FOOD SAFETY, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Food Safety refers to routines in the preparation, handling, and storage of food meant to prevent food borne illness and injury.
The Steps to prevent illness
1). Wash hands between steps in the kitchen. Before cooking and after handling raw
2). Sanitize work surfaces and make sure your counters, cutting boards and all work
surfaces have been sufficiently sanitized before cooking.
3). Use separate cutting boards for raw meats, vegetables & produce when cooking.
This method keeps cross contamination to a minimum.
4). Cook foods to safe temperatures, always check recommended temperatures when
cooking and always use a food thermometer.
– 145 degrees F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal and lamb
– 160 degrees F for ground meats, such as beef & pork
– 160 degrees F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
– 165 degrees F for leftovers & casseroles
– 145 degrees F for fresh raw hams
– 145 degrees F for fin fish
5). Keep hot food hot & cold foods cold. When leaving food out, always remember to
throw out food left unrefrigerated for over two hours.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) ask that you use four simple
steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, & Chill www.cdc.gov – prevention
Do not wash meat, poultry, or eggs
Do not eat risky foods such as undercooked or raw animal products or unpasteurized
(raw) meat & juices.
HOW TO MEASURE CORRECTLY IN THE KITCHEN
Let us focus on the United States system which uses volume based on cooking utensils and pre-metric measures. In the United States we use pounds and ounces for weight, and U.S. customary units for volume. Customary units in the U.S. system are measured in gallons, quarts, and pints.
U.S. recipes are commonly in terms of fluid measures, even for dry ingredients. Notably flour and sugar are measured by volume, often in cups. Always level off your ingredient and never pack it. Weight measures are used for meats. Butter may be measured by either weight 7 lb.( pound) or volume (3 tbsp) or a combination of weight and volume (1/4 lb. (pound) plus 3 tbsp); butter is sold by weight and in packages with 1⁄4 lb. (pound) sticks mostly, or by the lb. (pound) such as a solid 1 lb. (pound) block.
Using the right measuring tools will ensure exact measurements. In both pictures above you see wet and dry measuring cups and utensils. Always keep in mind that measuring liquid vs. dry ingredients should be treated differently when measuring. Measuring cups and spoon sets are generally intended for dry ingredients, while liquid measuring cups (Pyrex in the picture above) are intended for liquid ingredients. Dry measuring cups and spoons are designed to measure dry ingredients such as flour, nuts, and berries. A good tip to know: ounces measures weight and fluid ounces measures volume.
HOW TO READ A RECIPE
TO ENSURE SUCCESS
Reading a recipe correctly and thoroughly is how you execute a successful dish. First read the entire recipe before starting & then read it again to be sure of what the written text is telling you. At this point, “Mise En Place” (January 2021 Blog), should be practiced and once you have all of the ingredients gathered in front of you, measure out in separate containers, each ingredient called for in the recipe.
Now do all the prep work, that should include any and all chopping, dicing, slicing ( to name a few) and set those ingredients aside. Make sure you have everything you need and each ingredient that the recipe calls for.
I would advise not to make substitutions to a recipe because sometimes, changing specific ingredients in a recipe can lead to failure of a successful outcome to a tried and true recipe. Believe me, order in the kitchen is everything. It warrants repeating, how important it is to read the entire recipe before you begin cooking, because you will learn how long and at what temperature you should cook what you are preparing on. The recipe will tell you how to mix the ingredients to get a certain texture or consistency. How the dish is made, is essential.
What you should see in a recipe. All recipes start with the name of the dish. Next, you learn what ingredients are needed.
I have a measurement cheat sheet that breaks down the following:
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces, 1 cup = 1/2 pint , 1 cup = 16 tablespoons,
1 cup = 1/4 quart, 1 cup = 48 teaspoons, 1 cup = 1/16 gallon, 1 cup = 240 ml.
Following the steps of a recipe, decreases the chance of error. A good recipe increases the food quality you are preparing, it should give the exact quantity of each ingredient, a description of how the dish should be prepared and completed (this is known as method). Method is how you cook your recipe such as sauteing, stir-fry, searing, steaming, roasting, baking, grilling, etc. When following a recipe, follow the steps in the sequence in which they are written. Don’t skip steps, take your time and if the recipe tells you room temperature, you will need to set that ingredient out until it is at room temperature, which means planning ahead. Also, don’t forget to prep your pans, if necessary or soak your beans, and/or pre-heat your oven.
Last, but not least, relax and enjoy the process!
SOUL...FULL SOUTHERN JANUARY 2021
As we embark on the new year of 2021, SFS Nutritional Reads.org wishes everyone a return to some normalacy and continued good health in a year of optimistic hope.
This year we will dedicate our monthly Blogs to basic Culinary Literacy best practices. Our first in a series of twelve posts is “Mise en place”.
“Mise en place” (pronounced MEEZ ahn PLahs), is a French culinary term that roughly translates to “everything in its place”. The purpose of “mise en place” is to have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking, so you don’t have to stop during the cooking process to do anything other then add the next ingredient.
