Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

There’s a popular saying that pregnant women should eat significantly more food because she’s eating for two people (three in the case of twins).  But more than just racking up the calories, it is equally or even more important to consider the types of foods consumed by pregnant women in different trimesters of pregnancy.

In the early onset of pregnancy, women usually suffer from morning sickness and cannot keep their food down.  Some also have peculiar food cravings and this should be taken into careful consideration when feeding the expectant mother.  It’s alright to give in to the cravings of foods even if they’re not very healthy but nutrition should be the most important factor overall throughout the nine months of pregnancy.  Simple healthy meals that aren’t overly flavored and greasy are recommended for those suffering from morning sickness.  Avoid too much junk and heavily processed food including any form of artificially sweetened drinks.

The food pyramid can still be observed but add more amounts of everything.  If possible, eat a variety of foods to ensure adequate nutrition for both mother and baby.  Depending on the weight of the mother and the stage of pregnancy, carbohydrates can range from six to 11 servings a day.  Focus on whole grain cereal and breads rather than white.  Fruits and vegetables have high levels of vitamins, minerals and fiber all of which are important.  Try to serve dark green leafy vegetables and an assortment of organic fruits daily and keep things delicious and fresh rather than processed.  Dairy products provide calcium and other minerals while meats ensure that protein requirements are accounted for. 

Most doctors prescribe a variety of supplements but ask any alternative health advocate, vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist and they’ll say that the correct amounts of the correct foods are enough.  Rather than fuss too much or get pressured about what to eat, it may be just better to go to the fresh produce section of the market and choose what’s in season. 

When considering all of these tips in listing down your grocery list, it is also important to avoid certain foods such as coffee, alcohol and some types of fish.  Even though these are high in omega 3 fatty acids, it is not worthwhile eating large amounts of deep sea fish such as swordfish and some types of mackerel as these usually have high levels of mercury that can cause birth defects.

Lastly, keep hydrated with pure refreshing water.  Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are good as well but not carbonated drinks that are just full of sugars, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives.


Sources Of Healthy Cholesterol

When a layman who is not exposed to information about health and nutrition in relation to food hears about cholesterol, most likely he’ll just face it with an indifferent shrug unless he’s among the millions of middle aged individuals who have been diagnosed as having high cholesterol levels.  The people who have to watch the foods they eat are quick to make judgment on what foods to avoid and what to eat more of.

A lot of these misconceptions are probably due to ignorance, lack of complete and accurate information, or misinterpretations of facts that come from so many sources–sometimes conflicting, oftentimes confusing.  Oftentimes, one wonders whether the information currently acceptable is 100% accurate.   In quite a number of cases, new research ends up disproving what was accepted as previously accepted as fact.

Unless one has adequate information, one is easily confused about medical information that leads to wrong or uninformed diet choices.  This is especially true with cholesterol as it can be perceived as having two faces–good and bad.

It is certainly easy to get confused with the distinction between good and bad cholesterol because discourses in this topic usually leads to very technical terms such as polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, LDL, HDL cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids which are enough to intimidate anyone.

When aiming for good health, look for healthy meals with high levels of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are called good fat as they help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.  Excellent sources of these include extra virgin olive, canola and peanut oil.  Substitute butter, lard and shortening with these healthier fats in recipes.

It is important to note that fats, regardless of the source is still a source of calories and should still be used in moderation and combined with other food groups such as fiber rich green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Instead of red meat, enjoy deep sea fish like salmon and anchovies more as these are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help raise HDL cholesterol and reduce overall cholesterol.   Rather than fry it and serve with rich creamy hollandaise sauce, opt for grilling it with a light drizzle of lemon instead.  Serve with brown rice and steamed vegetables and your all set!

Tips In Reducing Sugar Intake

Ask a good number of doctors, nutritionists and even alternative medicine practitioners and they most likely will have contradicting advice in many different ways to make people healthy.  One thing that they’ll agree though is that too much sugar is not a good thing.

There are many ways to cut down sugar intake aside from just avoiding sweets.  An important thing to consider is the glycemic index of foods especially for diabetics and those with elevated blood sugar levels who benefit from a low glycemic diet.  The challenge is that with so many processed goodsm, snacks, instant beverages with a lot of added sugar, it’s so easy to go over the recommended ten teaspoons per day.  Most sodas, candies, ice cream, easy desserts can already have that much sugar in a serving or two.

Without having to prepare low sugar foods at home, one can start lessening its intake by carefully reading and understanding food labels.  Note the amount of sugar as well as the portion size.  Though there are a lot of zero sugar food and drinks available, some health experts do not recommend artificially sweetened food because these are chemicals that can have potentially harmful effects in the long run.

This brings us to the topic of sweeteners that are low glycemic but natural and sometimes even organic.  Among the most popular natural sweeteners available are stevia, agave and yacon extract and coconut sugar.  These come from plant sources and have a much lower glycemic index that won’t make your blood sugar spike unlike refined white sugar.  Though raw and brown sugar, muscovado, molasses and honey have more nutrients, these are still high glycemic which should be used sparingly.

