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Healthy Eating


More Vegetables And Less Meat In Your Diet Can Help Improve Heart Health, Say Medical Experts

While some people choose to be either completely vegetarian or vegan as a lifestyle, most people don’t and for those people, the key to optimum healthy is to have a largely vegetarian diet with some meat.

National Jewish Health, a non-profit hospital specializing in cardiac, respiratory, immune, and related disorders, published an article last week saying that, “Recent research has shown that plant-based diets are associated with lower incidence of stroke, heart attack, and many forms of cancer as well as increased life expectancy and fertility.”

National Jewish says on average that plant-based diets are lower in calories and more dense in nutrients, with the bulk of calories comimg from grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.).

Dr. Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist at National Jewish, made some suggestions about a heart healthy diet, saying one idea is to occasionally choose the vegetarian option in your workplace cafeteria, if it has one.

Freeman also recommended, “Go for a meatless Monday. Many people are doing meatless Mondays, where they’re having no meat whatsoever on Mondays, but by eating less animal products, your cholesterol, blood pressure, and salt will improve.”

National Jewish was very cautious though in recommending a vegetarian diet, saying that an exclusively vegetarian diet can “often lack the B12 vitamin, but most soy and almond milks are supplemented with B12.”

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as meat, shellfish, milk, cheese, and eggs.

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Mom and Medical Experts Find That Cinnamon Radically Drops Blood Sugar In Type 2 Diabetes

During the recent holiday season, my mom and I did a lot of baking together. I love making things from scratch as much as possible, and I found a great website called AllRecipes.com –which is now my favorite place for easy, delicious recipes.

Cinnamon. Stock photo.

Two of my favorite cinnamony recipes from the site are an easy and delicious bread pudding recipe and a homemade from-scratch pancake recipe.

My mom has moderate type 2 diabetes, which requires medication, so we always slightly lower the amounts of sugar in recipes. Anyway, my mom really loved both the bread pudding and especially the pancakes for dinner.

The bread pudding recipe has cinnamon in the recipe; the pancakes don’t, but my mother likes to put cinnamon on them, along with sugar-free syrup. Anyway, she started to immediately notice that her blood sugar was a lot lower than usual and couldn’t understand why.

Then, I remembered hearing that cinnamon lowers blood sugar, so I went online and found a lot of great information from WebMD – a very reputable resource.

An article – Cinnamon and Diabetes – from WebMD says “research has shown that cinnamon may lower blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. In one study, volunteers ate from one to six grams (about a half to a teaspoon) of cinnamon for 40 days. Researchers found that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by about 18 percent and blood sugar by 24 percent.” My mom’s blood sugar came down about this much.

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FixFood’s Online Shopping and Eateries Map App Making Antibiotic-Free Meats Now Easier To Find

With battles still waging around the country about whether genetically modified foods should be labeled, and places like California, where the battle is being lost to big factory farm corporations that don’t want the public to know what they eating; there’s now a new helpful resource where people can take active initiative to find meats and other foods that aren’t filled with things like antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetic modifications.

Smith Meadows Farm selling pasture raised meats at The Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market. Photograph courtesy of Real Time Farms.

FixFood has gotten together with Real Time Farms to create FixAntibiotics, an online interactive U.S. map platform that allows consumers to enter their zip code to find meats raised without antibiotics at farms, farmers markets, retailers, and eateries across the country.

Also, FixAntibiotics showcases – above the map – a few to over a dozen select farms, farmers markets, retailers, and eateries across the country. This feature, like so much of the functionality on the site is incorporated from Real Time Farms.

FixAntibiotics also has direct links to Real Time Farms and FixFood, which are both great resources – in their own ways – for healthier eating.

FixFood has great videos, features, and news articles covering the full spectrum of issues related to the overuse of antibiotics in the meat industry, including discussions about superbugs becoming resistant to antibiotics because of overuse in corporate factory farms.

FixAntibiotics has a great featured video called “Meat Without Drugs” that talks about how 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States go to factory farms primarily for animals to grow faster and endure crowded, unsanitary conditions.

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Consumers Warned Against Eating Shellfish From Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, New York

Federal and state health officials are warning consumers not to eat raw or partially cooked oysters and clams with tags listing New York’s Oyster Bay Harbor as the harvesting area. This follows reports in several states of a cholera-like illness caused by a bacterium called Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

Bay constables on routine patrol in Oyster Bay Harbor, NY. Photo courtesy of Word News Inc.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the bacterium “is in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans.” Vibrio naturally inhabits coastal waters in the U.S. and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during the summer.

Vibrio can causes symptoms including watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. Usually these symptoms can begin anywhere from a few hours to as many as five days after eating raw or undercooked shellfish, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The CDC says that in most people the illness is “self-limiting” and only last about three days, adding that severe disease is rare and occurs mostly commonly in people with weakened immune systems.

The FDA issued a notice to all distributors that, “All shellfish harvesters, shippers, re-shippers, processors, restaurants, and retail food establishments are advised to check the identity tags on all containers of shellfish in their inventories. If the tags indicate the harvest area was Oyster Bay Harbor and a harvest date on or after June 1, 2012, the product should be disposed of and not sold or served.”

The FDA also issued a notice specifically directed toward consumers, and with a stronger recommendation for illness than the CDC’s recommendation. The FDA said that:

Consumers possessing shellfish with tags listing Oyster Bay Harbor as the harvest area and a harvest date on or after June 1, 2012, should dispose of and not eat the shellfish. Consumers possessing shellfish for which the harvest area is not known should inquire of the retailer, restaurant, or other facility about the source of the shellfish.

If the shellfish was already consumed and no one became ill, no action is needed. However, if you develop a diarrheal illness within a week after consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, see your healthcare provider and inform the provider about this exposure.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Oyster Bay Harbor on July 13, 2012 to shellfish harvesting.

Prior to the closing, the DEC said that shellfish from the harbor were also distributed to “several other states, including, but not necessarily limited to Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

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New York City Approaching Deadline For Public Comments on Sugary Drinks Ban – July 24, 2012

Everyone probably remembers the big – but short burst – of traditional media coverage of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to limit sugary drink cup sizes to a maximum of 16 ounces in restaurants, but what you may not know is that this coming Tuesday, July 24, 2012, there will be a public hearing on the ban, and it will also be the last day to give public comments.

The NYC Board of Health will vote on the proposal sometime in September 2012. If the proposal is approved, it will go into effect in March 2013.

While the beverage industry obviously objects, the health care community is singing the praises of the proposal.

Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, chief medical officer of the National Kidney Foundation applauded the proposal in a statement saying, “Currently, there 1.3 million New Yorkers suffering from chronic kidney disease and that number is rising. Recent research shows that consumption of sugary sodas results in obesity.”

“Obesity can cause the development of kidney disease directly or indirectly through type 2 diabetes. Raising awareness is essential to really helping address the epidemic of chronic kidney disease that is tied with obesity,” continued Vassalotti.

Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School also praised the proposal, saying that, “Sugary beverages are the major source of excess calories and sugar in our diet. There is solid scientific evidence supporting that regular consumption of these beverages contributes to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.”

“Studies have shown that changing the food environment by limiting access to large portion sizes of soda is effective in reducing consumption, while education alone is not sufficient to change people’s behaviors,” he added.

The mayor’s office said the proposal to limit sugary drinks is in keeping with the mission of the Harlem Health Promotion Center, which also has a consumer website – GetHealthyHarlem.org – whose goal is to promote lifestyle changes through information about healthy eating and announcing events and programs, including free exercise programs, free farm fresh food tasting, and free community women’s health events.

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