to keep you entertained and educated. Get caught up on the latest nutrition education by clicking on each year below. We will send you nutrition updates, but we will not be inundating your mailboxes on a weekly basis. If you want weekly “love” and inspiration, subscribe to our Mom Dishes It Out blog for weekly posts and recipes. Mom Dishes It Out provides expert advice from mom Registered Dietitians and mom Speech Pathologists on the “how to” of health promotion!

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The EALM Blog Shelf

Please feel free to peruse our posts organized by year below. Or take a look at the categories listed at the bottom of the page to find a post in the desired.

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

The Pros and Cons of Being a Vegetarian Fitness Enthusiast

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc

Pros      

  1. Eating a plant-based diet provides a plethora of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A to fight free radicals caused by exercise (where free radicals are produced at a greater rate).
  2. You are forced to focus on your dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens and high Vitamin C foods like peppers and oranges to absorb the non – heme iron found in plant foods.
  3. Pre training foods like bagels, yogurt and peanut butter are already a part of your daily intake.
  4. You’re at an even greater advantage to prevent heart disease by exercising and eating the healthy fats such as almonds, avocados and lean proteins like beans and fish.
  5. Your physical activity and plant based lifestyle are dually protective against diabetes. Vegan diets have been shown to lower one’s average 3 month blood glucose.

Cons:

  1. You must make extra effort to get your  8 essential amino acids needed for muscle and hormone synthesis by eating a variety of protein sources like beans, peanut butter, tofu and quinoa.
  2. You may need to take an omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement if you are not consuming deep sea fish. There are vegetarian marine algae forms of DHA available.
  3. Caution – place extra emphasis on eating complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat pasta, barely, and millet.  Avoid grabbing easy and available processed stand – bys like chips, packaged cookies, and boxed macaroni and cheese.
  4. Don’t fall prey to quick soy proteins sources like veggie burgers, “unchicken” fingers and fake meat. These products are highly processed, high in sodium and artificial fillers. In addition, limit soy intake to whole soy foods like tofu, tempeh, miso and edamame.  Choose one soy food /day.
  5. Bring on the Vit. B12. Vit. B12 is generally not found in plant sources. Milk, Fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast are vegetarian friendly form of this water-soluble vitamin needed for red blood cell synthesis.

Fed Up? Well I am Fed Up With Blame!

Fed Up? Well I am Fed Up With Blame!
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
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Do scare tactics work?

I know the new documentary Fed Up declares that scare tactics have worked for decreasing tobacco sales. Personally, I worry that scare tactics will actually contribute to more fat shaming, diet shaming and finger pointing.

I was really surprised that Katie Couric narrated this film directing negative attention toward Michelle Obama, food companies and one evil — sugar. My surprise is specific to Katie’s history of an eating disorder.

As a certified eating disorder specialist, I know and hope Katie knows that deprivation and shaming lead only to more binging, overeating and weight gain. This black and white delineation simply contributes to the eating disorder mentality.

In addition, I personally don’t think scaring people into not eating sugar is any better than scaring them into not eating fat back in the 80s. That particular scare tactic definitely didn’t work. We all got “fatter”.

If we isolate just one macronutrient, people will continue to eat it secretly. Meanwhile, food companies easily reformulate their products to meet the new standard. Scaring and blaming merely nurture the “poor health epidemic” we have today.

That’s right! Here’s another very important point. First, let’s rename the “obesity epidemic”. Let’s call it the “processed food epidemic” or the “ill health epidemic.” Obesity is usually just the most visible symptom of a much larger problem.

As Fed Up points out, there are “skinny” fat people who are just as unhealthy. So why do we call this problem an obesity epidemic? It’s about health not size.

 

Read more at Your Tango: http://www.yourtango.com/experts/laura-cipullo/fed-well-i-am-fed-blame#ixzz362jGl4bj

Fish Oil Linked to Prostate Cancer?

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Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of certain cancers and have anti-inflammatory properties but the ACS reports that such studies are still inconclusive.  But with so much talk about the Mediterranean diet and omega-3 fatty acids lowering the risk of heart disease, chances are that you or someone you know is probably consuming more fish oil supplements or eating more fatty fish like salmon, herring, or mackerel. Despite the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a recent study found that fish oil may increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer.