Step 1. – Planning
Be practical, think through your entire meal and how you will serve it.
Why? Because the taste, smell and presentation you will achieve as you plan, will bring success at every meal.
Create your menu with care, now let’s go grocery shopping. Make a list of the items you need and stick to it. While you shop, always choose to source the best ingredients available at that moment.
When you return to your kitchen, it’s “Prep time”. This is when you put on some great music and start chopping, slicing, dicing and measure out your ingredients to be cooked. However, before you start your culinary dance, assemble your tools i.e. thermometer, spoons, knives, measuring cups, bowls, ramekins and anything it will take to sucessfully execute your meal before you even turn on your stove.
How to plan a meal
Meal planning guarantees that you will have all the ingredients needed to execute a recipe before you even heat the stove. Why, because meal planning saves time, money, and unnecessary frustration. No matter when you start planning, this is a step that should never be skipped. When you plan out what you intend to cook and how it will be prepared, you will know if you have all of the necessary ingredients and the correct amounts, before you start the cooking process.
Correct measurements of your ingredients will define the taste of the food you are preparing. Experimentation in the kitchen generally takes a great deal of experience.
To truly practice “mise en place”, you want to be able to work clean by making sure you clean as you go. Hygiene in the kitchen is vital. Make it a habit to wash pots, pans, utensils, cutting boards, knives and wipe clean your thermometer after every use. Otherwise, when you next need a tool, it will not be ready for use immediately. So, slow down and do not get impatient trying to cut time off what a dish requires to be safely edible. Slowing down might speed up the cooking process for a successful outcome.
Waste nothing and stretch your ingredients. Cook more and store it for later in the week or freeze it, if possible. Always be mindful of those who suffer food insecurity daily.
“Mise en place” is the best “pro tip” for the home cook.
HUGS & HOLIDAYS
I know what I’m giving everyone for Christmas this year, its simple, but yet, absolutely Priceless!
It can be used year round , which means you can give it as an IOU
A hug may be the perfect gift this year because the Covid-19 pandemic has changed almost every element of our everyday lives. I personally haven’t had the luxury of spending personal quality time with my family members. So, sending them the gift of an IOU for future HUGS will give us the opportunity to hug each other once this pandemic is under control.
I also think we shouldn’t forget about ourselves. Give yourself a hug and know you are loved.
Benefits of Hugging
It is a known scientific fact, that hugging helps reduce stress, boost your heart health and makes you healthier.
We hug others when we are excited, happy, sad, grieving or trying to comfort. Hugging is universally comforting because it makes us feel good. Feeling good, reduces stress thereby it makes us healthier.
Research on the art of hugging, goes beyond the warm feeling you get from the physical contact but it is known that when a friend, family or anyone is dealing with something painful or unpleasant, a hug from another makes it better. A hug shows support through touch to the person being comforted. The human “cuddle hormone” – Oxytocin naturally in our bodies, rises when we hug, touch, or even sit close to someone else. Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure, thereby reliving stress.
So give a simple, yet priceless gift and hug someone like you mean it!
THANKS FOR GIVING ME...GRATITUDE
It is that time of year and Thanksgiving 2020 will be nothing, if not different, this year. Hopefully, many Americans will choose (NOT) to gather with family and friends because the Covid-19 pandemic is surging here in the United States and around the world. There have been 224,720 Americans who have died from the virus and who are not here with
us this Thanksgiving.
The economic impact on the most vulnerable of our citizens is startling, yet economic relief in
the form of another stimulus package is in doubt.
Reality is… our daily lifestyles have changed beyond recognition. Yet, I am grateful and thankful for all frontline (essential) workers, nurses, doctors, assistants, nursing students and others who stepped up to fight this unknown. It is always at the front of my consciousness that, it could have been me or any of us. Thank you and keep up the good fight.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the firefighters, police, emergency care personnel and all first responders. I am thankful for assistant living and nursing home care providers, grocery store workers, whom we have depended on to keep the shelves stocked and truckers. A special shout out goes to the volunteers who work the food pantries and food banks around the country. Serving those who depend on this precious service to keep food on the table. I am grateful to be in good health, at this point. I am grateful that my family is intact and in good health. I am grateful for my friends who have always stood by me, no matter the
I pray for those that have suffered loses of loved ones or who know someone who is not well or
I give thanks for yesterday, today, and every day that I am blessed to have.
Happy Thanksgiving 2020.
This Thanksgiving, I will cook, share and take a plate of food to two of my senior friends that are
While sitting at my Thanksgiving table with my 2 dogs (Endre & Eugene). I will give thanks and pray that tomorrow will dawn and be better.
MINDFUL EATING: BENEFITS AND WHY?
What do we mean, mindful eating? Mindful eating has roots in mindfulness meditation, a well-studied Buddhist practice of being fully present and sensing one’s feeling, thoughts, physical sensations and environment without judging or debating them. Mindful eating makes one fully aware of the eating experience as well as your thoughts and feelings about food.
How can you be more mindful?
