FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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The Semi-Vegetarian Diet?

It’s been said before (on this blog) that using a little common sense when it comes to what we eat can be effective when it pertains to health benefits. The trend is eating less meat and emphasizing more plant-foods. The scientific evidence that should not be ignored is stacking up to support this recommendation.  But perhaps you just can’t make the switch to being a strict vegan or vegetarian for various reasons but would like to include more plant foods and less meat in your diet.  There is hope.

One way is to practice semi-vegetarianism or flexitarianism which means you don’t need to give up meat entirely – just use it in ways that automatically reduces its intake in the overall diet. One way is to think of meat as a condiment for flavor and be aware of the portion size of meat on a plate. Just reducing the portion size can make a big difference. Another way is to include a Meatless Monday into your week and if you choose add a Meatless Wednesday.  You can also choose to become a lacto-ovo vegetarian (dairy and eggs) or include fish and/or seafood once a week to reduce meat consumption.

CLICK HERE.

For more information on how to become a semi-vegetarian, CLICK HERE.


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Why Organic?

There are some very simplistic reasons to choose organic when you can. But it is important to keep in mind that this article appears to be written by the organic food industry.  Common sense rules when it comes to this debate as both sides of the argument are obviously biased. Cost is never mentioned and of course  common sense tells us that it is an important factor in the food budget. Just know the facts and make your own decisions when it comes to buying organic – don’t opt out on healthy conventional fruits and vegetables – the differences in nutrition between the two in my opinion, is negligible.

CLICK HERE.

For information on what organic actually means, CLICK HERE.


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What are Fermented Foods?

Homemade Sour Dough Bread

What are fermented foods? It is important to realize what benefits they may have for health and also that if you have digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, they may have to be consumed in moderation or as part of a FODMAP diet.

For a very comprehensive article on fermented foods:

CLICK HERE.


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More Reasons for Eating Plants

Berries and more

What will it take to get people on the bandwagon of eating more colorful fruits and vegetables? As we learn more about the effects of these plant chemicals, e.g. anthocyanins, we can supply better information on their healthy benefits. In this article, it is lung function. Yes, there are purple potatoes!

CLICK HERE.

 


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Organic Foods: A Continuing Debate

Conventional food producers often declare that organic farmers use more pesticides than most people think and that some are relatively toxic. Organic farmers deny this claim; as a result, there are obvious biases on both sides of the debate.

Organic foods do not appear to be healthier than their conventional counterparts; however they are gaining in popularity with consumers primarily due to food safety and environmental issues. In my opinion, choosing organic food is a personal choice.

Here is what we know. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, antibiotics, or growth hormones. The USDA’s National Organic Program has developed standards such as what or what not the food product contains. For  example, an organic food may not include ingredients that are treated with irradiation,  produced by genetic modification, or grown using sewage sludge. Certain natural pesticides and some manufactured agents are permitted. Farming and processing operations that produce and handle foods labeled as organic must be certified by the USDA.  Three definitions have been established:

  • 100 % organic = 100% organically produced  raw or processed ingredients
  • Organic = contains at least 95% organically produced raw or processed ingredients
  • Made with organic ingredients = contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients

The following article attempts to further clarify how pesticide use in the organic food industry is regulated.

CLICK HERE.


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From Fact to Fiction: Diet Supplements?

 

So many times when a particular nutrient shows promise with disease prevention, the diet supplement industry goes into  full swing on hyping its benefits in the  form of a pill, aka a  diet supplement. The claims are often exaggerated and when put to the test (if ever) they fail to meet expectations.

What are the actual facts about these supplements?  Do they really meet the claims that are promised? That is why nutrition research becomes important in order to sort out the facts from the fiction.

CLICK HERE.


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Coconut Oil: Is It Healthy or Not?

The benefits of coconut oil have been debated for quite some time. A new study came with some surprises! Read about the study HERE. For a fair assessment from Harvard Medical School about some benefits of coconut oil click HERE.

Bottom Line:

As with most nutrition news, premature conclusions can be reached and headlines can be misleading. For coconut oil adherents, the most recent study is good news; however, coconut oil is a highly saturated fat oil unlike most vegetable oils, and in my opinion should be used sparingly until further research sorts out this debate and reaches some kind of consensus. In the meantime, it’s great for moisturizing your skin and smells good, too.