Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘honey’ tag

Eat Beef for B12

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Grass Fed BeefPlant foods get all the glory these days as we are challenged to stop eating burgers and choose highly processed meat substitutes. But human beings survive by eating other living things. We need to eat those foods that allow us to survive.

Beef is a significant source of Vitamin B 12 or cobalamin which is needed to form blood and immune cells. support a healthy nervous system and stimulate metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. A Yale University School of Medicine study by Solomon reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition June 2015 indicated cobalamin deficiency was common in the elderly and associated with neurocognitive abnormalities.

Another study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1990 by TUcker et al looked at the biochemical indices of nutrition in healthy people over 60 years old. They correlated the importance of B vitamins- including B12 – with neuropsychological function and concluded that nutrition is critical in the functioning health of the aging brain.

Beef is a far better source of B vitamins than grains or legumes, including fermented soy products. A 3oz serving of beef = 2.51 mcg B12 and 0.08 mg thiamine compared to 1 slice wheat germ bread at 0.02 mcg B12 and 0.1 mg thiamine * or 3 oz chicken at 0.25 mcg B12 and 0.06 mg thiamine (* enrichment with synthetic B vitamins by federal standards).

Grass-fed beef is more expensive because it comes from cattle that eat only grass and other forage foods through out their lives. Conventional beef is fed a diet of grains and other byproducts. USDA standards for grass fed animals require that they must have continuous access to pasture, hay or harvested forage after weaning.

Mayo Clinic outlines the advantages of grass fed beef as less fat, 50% more omega 3 fatty acids than conventional beef, 4 times more CLA or conjugated linoleic acid to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis and improve lean body mass. Grass fed beef is richer in antioxidants- Vitamins E, A. and C.

Critics of meat eating like to argue that cattle produce methane which contributes to environmental change. Methane emissions are substantially less when cattle are grass fed rather than conventional farming according to the University of Louisiana. Furthermore, the journal Global Change Biology reported animal grazing reduces the need for fertilizer and fuel used by farmers.

Cattle do produce methane but animals in factory farms produce more because they are fed poor quality forage which alters their digestive systems. Before we give up consuming beef, poor needs to be done to manage the higher levels of methane caused from natural gas and petroleum production. These sources of methane do not provide us with key nutrients for daily living.

The important nutrition message is that all eaters can lower their global footprint by following 3 simple rules: avoid processed foods and meat from factory farms, reduce food waste, and buy local in season foods.

Grass Fed Beef with Mango Salsa

1 1/2 to 2 pounds grass fed beef sirloin flap steak
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Saute Steak in covered skillet over medium heat until desired degree of doneness, 20 minutes for rare, 30 minutes for medium or 45 minutes for well done. Meanwhile, combine rest of ingredients in small bowl and let flavors blend. Salsa can be made ahead for more flavor blending. Makes 6 servings.

Calories per serving 236
Protein 24 g
Carbohydrates 9g
Fat 9g
Sodium 89 mcg

Written by PFAdmin

October 19th, 2015 at 2:50 pm


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BeetrootBeets are “the most under appreciated food in the history of eating “, according to Carolyn Pierini, a nutrition consultant at the A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine) meeting in Hollywood, FL last month. Beets have been used as a source of food for centuries because they can be grown most of the year in a wide variety of climates and have long storability.

Today beets are recognized as a super food and beet powder is an active ingredient in nutritional supplements. Beets are reported to have the ability to boost stamina, improve cognition and support heart health in Drs. Nathan Bryan and Janet Zand, The Nitric Oxide (NO) Solution. Several recipes included in the three day meal plan include beets for those wanting to exercise longer with less effort.

During the A4M conference I could also measure how many beet meals I needed by using saliva strips to indicate my nitric oxide levels. A lozenge made from beetroot, hawthorne berry and other botanicals did help increase the nitric oxide levels in my saliva from low to normal. But I decided that eating beetroot, arugula, spinach, kohlrabi, endive and parsley offered a more tasty way to enhance my NO factor.

Beetroot nitrate is the source of nitric oxide and it penetrates cell membranes sending signals to every cell in the body. Research demonstrates that NO gets blood flowing and makes platelets less sticky plus brain cells communicate better mood and neurological function. Studies reported in Hypertension indicated blood pressure was substantially reduced after drinking about 2 cups beetroot juice.

Nitric oxide has been the subject of over 130,000 published scientific papers since its discovery in the 1980’s by 3 scientists who were later awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998. NO is the master regulator of blood flow which affects every organ and tissue in the body.

A plant based diet of fruits and vegetables delivers more nitrates into the body which are converted to nitrite by bacteria. Beets are an amazing source of concentrated nitrate.

Beet benefits are also found in the compound betaine predominately from pigments in the beetroot. When beets are cooked in water, some loss of betaine results so roasting beets in the oven is a healthier way to save the nutritional benefits. Peeling and slicing them without cooking is popular with raw food advocates. This recipe can be a delightful salad whether it is made with cooked, roasted or raw beetroots.