1). Shop thoughtfully
Buy healthy snacks such as celery, carrots and nuts
2). Stay away from sugary & processed foods
3). When you eat:
a). Limit distractions
b). Eat slowly
c). Chew your food thoroughly
d). Let your senses of taste and smell…Lead you
e). Stop eating when you’ve had enough – be mindful and put your fork down, even if food is still on your plate.
Mindful eating is the practice of focusing on the food you are consuming. It starts with what
you choose when you shop. Secondly, slow it down and enjoy how you actually eat your food.
Mindful eating is conscious food selection, alertness to physical versus psychological hunger
and allocation of sufficient time for eating. The process of mindful eating should make you more aware of what you consume.
Practicing awareness of what you eat, makes one aware of the senses involved in eating.
Senses such as smell, taste, color and texture of the food eaten.
Think about this, if a person becomes more aware of the food they consume, with the intention to focus on the various aspects eating involves. The focus of eating generally shifts to the sensual experience of sight, sound, smell, texture and taste.
Mindful eating has no social economical boundary. Which means, even those who depend on and frequent food pantries can and should strive to eat mindfully. Exactly what should you be seeking with mindful eating is the awareness of the experience. Eating & being in the moment.
Being mindful of the foods you eat, encourages you to pay attention to the aromas, textures, flavors and taste of foods. The overall process of mindful eating should slow down the process of putting food in your mouth and place more attention on what you are eating. Paying close attention to the moment, helps you to connect to your eating experience.
Mindful eating actually promotes better digestion and it keeps you full with less food if you pay close
attention to your sense of “full”. Paying attention to all of your senses when you eat, will influence wiser choices about what you eat in the future. Consistent mindful eating can also help free you from and over eating. This method may help change your eating and personal behaviors that could boost your overall health.
Here’s eleven benefits of mindful eating as printed in an article in US News, written by Heidi Godman
dated October, 18, 2019:
1). Eat only when you are hungry
2). Allow food cravings to pass
3). End a meal when you are full
4). Stop binge eating
5). Stop hedonic eating, which is eating for pleasure to produce a feel-good chemicals in the brain
6). Possibility to lose weight
7). Promote heart health
8). Control blood sugar
9). Promote healthier response to stress
10). Create possibility to increase the variety of food you eat
11). Spend less time thinking about food.
Imagine that, mindful eating could possibility lower your blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels!
Mindful eating could even enable you to cut down on emotional eating. Whatever you conclude, just changing how you think about what you eat, when you eat and how much you are eating are all important factors in what you should consider when changing habits to be more mindful about your health.
Mindful eating isn’t a diet ”per se’. People put themselves on diets, invest an enormous amount of focus and energy on food, always thinking what they can’t have, planning, counting calories, points… whatever the program. They start denying themselves “this & that” which consumes a great deal of energy. Your mind plays tricks of making you think you are denying yourself, which may sometimes cause you to “binge.”
This all takes a lot of energy. Now suppose you try mindful eating and start to practice a new eating approach at your next meal or alternating the mindful eating practice once a week. Eventually you start to see that being more mindful of what you eat, out weighs what you had been doing previously. You may find that you have more energy and this small something, adds more meaning to your everyday.
FOOD BANKS VITALITY... AMERICA'S NEW NORMAL
It is no question that millions of Americans are now depending on food banks, food pantries and organizations that feed those who suffer with food insecurity. The Covid-19 pandemic and the food insecurity that has come with it, has without a doubt, transformed many nonprofit organizations.
Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks stated in an article April 13, 2020
and posted May 14 by CBS, that there is a 98% increase in need for food. Learn more by clicking here.
The new normal in America, is forcing food pantries within local communities to continually adapt their working model during this pandemic. Before the pandemic, several local food pantries would allow those that they serve to enter and choose what they wanted, which cuts down on waste.
However, now with social distancing and to protect their volunteers. Bags and boxes are now
pre-packaged, and people pull up in their cars at many, picking up a prepared box or bag in a drive-thru model.
It is without argument that this pandemic has caused uncertainty, mental and physical stress to
all concerned, no matter the age or economic circumstances.
Kudos to the nonprofit organizations, food banks and food pantries that continue to answer the
need of the food insecure population. These organizations included in our local communities
are meeting the needs to feed those who show up.
Local food pantries are seeing as much as a 70% increase in demand during this Covid-19
pandemic. The high unemployment created by Covid-19 means thousands of Americans have
become food insecure. The economic fall out from Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented need for food assistance in the US and that need is being met by nonprofit
Locally here in Knoxville and surrounding counties, our communities are no different.
Second Harvest of East TN CEO Elaine Streno shared these statistics:
-Pre-Covid 19, Second Harvest of East TN provided 1.1 million meals in a month throughout an
18-county service area, with an established eight different feeding programs that include seniors and children.
-Pre-Covid 19, the Second Harvest East TN warehouse distributed an average of 250,000 lbs. of
food each week. However, as of mid-March and up to the date of this blog publication, Second Harvest of East TN is distributing 500,000 lbs. of food each week to 500 partners, an increase of 50%.
