Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

How to Prepare a Week of Healthy Meals in Just an Hour

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Meal preparation is in my opinion the most significant factor in preventing people from following a healthy diet. When it’s time to eat, most people are either too hungry or too tired to invest time and effort into preparing a truly healthy and nutritious meal. With a little planning, however, this is an excuse that you should never be justified in using again.

The healthiest meals are those based on whole foods, but for many people, the time it takes to prepare this type of meal is both a problem and an inconvenience. Fortunately, even for the busiest people, meal preparation can be streamlined to the point of it being a minimal time commitment.

Think of how easy it is to pack dinner leftovers for the next day’s lunch. When lunchtime arrives, there’s no thought or effort involved. You simply grab the meal you packed, heat it up if appropriate, and eat. It couldn’t be any easier. The key to simplifying the preparation of healthy meals is very similar in concept. In short, you intentionally prepare a bunch meals in advance. The following are 3 simple steps for doing so.


An Unjustified Knock Against Grass Fed Beef

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Animals raised in a natural environment and on their natural diet are likely be healthier, and in turn, be a source of higher quality meat. Based on this premise, choosing meat from pasture raised animals makes a lot of sense and is supported by research that has identified a number of ways in which this type of meat is superior. However, a recent study done by researchers from Texas A&M is being used to claim the opposite, that beef from grain fed cattle is healthier than beef from pasture fed cattle.

Although there are many great reasons to choose meat from pasture raised livestock, eating conventionally produced meat is not necessarily a guarantee for poor health. Someone who primarily eats whole foods, is active, and manages stress well will still be likely to enjoy good health despite the concerns associated with conventionally produced meat. However, to insinuate in a general sense that beef from grain fed cattle is healthier than that from pasture fed beef is quite a stretch in my opinion.


Homemade Jerky: A Nutritious and Convenient Snack

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Snacking is a convenient way to suppress appetite and obtain nutrients between meals, but most snack foods are highly processed and full of sugar. The difficulty in finding a healthy and appealing snack food is a challenge that can easily ruin an otherwise healthy diet. Because of its nutritional value, convenience, and great taste, beef jerky is an excellent snack that can help to solve this problem, but as with most foods, there are a number of factors to consider in regard to quality and health.


Chocolate: Indulgence or Superfood? (Part 3)

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Traditionally, chocolate has been considered to be an unhealthy indulgence for a variety of reasons. However, research has also shown that chocolate can provide a number of important health benefits. The question that remains is if these benefits outweigh chocolate’s potential to have adverse effects.

The first article in this series discussed the impressive health benefits of chocolate including its high antioxidant capacity, its potential to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and its ability to improve circulation and even skin health. The second article described the less desirable characteristics of chocolate such as its potential to impair digestion, alter mood, and be contaminated with potentially toxic heavy metals. The intent of this final article is to consider how chocolate can fit into a truly healthy diet and to identify the factors that can make it more of a health promoting food than an indulgence.


Chocolate: Indulgence or Superfood (Part 2)

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Although chocolate has been shown to have a variety of impressive health benefits, there are a number of concerns to consider before consuming it specifically for this reason. Contrary to what you might think, the majority of these concerns aren’t related to the unhealthy characteristics of candy and other sweets that often lead people to classify chocolate as an indulgence food.

The previous article presented the many impressive health benefits of chocolate including a remarkably high antioxidant capacity, a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, a reduced growth rate of several cancers, and even improved skin health. However, since each of these benefits can be obtained in other ways, the remaining question that needs to be answered is if chocolate should be consumed specifically to promote good health despite having some potentially harmful characteristics. The following issues provide some of the insight needed to answer this question.


Chocolate: Indulgence or Superfood? (Part 1)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Chocolate is the favorite food of many people but it’s often viewed as an unhealthy indulgence. Despite this, more and more evidence is suggesting that chocolate provides a number of impressive health benefits. Is this too good to be true?

Surprisingly, there’s an overwhelming amount of research and opinion existing on chocolate and its potential to alter mood, cause intense cravings, and influence health. As such, there’s a lot of important information to discuss, but too much to include in one article, so this will be the first of three. This article will discuss the beneficial aspects of chocolate, the next one will consider if and how chocolate can detract from health, and the final article will include my opinion on whether chocolate is a so called superfood or just an indulgence as is commonly thought. In this last article, I’ll also share what my three favorite chocolates are as well as some important information regarding selection.


The Frightening Uncertainty of Genetically Modified Foods

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

The genetic modification of food crops may sound like an advantageous use of modern technology, and the biotechnology industry assertively claims that it is, but there are a number of frightening concerns associated with it that aren’t being given the consideration they deserve.

When an organism is genetically modified, a gene from one organism is extracted, modified, and inserted into the DNA of another organism. Generally, the insertion of this gene is intended to provide the recipient organism with a trait that it doesn’t normally possess. For example, the gene in jellyfish that’s responsible for bioluminescence has been used to engineer pigs, mice, and rabbits that glow in the dark. A more relevant use of genetic engineering that’s already in use is the creation of food crops that can produce their own pesticides or be more resistant to other pesticides that are externally applied. The outcome of these genetic alterations can be very unpredictable, and as a result, they present many legitimate concerns relating to our health. They also threaten to disrupt the intricate balance of our ecosystem which can have significant implications as well.

Genetics is a very complex subject that we have yet to fully understand. Considering that it took billions of years for the current gene pool to evolve to be what it is today, is it really a good idea for us to be so casual about altering it?


Can the Secret to Weight Loss Be Found in Your DNA?

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Research being done in conjunction with Stanford University is showing that your success with different types of weight loss diets may depend on your genetics.

There’s a wide variety of weight loss diets to choose from, and while they all make big claims about delivering results, the diets are often drastically different. Furthermore, each of these diets typically have their share of glowing success stories as well as reports of making people feel miserable. Although there are many factors that contribute to the success or failure of a weight loss diet, perhaps the most obvious conclusions that can be drawn from these discrepancies are that we each respond to food in different ways and that the type of diet that works extremely well for one person may very well cause problems for another. Could genetic testing be the solution to this uncertainty?


More Reason to Not Count Calories

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Like most people, you’re probably conscientious of the amount of calories that you eat. Perhaps you even count how many you consume each day. If so, what would you do if you discovered that the calorie data you’ve been using is unreliable?

Researchers from Tufts University analyzed the calorie content of a variety of supermarket and restaurant foods and found themselves asking the same question. In many cases, the actual calorie content of the food varied considerably from number of calories listed by the manufacturer or restaurant. This has significant implications for people who count calories to lose or maintain weight.

The entire basis of calorie counting is dependent on accurately assessing and adjusting one’s daily caloric intake based on their caloric needs. People looking to maintain their weight will generally consume about the same amount of calories that they need for the day, and those who want to lose weight will typically try to eat slightly less. Inaccurate calorie data could easily cause someone to consume more calories than intended and result in them gaining weight instead of losing or maintaining it.


Why Skim Milk Isn’t as Healthy as You May Think

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

We’ve been told for years that skim milk and low fat milk are healthier choices than whole milk, but is this really the case? While this advice is mostly based on avoiding saturated fat, there are other important factors to consider as well.

Milk is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they’re able to eat and digest other types of food. It’s an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are critical to proper development. This applies to the fat content of milk as well. When the fat is removed, so is a portion of its nutritional quality and its ability to support healthy development. The recommendation to avoid milk fat is not only based on questionable science, but is also influenced by the profit based motives of the dairy industry.