Coconut sugar is an ideal substitute for refined sugar because it’s versatile enough to be used in practically all applications.  It can be used for cooking and baking simply by making a one is to one substitution.  Do expect that the final product will not be as intensely sweet.  If the recipe calls for a lot of sugar, replacing with coconut sugar will color the final product shades darker and may also have the taste of coconut which can be a positive or negative depending on what you’re making.

Thought fruits have natural sugars, they’re high in fiber and nutrients and can form part of a good low sugar diet if eaten in moderation.  Combine these with green leafy and watery vegetables when you make your morning juice or smoothie for a change.

When buying fruits, go for fresh first rather than any form of processed versions like dried and canned product which may have added sugar, not to mention chemical preservatives.

It’s also wise to have an overall healthier lifestyle complemented with exercise.  Eat as much organic and natural foods instead of processed and you’ll be surprised that you’ll have more energy at the end of the day.

Hangover relieving foods

Hangover can ruin your entire day and render you useless so it’s good to know that there are certain kinds of healthy recipes and foods you can eat to help relieve it and get things done. Symptoms of hangover include aching muscles, headache, sensitivity to light, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, depression, and decreased motor skills. These are all caused by changes in the body’s chemistry and the processing of toxic chemicals in alcohol in the liver.

During a hangover, your body is depleted of minerals and nutrients that need to be replenished. The brain and body are also dehydrated. Alcohol pushes liquid out of the body and headaches from hangovers are often due to dehydration in the brain. Drink lots of water before going to bed to help prevent hangover. If you wake up with your head throbbing, the first thing you should grab and drink is water. Coconut water is also a powerful drink that is rich in electrolytes found in human blood. Brew yourself an herbal tea like ginger, turmeric, or mint tea, which reduce nausea and calms the senses.

Once you’ve replenished your body with water, it’s time to restock the body with essential fluids and nutrients including minerals, amino acids, vitamins and fructose, which will help your liver break down the toxins from the alcohol and lessen the symptoms of hangover.

Fruit juice or fresh fruits will speed up your recovery process and give you an instant boost of energy. Fruits also help increase your metabolism and help het rid of alcohol toxins faster. Potassium rich foods like bananas, kiwi, and spinach help replenish important electrolyte loss in drinking alcohol.

Eggs are rich in protein and amino acids like taurine, which boosts liver function and helps prevent liver disease, as well as cysteine, which breaks dow acetaldehyde, a chemical leftover after the liver breaks down ethanol and causes headache.

A hearty bowl of chicken soup, miso soup, or tomato soup helps soothe an aching body and makes you feel good. It also restocks the sodium and water lost in the process of drinking and processing alcohol.



Easy Appetizer and Dinner Recipes To Help Recovering Alcoholics

Alcohol withdrawal and alcohol craving are two different issues about one thing in common: alcohol. The latter is not experienced if the individual craving it has not had alcohol use experience, while the former is an individual who has had issues regarding excessive consumption of alcohol. Recovering alcoholics can either be avoiding or withdrawing from alcohol ingestion with determination, resorting to consuming nutritious foods, from easy appetizers to entrees, since food issues have to be put into context since in some conditions.

easy appetizers

Certain kinds of food can help with withdrawal from or avoidance of alcohol, as well as other lifestyle changes, dosage-based dietary supplements, and medical and therapeutic treatments which may be are needed. There has been research about some potential benefits of certain types of food consumed during the periods of alcohol withdrawal and avoidance. The focus has been on foods – appetizer recipes, dessert concoctions, smoothie preparations, main dishes, even snacks – which contain the family of vitamin B-complex, albeit the other major vitamins such as vitamins C, E, A, and D (in addition to the vitamin B-complex group) have also been show to play significant roles.

Substitution is an Option

Studies have shown that gradual reduction of sugar intake is able to lower alcohol cravings. Avoidance of sugar with more than the amount of ten grams per serving — especially the refined or processed variety in desserts, for example – as well as reduction of intake of sodas and beverage with sugar as the first main ingredient, as well as reduced intake of naturally “sugary” fruit juices and dried fruits.

The total elimination of sugars in one’s diet is, understandably, impossible to achieve, but reducing the consumption of foods with high sugar content is not difficult to do through substituting them with foods with decreased sugar amounts in them. Instead of having a snack of a Danish and an ice cream float, a vegetable soup recipe like minestrone would be the better choice for a mid-morning respite at work or in school.

Withdrawal from or Avoidance of Alcohol Results in Sugar Cravings

Sugar can have so much impact on regulation of the body’s blood sugar levels, and recovering alcoholics are sometimes not aware that they consume certain foods with hidden amounts of sugar in them. Research has shown that stabilized blood sugar levels reduce craving for alcohol. It may be difficult steering clear from foods that contain large doses of sugar but only at first. A slow but steady incorporation of foods high in nutrients but low in sugar can help the recovering alcohol to completely crave spirits.