The latest study on the association between prostate cancer and omega-3 fatty acids, “Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial,” was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and was funded by National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study analyzed levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood of 834 men who had been diagnosed with cancer, and 156 of them were diagnosed with high-grade cancer. (In the study, researchers defined omega-3 fatty acids as EPA, DPA and DHA.) They then compared the results with blood samples from 1,393 cancer-free men. Men with the highest level of omega-3 had a 43% increase in risk for prostate cancer and a 71% increased in risk for high-grade cancer (the most fatal) (Brasky, JNCI 2013).

It’s important to note that the study shows that there is an association between increased omega-3 fatty acid plasma levels and prostate cancer but does not demonstrate that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids causes prostate cancer. The study measured blood levels in the participants but did not include information on their eating habits. Thus, the effect between fatty acids from a fish source or supplements is not differentiated. As of now, the cause and effect relationship of the two is still unknown and much more research is needed. The study concludes that men with a history of prostate cancer should discuss with a health professional if fish oil supplements are safe for them. Since fish oil supplements are a concentrated form of omega-3 fatty acids, it can add up to a lot.

While the study sends a conflicting message to many who follow the Mediterranean diet or taking supplements, it’s simply important to remember that consuming any food in excess is not healthy. Men would benefit from consulting their doctor while continuing to read relevant research on this topic before taking fish oil supplements.

To learn more, check out the American Cancer Society for more information.

Wheatgrass

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Stepping into a juice bar or health foods store and you may see signs of “add a shot of wheatgrass” to any drink on the menu. With it’s dark green color, this superfood typically conjures a variety of expressions–from skeptical, grossed out, or intrigued! Read on to learn more about wheatgrass and if it’s as nutritionally beneficially as they say?

At first glance, wheatgrass may look like the same lawn grass that grow in the parks and your backyard, but there is quite a difference between the two. Wheatgrass is grown through a sprouting process. During this process, wheatgrass  develops the live enzymes and becomes a rich source of nutrients, which when consumed, enter the bloodstream quickly. Wheatgrass provides a natural, concentrated amount of vitamins, and nutrients, including iron, calcium. It is high in antioxidants, iron and chlorophyll. However, to date, it is important to know that there are very few studies that support a wheatgrass diet to be beneficial in curing or preventing diseases.

It is grown in soil or water and typically consumed raw. Because of these conditions, it is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consuming wheatgrass juice is similar to eating other dark green veggies but as with many foods, depending on your health and dietary habits, wheatgrass could cause increased bowel movements, nausea or headaches.

A shot of wheatgrass is a quick way to gulp down your nutrients but it can also be added to juices or smoothies. Fresh-pressed wheatgrass oxidizes quickly, so gulp it down quickly to reap the most benefits. It is available in most health food stores and juice bars as  a supplement, planted trays, capsules, liquid extracts, frozen tablets, and even kits to grow-it-yourself.

New to Wheatgrass? Here are some tips for incorporating it into your meals:

  • Boost your smoothie/fresh-pressed juice with a shot of wheatgrass
  • Add wheatgrass powder to a protein drink
  • Mix wheatgrass powder into a soup or oatmeal

Is Your Favorite Organic Restaurant Actually Organic?

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Does your favorite restaurant promote the use of “organic produce when possible” or “local and sustainable ingredients”? Over the years, trends towards local, sustainable and organic foods have increased.  This rising demand has many restaurants and food establishments working to promote a greener image, but in reality are not. Very few restaurants are certified organic, so how do you know if a restaurant is really practicing what they preach and if they’re really using organic ingredients?

Be Aware of Organic Deception or Simply, Misinterpretation

Restaurants across the nation utilize the terms “organic,” “local,” and “sustainable” but more often than not, it’s used as a marketing tool. While some restaurants do source some of their produce from organic farmers, customers may not be receiving a dish that is entirely composed of 100% organic ingredients. How can restaurants and chefs get away with this? If you recall from our article, Sustainable Agriculture, the term organic doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable and sustainable doesn’t always mean organic! In other words, this means that restaurants that promote sustainable practices may be recycling meat bones, creating compost or simply recycling, but may or may not be using organic produce. On the other hand, a restaurant may use organic ingredients but may not be environmentally friendly. Indeed, restaurants that promote the use of local ingredients may be doing their share to support local farmers but even though some local farmers grow organic produce, this isn’t always the case.

The confusion of all these terms results in misuse of these words by restaurants and misinterpretation by consumers. Just as the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the same concept should be applied when evaluating a restaurant’s image vs. the actual ingredients. For example, a restaurant can boast the use of organic and local ingredients, but since they are not certified organic restaurants, they can mix and combine organic produce with conventional ingredients.