Now more than ever food banks need our support!
Donate and/or volunteer because so many of your neighbors depend on our local food pantries to survive!
5 STAGES OF GRIEF AMIDST COVIED-19
First we would like to express sincere condolence to all of those who have lost love ones during this
crisis. In order to respond effectively to a crisis, you must first find out what’s happening. Then you really have to seek truth and face the crisis, we must all be vigilant and stay safe, prioritize our daily lifestyle around remaining safe and keeping love ones safe, then we have to try to comprehend what we can do to control our personal environment.
Mother’s day, May 19,2020
Just chilling, drinking my morning coffee in front of the television when I heard a very inspiring comment from a doctor on one of the Sunday morning shows, that literally shook me out of my blah’s that had me low for 2 days in a row. I’m usually a very optimistic person but, I finally understood that what I was feeling was very much like the stages of grief due to the Covid-19 crisis.
First, I was in shock, feeling scared and having no control. Late February, I dropped everything and started running around looking for face masks, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, gloves, stocking up on food and rearranging some bills to now be paid online. I was getting things in order, so that I could lay low for about two months, if need be.
Second, I was in denial. I thought that within a couple of months, everything we knew as “normal” would return. Yes, I was going to be inconvenienced but so what, it was going to be short lived. But, that’s not the case.
Third, loneliness has set in. This imposed isolation is a bummer and cramping my style. I couldn’t do any of my “normal”. I couldn’t visit my three year old great niece, whom I adore. I couldn’t visit and gossip with friends. I stopped going to the food pantry, which I depend upon and I stopped going to the senior center to swim twice weekly. Shoot, it wasn’t even that safe to go to the grocery store anymore.
This virus is serious and more importantly, it’s deadly!
Fourth, I got angry. No actually, I’m pissed because the virus isn’t cooperating in my world. The virus isn’t going away, instead scientist are now predicting that there would probably be a second wave this fall.
Somehow I wanted to go Puff! And the virus would go away, but no, it’s still here and it seems for some time to come. The “normal” we all knew has really gone forever.
Somehow I wanted to go Puff! And the virus would go away, but no, it’s still here and it seems for some time to come. The “normal” we all knew has really gone forever.
The Aha! Moment came when I heard this doctor on a Mother’s day Sunday show, state that “now is the time to use this crisis to our advantage, because we will never return to what was considered normal before Covid-19. She continued to say that we now have a unique opportunity to address in-equalities in our societies by shaping legislature, embrace change and injustice by enacting innovative instruments to advantage those things that should now work better with our new reality of living amidst Covid-19 and after. Yes, we have to remain safe, be smart and learn to live safely with our new reality. However, we must now act to frame our “new normal”.
Here we are in the third week of June with Father’s day next Sunday and so…ooo much has happened since I began this blog post.
States are re-opening amidst the Covid-19 virus. Needless to say the virus is on the rise in 21 states and there has been reported about 20,000 new cases each day. The White House no longer mentions the virus and the 116,963 deaths of Americans as of June 17th.
George Floyd was killed in board daylight! 8:46 minutes with a knee on his neck! There has been 23 straight days of protests of Americans in the streets, making their voices heard against injustice.
Yet still, everyday, food insecurity is affecting many of the 33.5 million unemployed in America. All due to Covid-19.
Inequality is present for the poor & oppressed in our society on so many levels. Maybe now we can
have a real conversation about the public stigma attached to those that depend on and frequent food pantries. Perhaps providing nutritional literacy to this demographic, could be accepted as a right.
So many of us and our neighbors suffer with food insecurity 365 days a year. Nutritional literacy would
inform those who have never been exposed to the importance of nutrition, with healthier options and
what foods really fuel the body.
Whatever we choose to do, we all have a choice to get involved in the many national discussions that
need to take place in our American society. It’s time to be innovative about change. Silence is no longer acceptable. We all have the possibility to contribute to our new normal. It is time for those of us who can, to use their influence to shape and effect change for the better. Use your voice for positive change for those less fortunate, those that have been discriminated against, those who through no fault of their own, cannot effect change for themselves.
STIGMA, NO MORE?
In the new reality of Covid-19, food pantries are now the mainstream supply of food to an unprecedented number of the 30.3 million unemployed Americans as of April 25, 2020.
Food insecurity can happen to anyone, any day, any time. From one day to the next, anyone can find themselves in need.
Food insecurity starts when you start worrying about your ability to obtain food for yourself and your
family. Secondly, maybe you start compromising quality, known brands and suddenly your variety of
food starts to diminish. Perhaps you start reducing the quantity of food you use to eat, or reducing your serving sizes, or even skipping meals unconsciously. The reality of what is taking place is food insecurity.
How does it happen? Loss of income, change in income such as a lower wage, sudden health problems and the associated costs, stress from other socio-economic factors such as not being able to afford the costs of housing, lack of transportation, automobile upkeep or a car that doesn’t run, even the costs of gas. There are so many factors that can occur almost overnight.