Marinated Beets with Goat Cheese

4 small beetroots, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 ounces goat cheese

Thinly slice beetroots. Combine oil, vinegar and honey. Pour over beets. Marinate at least 1 hour or overnight. Place beet slices on serving plate. Top with thyme and goat cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Calories per serving 79
Protein 7g
Carbohydrates 10g
Fat   4g
Sodium 68 mcg

Written by PFAdmin

October 19th, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Chocolate Spicy Popcorn

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Chocolate Spicy PopcornCombine the famous US snack food and sweet brown powder from the cacao tree and you have the making of a healthier snack than you’ll find in the supermarket. Chocolate has become one of the most popular favors in the world and was used widely throughout the Mayan empire over 2000 years ago. It was not until the Spanish added sugar and milk that our current chocolate delights entered the culinary scene.

On a recent trip to the Savory Spice Shop, St. Petersburg FL. a college favorite snack flooded my memory as I picked up sacks of cocoa powder and a spice blend called Peruvian Chili Lime Seasoning. A college roommate was always on a diet and needed “something crunchy” to help her study. Popcorn was her best option for a low calorie snack.

Many people think popcorn is regular corn kernels but it is corn kernels with the starch extracted. The starch is used for cornstarch or laundry starch and the pith that remains can be used for packing material, explosives (fireworks) or popcorn snacks. The calories from popcorn snacks come from what is applied to the popped kernels.

Sweet corn and livestock feed corn contain up to 50% oil which contributes substantial calories. Corn products are also not a good nutrition addition to the diet since they are deficient in the amino acid lysine and B vitamin niacin. Today, some ornamental varieties of corn are grown with tiny red, white, yellow, purple and blue kernels. These ornamental varieties are offered as gourmet popcorn because the seeds dry well and can be stored for extended periods of time.

The Peruvian Chili Lime Seasoning can add a zesty taste to the Chocolate Spicy Popcorn. Chili and cumin powders complement each other to increase blood flow and improve bronchial congestion. Chili stimulates endorphins, kills pain and induces a sense of well-being. Adding grated dark chocolate to the snack mix adds calories but can be added at your discretion.

Marcona almonds from Spain are the best choice for a healthy snack because they are not pasteurized with hexane gas. Marcona almonds with rosemary, available at a local specialty market, are a favorite healthy snack. Almonds have about 150 calories per ounce (about 20 nuts) which is 60 % more calories from fat than protein.

Chocolate Spicy Popcorn

6 cups air popped corn (1/4 cup unpopped)
1/4 cup chopped Marcona almonds
1/2 cup dried No Sugar Cranberries or Cherries
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ounce grated dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon Peruvian Chile Lime Seasoning (optional)

Toss together popped corn, almonds and cranberries in lightly oiled 9 inch square baking pan. Combine honey, coconut oil, and cocoa powder in bowl or saucepan. Heat to blend. Pour over popcorn mixture. Toss to blend. Sprinkle on dark chocolate and seasoning mix. Makes 3 servings.

Calories per serving 185

Protein 1 g
Carbohydrates 22g
Fat 8 g
Sodium (no seasoning) 217mg (with seasoning) 467mg

Written by bwsl

March 3rd, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Good Luck Cake

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Good Luck CakeRing shaped cakes are a symbol of good luck especially around celebrations of a new year. The ring expresses the full circle of a year in some cultures while Asian cultures regard it as a symbol of eternity. Bundt cakes are a healthy addition for any celebration at time of the day.

The honey sweetened walnut apricot bundt cake can be made with organic whole wheat flour or organic brown rice flour. Both versions are seen in the photo (one with walnuts on top is made with rice flour).

A recent monthly news magazine presented a very biased article entitled “The Truth About Gluten”. The article stated that gluten-free offers no nutritional advantage “and may be less so”. As stated in my Living Gluten-Free book (Charles C. Thomas, 2008) a nutritional comparison of flours shows brown rice flour has significantly more Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid (B5), Magnesium and Manganese. Eating foods made with rice flour does not compromise nutrition.

Another issue alledged against gluten-free choices is extra cost. What consumers do not realize is the politics of the USDA food subsidy program that Congress passes annually in the Farm Bill. The US consumer pays twice for wheat products- the price at the supermarket is less than gluten-free products because they have already paid a subsidy that allows overproduction and low cost wheat prices.

Gluten-free does not produce weight loss if you over-indulge. Portion control and healthy lifestyle habits make for better weight management than changing from wheat to rice flour. But gluten-free can improve gut health for those with gastro-intestinal issues. Over seventy percent of your immune system resides in the Peyers Patches of the small intestine so less sugar and healthy fats + easy to digest rice protein can mean better digestion and increased energy.

So if you are afraid of using rice flour in your bundt cake because of arsenic, chose organic. California rice used by organic producers has significantly lower inorganic arsenic than Texas rice. Processed rice dishes are usually made with rice from India and Pakistan so cooking California Basmati rice is the best choice. Coconut flour can be used as a substitute if brown rice flour is not available.