If eating organic is important to you then it is also important to do your research so that you know what you are eating and what you are paying for.  Truthfully, there is no sure way to tell how much of a restaurant’s food is organic, local or sustainable—unless of course, you ask!

Why Aren’t Restaurants Entirely Organic?

It’s no hidden secret, organic ingredients are often more expensive than conventional produce. Aside from being time and labor intensive, organic certification is very expensive. In return, it often costs restaurants more money if they purchase all of their ingredients from organic suppliers. Restaurant go-ers would be faced with higher prices, as restaurants would have to raise menu prices. In addition, running an organic restaurant is not easy! At the back end, restaurants would have to make sure organic ingredients are stored separately from conventional ingredients and even prepped on different cutting boards.

Just like the packaging on certified organic foods, restaurants have to be able to back up their claims. If they label their menus as “We use organic produce when possible,” this gives them room to avoid the stringent regulations and issue altogether.

 

Tips to Find Out If Your Restaurant Is 100% Organic:

  • Call or ask when you are there
  • Visit a certified organic restaurant
    GustOrganics is New York City’s only certified organic restaurant, certified by NOFA-NY

 

 

Super Foods Super Expensive

Are “Super foods” worth the money? This answer depends on which food one is referring to. The Willis Report recently asked me if consumers who are being bombarded with trendy super foods like quinoa, goji berries, acai berries, and spirulina getting the most for their money? Well these foods are indeed packed with nutrition especially vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals but they are not necessarily better than other more main stream supper foods like blueberries or salmon. See our post “Are Super Foods So Super?
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While “super foods” like raw pumpkin super chips or oats with goigi berries are extremely nutritious, they don’t always live up to their cost. They could possibly be even less super than a local or frozen food as they may be less fresh if they are exotic, processed, or have added ingredients. Keep in mind there is no formal qualification defining super foods. Rather this term is used loosely implying this specific food has as much or a greater amount of nutrition than another food.  

When comparing prices of foods marketed as ‘super foods’ and sold in specialty health boutiques, I found that pumpkin chips were five times the costs of just purchasing pure pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Oat based cereal sold, as a super food was twice as expensive as purchasing stone ground oats with fresh blueberries and a chocolate bar from Africa that was only 44% cocoa was sixty-six percent more expensive then a USA dark chocolate bar like Sweet Riot with 70% coca.

The message here is when opting for value, go with the foods that are most wholesome and unaltered like nuts, wild salmon and organic blueberries. See here for more natural super foods:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-everyday-super-foods?page=2.

To find foods that have positive affects on your health without paying top price go with non-packaged fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. Stroll the bulk section of your health food store and buy foods sold by the pound rather than by the package.

  • “If it is in a package, it is probably processed!
  • If it is has been processed, it’s probably not super.
  • If it is has sugar as the first ingredient, and
  • If it is marketed as super it’s probably not so super.
  • Real whole foods are the super foods that are a super deal.”

Keep in mind, if you are buying juices or super chips with agave, these products have added sugar since agave is sugar. Local fresh and or frozen are usually the best foods to buy for greater nutrition, sustainable efforts and economical value.

 

6 Nutrition Trends of 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

These seeds are gaining even more popularity and are being called the “new flax seed”.  You can even find them in single serving pouches like you can nuts, etc. to make them easier to add to your meals and snacks.

Natural sugar “alternatives.”

Coconut sugar and coconut nectar are leading this battle. Coconut sugar comes from the nectar of coconut tree blossoms, but doesn’t taste like coconut. The sugar is simply the dehydrated form of coconut nectar. It may have slightly more vitamins and minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and B vitamins) than white sugar.

Self Monitoring

Once again, fitness apps will influence consumers to utilize technology for tracking progress, motivation and guidance. Apps such as Nike Fuel and LarkLife are becoming vital parts of health and wellness for all ages as they offer not only personal fitness tracking but calorie counting and menu ideas as well.

Gluten-Free Foods

With over 11% of the US population suffers from a gluten allergy, becoming even more popular and common are gluten-free food products. Based on a survey from over 1,800 members of the American Culinary Foundation, the National Restaurant Association predicts annual menu trends, with gluten-free securing the same spot as in did in 2012, at number 8 on the list. Perhaps gluten free is not a fad but here to stay. Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain with a neutral, slightly sweet flavor. It’s extremely versatile; it is expected to be in many products and on many restaurant menus in 2013. Experiment with naturally gluten-free grains like amaranth, brown rice, millet, oats, polenta, and quinoa, which have a variety of nutritional benefits and are delicious!