Whatever the reason, in mid-March 2020, Covid-19 caused unprecedented need that overwhelmed food pantries and food banks around the nation. But yet, these organizations rose to the need and supplied food to those who showed up, at least until they ran out of food. This unprecedented need in our local communities forced the negative implications of using car food lines, food pantries and food banks into a national/international spotlight of acceptance because the need was so monumental.
Witnessing miles and miles of car food lines on our nightly news has become the new normal. Cities such as San Antonio, Minneapolis, Florida and others around the country have shown us all what the reality of hunger means. Survival, you do what you have to. Perhaps now, the negative connotations have been forced to break the chains of public stigma.
Just remember, when this pandemic subsides and our lives return to our pre-Covid 19 normal. There are those of us out there for which food insecurity is a 365 day reality.
So, let’s break the chains of stereotype and public stigma once and for all. Be kind and don’t judge.
Take the less traveled road and DONATE to the cause and feed your neighbor.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO READ FOOD LABELS?
According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), reading label skills are important because to read food labels effectively helps everyone choose the best foods for a healthy diet.
Look for these:
-Serving information such as serving size
-%DV (the percent daily value
-Nutrition facts label variations
First, take a look at the number of servings on the package.
Second, its important to understand that all nutrient amounts shown on the label, including calories, refer to the size of the serving. Calories listed on the label provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving. Pay a high amount of attention to the nutrient list. Look for saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar amounts. Take into consideration that added sugars are not the same as sugars that are naturally present in many foods, such as sugar in
milk and the fructose in fresh fruit. Keep in mind that there is usually no daily reference value
for total sugars. Generally the sugar percent amount only
accounts for added sugars.
Added sugars may be listed as:
-Sucrose or Dextrose
-Foods packaged as sweetners (such as table sugar)
-Sugar from syrup and honey
-Sugar from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices
Please note that the word “includes” before added sugars on the label, indicates that added sugars are included in the number of grams under total sugars.
Example: Total sugars 15g
Includes 7g added sugars 14%
This means that the product has 7 grams of added sugars and 8 grams of naturally occurring sugars— for a total of 15 grams of sugar.
Dietary fiber such as: Vitamin D, Calcium, iron and potassium are nutrients. Eating a diet high in dietary fiber can increase the frequency of bowel movements, lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and reduce calorie intake.
The % Daily Value (%DV), is the percentage of the daily value for each nutrient in a serving of food, contributes to a total daily diet. The %DV tells you if a serving of food is high or low in nutrient in a serving of food.
It’s important to choose foods that are high in %DV for dietary value, such as Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron & potassium. However, you want to foods lower in %DV such as saturated fats, sodium and added sugars.
What is most important about food labels is that we all read them and upon reading them, we must choose the food we eat wisely.
So always think 5 when reading labels:
1) Start with serving size
2) Check out the total calories
3) Let the %DV be a guide
4) Check out the nutrition terms (such as product ingredients that are listed by quantity from highest to lowest amount. This means that the first ingredients is what the manufacturer used the most of. Scan the first three ingredients, as they make up the largest part of what you will be eating.)
Always try to eat more whole foods and leafy green vegetables. If you must, learn how to prepare from scratch, simple nutritious dishes.
HOW SWEET IS TOO SWEET? THE DOWNSIDE OF REFINED SUGAR
According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars anyone should eat in a day are:
Men—150 calories (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)
Women— 100 calories (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
However, in actuality, the average daily intake for an adult is 76.7 grams per day, which equals 19 teaspoons or 306 calories.
Excess sugar consumption has been associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain can-
cers, tooth decay and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
One level teaspoon of refined sugar (4 grams) provides 4 calories per gram or 16 calories. It’s importantto note that sugar on its own, has no other nutrients. There is no fiber or starch in granulated sugar. Once ingested, most carbohydrates and complex sugars are broken down into simple sugar glucose and released into the blood stream.
Which foods have carbs?
Diary, milk, yogurt & ice cream
Fruit, whole fruit & fruit juice
Grains, bread, rice, crackers & cereal
Legumes, beans & other plant based proteins
Starchy vegetables, potatoes & corn
Sugary sweets such as candy, soda & other desserts
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates can be defined as neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen & oxygen and they come in simple forms such as sugars and in complex forms such as starches and fiber. For example, pasta is a complex sugar. The body breaks down most sugars and starches into glucose, a simple sugar that the
body can use to feed its cells.
What is glucose?
Glucose is a simple sugar.
Let’s put this in plain English: One 12 oz. can of Coke contains140 calories from sugar, while a regular sized snicker candy bar, contains 120 calories of sugar. In both instances, they are almost or over the recommended daily intake amount for both men & women.
US dietary guidelines advise people to limit their sugar intake to less than 10% of their daily calorie intake. For example: A person eating 2,000 calories per day, lowering your sugar intake 10% would mean, only consuming 50 grams of sugar or 12.5 teaspoons of sugar a day.