One nutritional pearl to remember is that all grains contain some gluten. In the US, a food can contain up to 25 ppm and still be called gluten-free. Some people with gluten sensitivity need strict adherence to gluten-free food choices- wild rice and brown rice. For them, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa and teff may state gluten-free but they can only be tolerated in small quantities, if at all.

The truth about whole grains and gluten does not make for sexy reading but consumers have a right to know what influences what they are eating. Enjoy this symbolic cake with whatever flour you chose.

Walnut Apricot Bundt Cake

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
3 cups whole grain flour (wheat or rice)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup coconut “milk” beverage
1/2 cup unsalted soft butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour boiling water over apricot pieces in small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in bowl. Stir to blend. Beat together eggs, coconut beverage, butter, honey and vanilla until mixture looks like scrambled eggs. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Add apricots and water. Beat well. Pour into lightly oiled and floured bundt pan. Bake in 350 degree oven 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes on rack. Invert pan and cool before slicing. Makes 16 servings.

Calories per serving 124
Protein 3g
Carbohydrates 23g
Fat 4g

Written by bwsl

January 6th, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

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Spicy Sweet Potato FriesMore than 11 million Americans suffer from some form of macular degeneration, a serious eye condition that can lead to significant vision loss and even blindness. The recent Journal of Clinical Investigation indicated that it is the most common source of central vision loss in North America.

While good nutrition is no guarantee of avoiding macular degeneration, who wouldn’t want to try? Especially if preserving eye health is as delicious as eating more sweet potatoes, a tuber that originated in South and Central America. The carotenoids in sweet potatoes — lutein and zeaxanthin — absorb damaging blue and ultraviolet light, which can damage the macula of the eye. Sweet potatoes and other deep-orange foods also have oxygen-carrying carotenoids, which also are key to eye health.

The cause of macular degeneration is unknown but aging is definitely a factor. Lifestyle factors also matter: Smokers and those exposed to second hand smoke are at greater risk. Those consuming a high sugar or high glycemic diet (doughnuts, cookies, cakes, high fructose corn sweeteners) were shown to have increased incidence of the disease, according to a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Nutritionists have known for years that simple sugars damage proteins in cells and affect their function. Combine that with damaging sun rays and vision loss too often is the result.

An eye exam can identify if yellow spots on the retina called drusen, an early sign of the condition, are beginning to form. But why wait for trouble to begin? Get your health in order, and you may avoid this and other serious conditions entirely.

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

1 pound sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds or 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons honey

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into long sticks about 1/4 inch thick. Toss potatoes in oil to coat. Bake on sheet pan until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine paprika, salt, cumin and coriander in blender or mortar and pestle. Grind fine. Remove fries from oven. Sprinkle seasoning over fries and bake 5 more minutes. Drizzle on honey just before serving. Makes 2 servings.

Calories per serving: 178; Protein 3g; Carbohydrates 22g; Fat 9g; Sodium 389mg.

Written by bwsl

December 24th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Pumpkin & Eye Health

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Pumpkin Banana MuffinsDon’t throw that Halloween pumpkin away! It could help improve your eyesight better than the carrots your mother told you to eat. As we age our eyesight begins to diminish and carotenoids from orange and green foods become more important.

Research suggests that oxidative damage on eye lens leads to cataract formation- one of the leading causes of age-related blindness in the U.S. A cataract is the process of clouding in the lens caused from free radicals. Carotenoids reduce free radicals within the eye and body.

While most canned pumpkin is really winter squash (pumpkins are in the squash family), it still contains lutein and zeaxanthin for macular eye health. I recently watched how the macular carotenoids were calculated in foods and dietary supplements. The darker green and deeper orange foods were the best foods to support eye health. Trace amounts of these carotenoids were even found in 21 samples of fish, shrimp and sea turtles. Eggs from chickens fed marigold flowers, oranges and peaches even showed levels of zeaxanthin, a carontenoid speciifically evaluated for macular degeneration protection.

A daily intake of 6 mg lutein/zeaxanthin is recommended to provide cataract and macular degeneration benefit. This equals 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin/winter squash or 1 cup cooked kale/spinach or broccoli daily.

Enjoying fresh cooked or canned pumpkin year round in tasty nutritious recipes like Pumpkin Banana Muffins is a great way to maintain eye health. The recipe is features whole grains and hemp hearts, the most nutrient packed gluten-free grain grown for centuries. Don’t risk eye health problems like glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy by using convenience foods loaded with sugar and unknown vegetable oils. Fresh homemade foods are better!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup hemp hearts or hemp flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 ripe small bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pan with muffin cups. Combine flour, hemp hearts, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves in mixing bowl. Beat together pumpkin, bananas, honey, eggs and oil. Pour into center of flour mixture. Stir until blended. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with chopped nuts. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool or serve hot. Makes 12.

Calories per muffin 265
Protein 5 g
Carbohydrates 24g
Fat 11g
Sodium 189 mg

Written by bwsl

December 24th, 2014 at 7:32 pm