Juicing

With $5 billion in revenue this year and projected growth of four to eight percent, healthful, all-natural and raw fruit and vegetable juices (Organic Avenue, Cooler Cleanse, even Jamba Juice) will explode into the isles of mass supermarkets to offer customers the option of purchasing fresh pressed juices. Small shops are popping up everywhere, like Organic Avenue and Cooler Cleanse, specializing in fresh pressed juices.

A Simpler Life

School. Work. Family. Kids. Dating. Fitting in physical activity. When life gets busy, simple meals are a must. As consumers become more health conscious and saavy shoppers, companies are producing less processed and more wholesome ready-to-go foods. Grab and go items will have fewer ingredients to appeal to consumers, providing more fresh and simplistic meal and snack options. Natural and simple menus with few ingredients are going to gain in popularity as consumers are starting to realize that strict low carb and low fat diets are not always best.  Choosing high-quality calories and carbohydrates with more nutrition per bite, will be most important for achieving a healthy lifestyle. It’s not just about total calories, it’s about where those calories come from.

Sustainable Agriculture

You may have heard the word “sustainability” used quite often over the last few years, but what does it mean? Read on to learn what sustainable agriculture is, and how our everyday decisions can make a lasting impact on future generations.

What is Sustainable Agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture is somewhat of an umbrella term used to group several food-related topics under one roof. Sustainable agriculture is a method of producing foods in such a way so that it is mindful of the ecosystem; including but not limited to environmentally friendly practices, health of humans and animals, economic profitability, respects animal welfare, and promotes social and economic equity through fair wages.

Sustainable vs. Industrial

With the many food labels scattered across grocery shelves, it becomes all the more important to understand what sustainable farming is, and what it is not. Since there isn’t a legal definition or rules, a farm’s way of practicing sustainable agriculture may vary.

As you now know, part of sustainable agriculture may include respecting animal welfare. Yet when food shopping, it can be easy to mistaken “cage-free” eggs to be sustainable. While the chicken may not have lived in cages, they may have been raised in overcrowded indoor farms. Today, most of our meat supply is produced on factory farms, otherwise known as Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). CAFOs are industrial facilities where animals are raised in confined areas for mass production. Since the animals are raised in tight quarters, they are often mutilated to adapt to the living conditions, i.e. often chickens are de-beaked. Caged animals are restricted from moving, confined for their entire lives until slaughter. Due to the large scale of animals living in an enclosed area, the result is poor and unsanitary conditions. The method in which factory farms dispose of animal waste also ends up in run off, contaminating our water system. Moreover, with factory farming and mass production came the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, hormone use and development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—the list goes on and on.

Sustainable agriculture is important because every action we take and every decision we make can protect the planet.

Sustainable Farms:

  • Recycle manure as fertilizer – this helps eliminate pollution in air and water systems and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers
  • Controlled use of antibiotics – animals are not given antibiotics on a daily basis but only when they are sick (animal products labeled organic are not labeled organic if they have been treated with antibiotics)
  • Animal welfare – animals are respected and treated humanely
  • Energy – they tend to save energy and decrease use of fossil fuels by using techniques like crop rotation to naturally enhance the soil
  • Food miles – sustainably grown foods are usually sold locally which not only cuts down on gas pollution, but the result is healthier and tastier food
  • Build Community – supporting local business help drive the local economy not only in terms of profits, but by providing jobs and building community rapport

These are just a few examples of how sustainable farming affects the planet. For more information on how sustainable farming compares to industrial farming, check out Sustainable Table.

Certified Organic, Not Certified Sustainable

Many people often confuse the terms “sustainable agriculture” with “organic farming.” Although both have to do with sensible food production methods, sustainable agriculture doesn’t always mean organic and organic farming doesn’t always mean sustainable practices!

A product labeled as organic means that the food was produced without the use of certain chemicals, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified organisms. Organic meats, poultry, eggs and dairy products mean that it comes from farms where the animals were not raised with antibiotics or growth hormones.

While many farms that are certified-organic do not produce foods with certain chemicals, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc., the food may still be produced on an industrial farm setting. For example, some farms that produce organic dairy products still confine cows in CAFOs. For many large corporations that are certified-organic, it is through industrial farming that they are able to drive down consumer prices. Although they are able to meet minimum requirements that allow them to be USDA certified-organic, the farm may disregard animal welfare, denying animals space to carry out their natural behaviors (which can also result to poor health and unsanitary conditions!) Therefore, if you are looking to support sustainable agriculture, it is important to keep in mind that organic can — but doesn’t always mean sustainable.