Remember, no more than 150 calories of sugar each day should be the norm for a man or woman in a healthy nutritious diet. So, in reality for our health, we should all consider sugar as a “villain” of “empty calories” that could very well cause a number of diseases. Instead, we should make a lifestyle change and read labels, especially with processed foods and choose brands that have the least amount of sugar. When you crave sweets, choose fresh fruits, because you get sugar in the form of fructose but, you also get lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fiber is important because it slows down the absorption of the fruits natural sugar.
5 Foods that are said to lower blood sugar
2) Fiber (Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, berries & bran)
3) Green Tea (six or more cups daily)
4) Chocolate (Cacao, or dark chocolate, according to an article by AffectHealth.com, improves insulin sensitivity. Dark chocolate produced a significant drop in blood pressure, reduced bad cholesterol and improved blood vessel function. )
A decent source of fiber, quercetin and polyphenols, which have shown blood sugar regulating properties.
In summation, diet plays an important role in managing blood sugar levels. 2.5 hours of physical exercise each week is said to lower your blood sugar also. Eating more leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, fish and low—fat dairy can also make a big difference in lowering blood sugar.
Therefore, adapting a healthy diet is one of the most important steps someone can take to improve their overall health. High blood sugar occurs when your body can’t effectively transport sugar from blood into cells which can lead to diabetes.
HOW MUCH SALT, IS TOO MUCH?
The average adult consumes 3,400 mg of sodium each day, which puts you at risk for developing serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease
More than 70% of sodium in our daily diets are found in processed foods and restaurant meals. Even meats, grains and baked goods contain unknown amounts of sodium if eaten often enough, they too contribute to one’s daily intake of sodium, making your high blood pressure soar. Other foods such as canned soups, canned goods in general, poultry and sandwiches, all contain sodium in the meats, condiments, and the bread used to make them.
That includes hamburgers. Depending on how you prepare the sandwich, how the ingredients are cooked if it’s a meat, are added sauces, mayonnaise, mustard, these all contain salt. No one ever really thinks about the salt content for each individual item in the sandwich!
According to the U.S. government 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
-One slice of bread can contain anywhere from 80 to 230 mg of sodium
-Some breakfast cereals contain 150 to 300 mg of sodium before milk is added
This is all to say, sodium intake adds up quickly. Did you know, if you consume 3 meals each day starting with:
-Breakfast—a bowl of cereal with skim milk contains 250 mg of sodium
-Lunch—a cup of soup and a turkey sandwich has about 2,200 mg of sodium
-Dinner—a slice of pizza & salad with light dressing contains 710 mg of sodium
Conclusion: In one day, the three meals add up to 3,160 mg of sodium.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day for an adult and they advise that to get to an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.
Here’s what to look for on food labels. Always check processed meat and poultry labels because these food items in a grocery store, are often “enhanced” with salt water and saline. While reading labels, it is important to take note how much is a “serving” size. Which means, if the portion you are eating equals two servings of the product. You are actually eating DOUBLE the sodium listed on the label.
In order to take a small step to cut back your daily intake of sodium, cut back by about 1,000 mg a day and this can improve blood pressure and heart health. The American Heart association has a form that will assist in recording your daily intake of sodium.
THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO SAY SODIUM:
Sodium nitrate, sodium citrate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium benzoate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), disodium phosphate, & sodium alginate
Definitions of what you might find on food labels & what they mean:
Less than 5mg per serving and contain no sodium chloride (table salt)
Very low sodium—140 mg or less per serving
Reduced (or less) sodium—25% less sodium per serving
Light (sodium or reduced products) – “low calorie” & “low fat” should mean sodium is reduced by at
least 50% per serving
The Salty Six Foods to avoid
1. Breads & rolls
4. Cold cuts & cured meats
5. Canned Soup
6. Burritos & Tacos
* 1 piece of bread can contain as much as 230mg
* Don’t forget that sandwiches, includes burgers
* One 2 oz. serving of 6 thin slices of cold cuts can contain as much as 1,400 mg of sodium
*One cup of canned soup can range from 100 to 940 mg of sodium
Why should you care about how much sodium you consume?
About one in three of every American has high blood pressure (hypertension), and a high sodium diet may be the reason.
Sodium also increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden on your heart.
Too much sodium also increases your risk for stroke, heart failure. Osteoporosis, stomach cancer & kidney disease.
You may not even have symptoms of high blood pressure, that is why high blood pressure is called the “silent killer”. When high blood pressure goes untreated, the condition damages arteries and other vital organs throughout the body.
Here’s a fact for you.
The body needs only a small amount of sodium to function properly and that is less than 1/4 teaspoon.
A single teaspoon of table salt has a total of 2,325 mg (milligrams) of sodium. Table salt is a combination of sodium and chloride.
Take the Salt shaker off the table, you don’t need it! It can be the cause of great harm.
YOUR HEART AS AN ORGAN: HOW IMPORTANT ARE LOVE, DIET, AND EXERCISE?