Detoxification of a former alcoholic’s body begins with eating foods such as lean meats, fresh vegetables, limited amounts of grains (some of which are converted into starches and then become sugars), limited amount of fruit juices, selected varieties of fruits (mostly those which are not rich in sugar content), and no sweets whatsoever of any kind. Recovering alcoholics need more nutrition than those who have not had alcohol or its excesses in their physical systems. Alcohol quickly depletes a plethora of nutrients that the body stores, makes or obtains from other food sources, the reason why recovering alcoholics need to double time in replenishing the nutrients lost from years of excessive alcohol intake.

Snoring Solution through Food

There are certain health meals that may help you stop snoring. Before going to bed, drink or eat foods that help clear the mucus or nasal black that promotes snoring. Herbal teas like turmeric, ginger, oregano or mint help relax and clear the throat and nasal passage. Chamomile tea also helps relax the nerves and senses and may help decrease snoring. You can also eat hot soup before going to bed to clear away any phlegm and induce deep sleep.

Honey is also a good remedy for snoring. You can include it in your gourmet recipes, herbal tea or drink a spoonful of honey before going to bed. Honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help clean sores and heal wounds. Opera singers eat honey to relax the throat and reduce the crowding of the larynx.

Be aware of any food allergies that you may have. Food allergies cause congestion and inflammation that may constrict or block passageways in your nose and your mouth, which lead to snoring. Cow’s milk promotes snoring especially for those who are lactose-intolerant and also increases the production of mucus. Soymilk is a good alternative to cow’s milk.

Red meat is an inflammatory that is rich in saturated fat and can lead to the inflammation of arteries. Cut down on red meats and eat fish instead to see if this is what is causing you to snore. Avoid saturated fats and oils like butter, lard, or margarine. Stick with healthy oils like olive oil to prevent acid reflux that contribute to snoring. Olive oil is anti-inflammatory and decrease clogs in the arteries. Drinking olive oil before sleeping also helps decrease throat swelling.

Certain hot teas can help decrease congestion and the production of phlegm. Drink hot lea such as chamomile with lemon and honey to help decrease your likelihood of snoring. Green tea white honey and lemon may also help prevent snoring but drink in the afternoon or you may have a hard time sleeping. White tea and common black tea are also known to reduce snoring.

Positive Results Happen When Workers Are Treated To Free Comfort Meals

Providing workers free food may not be included in the employees’ manual but breaking bread together once or twice a month with workers can go a long way in nurturing work relationships and strengthen corporate unity. Food breaks cultural barriers and shared healthy meals are morale boosters and stress relievers for workers who might not consider a perk but will definitely count it as appreciation for all their hard work. Extend this appreciation to workers with a monthly treat of home-cooked meals or comfort foods.

A gesture such as this boosts the morale of employees and whether bosses admit it or not, satisfaction for workers doesn’t always mean the monetary kind. Thoughtfulness and concern count as well, and if a monthly food treat is on the agenda, productivity levels are raised because workers are encouraged and thanked in an unexpected manner such as this monthly food treat. It may not be as grandiose an array as the buffet served at Georges V in Paris, but believe it or not, simple comfort foods will go a long way with workers who appreciate being appreciated.

Have a theme every month on the kind of gourmet recipes that you will have. For instance, if a majority of workers are of Latin descent, serve dishes that are South American, Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican in origin. Some suggestions include: Fish Tacos with green bell peppers; Turkey Chimichangas with Black Beans and Jalapeños; Cheese and Mushroom Quesadillas; Roast Chicken with Pineapple and Mango Salsa; and Seafood Fajitas with Avocado, Papaya and Cucumbers.

Have a Polish buffet next month with homemade ravioli with low-fat Ricotta and fresh tomatoes, mushroom risotto; penne with tomato-pesto sauce; pasta Fazool made from red beans, tomatoes, green bell peppers, turkey sausages and three kinds of low-fat cheese such as Provolone, Parmesan and Fontina; and homemade gnocchi made with spinach, tomatoes, thyme and low-fat Ricotta. Dessert can be Mostaccioli (Italian cookies made of dark chocolate, rum and cinnamon, among other ingredients), diabetic-friendly Neopolitan honey balls and cannoli cake (the Italian version of the Christmas fruit cake but uses orange liqueur instead of rum).

Comfort foods remind us all of our homes, families, relatives and, in the case of immigrants, the old countries of our grandparents. A simple buffet of meatloaf, chicken dumplings, biscuits and gravy, corned beef and cabbage, green bean casserole, pot roast, pumpkin pie, banana pudding and almond coconut bars may not make it to the tables of the Waldorf-Astoria but they will be a hit with workers who would remember these homegrown meals from childhood, their adolescence or even from when they were first married and living with in-laws.

Meal times are moments of socialization and create productive connections between management and co-workers and between workers themselves. Because these times are informal in nature, there are generally more insights and ideas given and shared without apprehension of being censured. Giving employees occasional free food treats may not work for all companies, but those that do have discovered that their employee retention rate has increased and more workers generate an increase in productivity during actual working hours.