On the other hand, some sustainable farms that are not certified-organic by the USDA do produce organic foods. In order for a product to be labeled “USDA certified-organic,” it must have gone through a national certification process, which requires both additional time and money. The additional fees can make it difficult for small farmers to receive organic-certification by the USDA. In turn, grassroot organizations like Oregon Tilth, California Certified Organic Farmers, Demeter Certified Biodynamic provide less costly organic-certification that either follow USDA organic standards guidelines or have their own strict production standards.

If you prefer organic foods and wish to support sustainable agriculture, the good news is that there are farms who do produce organic foods and practice sustainable agriculture. When in doubt, try buying directly from a local farmer. The best way to find out if your food is organic and sustainable is to ask! To find the closest sustainable farm near you, check out U.S. Department of Agriculture and LocalHarvest.

A Circle of Responsibility

While there are a myriad of reasons why one may practice sustainable agriculture, a big part of sustainability is being aware of how current practices can affect our food chain and how making a simple change, while small, is still a step towards a more sustainable future. Now that you know what sustainable agriculture is, here are some of the ways you can join the circle of responsibility:

Always Ask –
Whether you’re dining out or grocery shopping, you have the right to know how your food was produced. Let restaurants and stores know that you care about where your foods come from.

Buy Local
– As consumers, we help voice our opinion by a show of what we buy and who we choose to buy from. You don’t have to make a 360 degree change in order to make an impact.  Start by shopping at a farmer’s market to support your local farmers’ sustainable methods or by buying one or two foods that are organic.

Read
– Action is best backed by knowledge! Learn more and stay informed on the latest news and food policies. Visit Sustainable Table, CivilEats, or U.S. Department of Agriculture to learn more about the food system, issues and current events.

Get Involved –Tell your family and friends all you have learned about this exciting movement. Invite them to visit farmer’s market with you, to enjoy a sustainably cooked meal, or plan to have a “Meatless Monday.”

Think Before You Buy – Everything we purchase can leave a carbon footprint. Buying less than what you think you need means less waste.

How to Grow a Pest-Free Organic Garden

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As grocery store produce prices continue to soar, more and more people are looking elsewhere to get pricey organic produce. One way of doing this is by growing your own organic garden. However without proper preparation you can end up spending ample amounts of time and money battling bugs and pests that want your produce just as much as you do. The problem? They can be very efficient at getting what they want. The solution? Planting the right plants to keep your garden as pest free as possible. When you start your organic garden keep these things in mind:

 

 

  1. Plant basil and oregano: Both of these plants have very heavy, potent scents that repel garden pests, making them the perfect addition to an organic vegetable garden. They also are both found frequently in recipes and are usually expensive to buy in small quantities at the store, so having them in your garden will help it remain pest free and will help your wallet from taking a heavy hit in the herb section of the grocery store.
  2. Plant marigolds: If you plan on planting fruit in your garden then beware that flies will flock to the fruit plants and destroy them. Unless, of course, you decide to arm your fruit plants with their own weapons, which can be found in the form of adding marigolds around the plants. These bright flowers will help keep the flies away and add a nice pop of color to your garden.
  3. Plant rue: To keep worms and other leaf-chewing pests at bay plant rue in your garden. Rue is a type of subshrub that is well known for its robust scent, feathery leaves, and yellow flowers. Without proper repellants, leaf-chewing pests can wreak havoc on gardens.
  4. Plant onions and garlic: When planting your vegetable garden consider adding onions and garlic into the rotation as well. Bugs aren’t keen on their powerful scents, and will stay away from these types of plants, keeping your other vegetables safe as well.
  5. Plant citronella:Mosquitos may not eat your plants, but they will eat you as you work out in your garden. If spraying yourself down with bug spray every few hours or lighting citronella candles throughout the day doesn’t seem feasible then plant citronella in your garden to naturally repel mosquitos.

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Growing your own organic garden will help save you tons of money at the grocery store each week if you are able to actually produce the fruits and vegetables without them getting eaten by pesky bugs, caterpillars, snails, and other garden pests first. To counteract them, however, you don’t need harmful chemicals and sprays; you just need to plant the right types of plants in between and around your produce. Use this list as a guide for arming your garden with natural defenses.

Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to hire a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.