If you love your heart and treat this very important organ right, it will do the same for you. What I‘m trying to say is, your heart will treat you right in return only if you respect and love it in return.
We all know the heart is a complicated organ that is vital for survival, but what we may not take into much consideration is how much you eat is just as important as what you eat.
It’s often tough to change your eating habits. Even if you have years of unhealthy eating habits, it is possible to take baby steps toward a healthy—heart diet.
So I ask, what will make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort for us to start on a healthier lifestyle? First let me say again, it’s not easy to change eating habits, but healthy eating is do-able and can be rewarding when you eat with your heart in mind. Let’s start with these simple steps:
1). If you smoke, do what you must to kick the habit.
Men who smoke had an 86% higher risk of heart failure and women have a 100% higher risk of heart failure according to Jennifer Warner of Web MD
2). Know these facts:
Do you have high blood pressure or diabetes? Why do I ask, well these two diseases increase the risk of heart failure.
3). Do you exercise regularly, even moderately?
Web MD study shows that men who regularly engage in moderate physical activity, like walking, had a 21% lower risk of heart failure. Women who also walked had a 13% lower risk of heart failure. The article concluded stating that even higher levels of exercise and physical activity reduced this risk of heart failure even more. 33% in men & 36% in women.
4). What you eat and how much you eat are really, really important.
Cut down on sugar and all of those sweets that seem to be everywhere. Keep away from fried, processed or canned foods. Lower your daily intake of sodium. Ideally a body needs less than 500mg of sodium per day to function properly, that is less than 1/4 teaspoon per day which is what an adult should consume each day and no more according to the American Heart Association. Sodium contributes to high blood
pressure, which puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease. Eating fresh foods and cooking from scratch by making your own soups and stews can reduce the amount of salt you consume. In fact, there really isn’t a need to add additional salt when you cook at all if you use fresh herbs and spices for flavor. Try not to depend on canned goods and/or packaged processed foods because these items have so much sodium in them. I know this is particularly almost impossible for those that frequent and depend on food pantries. However, canned goods can be diluted if you add more water and use less cans. I realize this is not always easy.
5). If you are overweight, use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions and don’t do seconds.
Instead increase your mealtimes to four times a day , starting with a small breakfast, lunch, late afternoon meal and an early dinner. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Use olive oil or canola oil. Add unsalted nuts, avocados, peas and lentils to your diet.
6). Your body needs fluids such as water. Yes, the recommended 8 (eight) glasses each day.
Try adding other liquids like green tea and pomegranate juice as additional possibilities. Try adding natural grated ginger in your tea and use honey instead of sugar for flavoring.
Remember to take baby steps, start with one of the steps mentioned here, because even practicing just one healthy lifestyle change, is enough to lower the risk of heart failure by up to 47% in women and 31% in men. This is only the second month into 2020, there is still time to start on helping yourself do better with your heart. Don’t let your heart fail. So all three: love, diet and exercis are equally important.
THE THREE R'S OF RESOLUTION
Let us take time to reflect on the last 12 months and accept what you may have not done as well as you could, accept things that can’t be changed and “chalk it up” to the past. Applaud those things you achieved and excelled at.
Resolve to do better in one area for the coming 12 months and stay focused on that area to improve on what must be improved.
Resolve to set a goal and to follow through with that goal.
Reward yourself daily, weekly, even monthly on the small baby steps that show improvement with some reward like a bar of dark chocolate, a pat on
your own back goes a long way, dinner out at your favorite restaurant, a glass of wine, take time out for a hot soak in a bubble bath. Whatever reward you choose, big or small, let yourself enjoy your achievement. The same day, not tomorrow or next week.
CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONE TIME A YEAR
It’s the time of year when everyone seems to overspend or spend what they don’t have. You can feel both the magic of the season and the stress in the air.
Over the years, I have developed a method that keeps the stress at bay and my pocketbook on budget. My method involves conscientiously returning to a simple old fashion Christmas. For years now, I have returned to my belief in the true meaning of the Christmas holidays that depict the birth of a baby born in a manger.
The simple gift of a new life, born in humble beginnings and the miracle of faith.
So, I bake my gifts to all family and friends. Yes, home made by me.
A simple recipe of butter shortbread cookies that I package in simple small carryout containers that I find in the craft section of a local big box store.
I splurge on a nice quality ribbon to wrap the boxes, not using any other ornamentation. The name tags, I buy cheaply at Everything $1.00.
For my home decorations, I very rarely use lights unless they are inside on the mantle but, I stop at a local big box hardware store and ask for an armful of free freshly cut tree evergreen trimmings, with which I make a really fragrant evergreen arrangement for my door.
The most I spend on everything is time, love and maybe all of $30 to $40 and that includes all of the ingredients for the cookies.
I do a variety of things for a Christmas tree but, I try not to buy a live tree unless I can replant it after the holiday celebration is over. So, even if the tree is small, I put multiple trees in containers to keep the watered in the heat of the house.
Be creative, it’s the only time we wish each other joy and enjoy the season of giving. Remember it’s not just what you do or how much you spend but, who we love. Our friends and family. Merry Christmas & hug those you care about. Enjoy your holidays!
It’s the Holiday Season and for many it’s an additional time for stress and extra expense that isn’t in the budget. How do you cook a healthy holiday meal for your family and friends when you depend on a food pantry for the majority of your food needs? Well, it takes a lot of faith and a little more preparation than our everyday food concerns call for. But, it is possible.
I purchase a turkey just before Thanksgiving when the local grocery store have them for sale at over half off the normal price. Since I buy a frozen turkey, it goes into the freezer right away. I take it out depending how many lbs. it weighs (anywhere from 7 to 5 days ahead), place it in a large pan, put it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and let it thaw. Depending on how I am going to cook it. I may put the entire turkey in a brine solution about 2 days before I prepare it for the oven. Now that I have my bird, when I next go to the food pantry, I collect can goods such as green beans, stock if I can find it, a bag of onions, a bag of baking potatoes or anything else that will assist in my holiday meal preparation. Sometimes the food pantry might offer a hen. I use this for making my own stock that I use to base the turkey as it cooks. I also go through my kitchen pantry and take inventory of what I have that can be used in preparing the meal. Once I get my Snap benefits, I use this source for everything that I don’t have just before I begin to cook my meal. Whether it’s fresh vegetables, butter or black pepper kernels. I also ask anyone invited to come over, to bring something. Maybe a particular dish like sweet potato casserole, bread rolls or drinks. Of course, there is usually something I can’t afford to do. So, I try to plan ahead which is easier said than done. Whatever you do, try not to get overwhelmed and remember what’s most important about the holiday. To be thankful and to speak your thanks to family and friends.
SOUL. FULL SOUTHERN
It’s a fact that millions of Americans struggle with food insecurity and here in my hometown of East Tennessee, I know that thousands struggle with putting food on their table.
I’m one of them. Disabled, over 60 years of age and living on an extremely limited monthly income. Thankfully, there are food pantries that have taken up the mission of feeding those in need and are standing strong to answer local community needs to feed those that struggle with food insecurity.
I started to frequent a local food pantry twice a week since the late spring of 2017, when I found that I was in my 60’s with zero income, no job and recovering from three major surgeries (all within a twelve month period).
Now, in 2019, 98% of my monthly food needs are supplemented by a food pantry, together with my monthly SNAP benefits of $40. No, there’s no shame. I actually consider myself blessed to have both resources. I have always considered myself a fortunate person because I have always been an optimistic soul.
Several of my past career endeavors involved work in the food industry and I profess to have dabbled in culinary training, owned a small café briefly and I have a keen interest in eating healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables always included in my diet. I read labels when I go shopping, try to include as few as possible processed items in what I consume and cook from scratch with no additional sodium added.
Don’t make a face, it really isn’t bad. I use fresh dry herbs that I dry myself & yes, the fresh 1 lb. herbs I get from the food pantry. I also use extra virgin olive oil, real butter and black pepper in most everything I cook. I steam almost all of my veggies and I have filet mignon only when I find it at the food pantry. It’s rare but, believe it or not it’s made available. I know, that’s amazing! Filet mignon at a food pantry, but its true (although I try to be as close to the front of the line as possible every day of the week it opens, which means getting there early). I have a great recipe for filet mignon that only takes about 5 minutes to prepare.
However, what about those who have not been aware of nutritional information such as the simple fact of consuming fiber, or eating 3 to 5 fruits and vegetables daily? How do you know you are getting enough nutrients in your daily diet? Suppose many of those in the food pantry line has no idea how to prepare simple nutritious meals every day of the week. Maybe they can’t because of health or mental problems. Maybe their kitchens don’t have sufficient pots, pans, dishes, or utensils.
What about the simple enough fact of not consuming enough “water” every day? Which I’m guilty of and must constantly make myself drink water.
Who advocates for the right that this specific demographic of those that frequent food pantries out of necessity, those that struggle with food insecurity. Who helps them or more like gives them a gentle nudge to make healthier choices in what they select as food choices and provide simple nutritional literacy that isn’t overwhelming.
That’s what Soul. Full Southern Nutritional Reads.org Is all about.
SFS Nutritional Reads.org is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit that advocates for the right to be informed, the need for nutritional literacy and we also support organizations that feed those who struggle with food insecurity.
Our mission is to create, publish and distribute as a community outreach program – cookbooks, pamphlets, brochures and other educationally nutritional resources (free of charge), to those that frequent Food Pantries.
Our purpose places special importance on nutritional literacy concerning lowering an individual’s everyday intake of both sugar and sodium, the inherent substances attributed to diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
In late spring 2020, SFS Nutritional Reads.org, will publish our 1st cookbook entitled “From Food Pantry to Table – Soul. Full Southern” distribution will initiate as early as May 2020.
Our hopes are to distribute 800 copies to 15 different Food Pantry locations throughout Knoxville – Knox County. We will attempt to distribute an additional 800 copies to another 15 Food Pantries in 2021.