The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Food

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Dear Holly: Why do you care about bikes so much? -Four Wheel Drive

 

Dear Four Wheel Drive- Nutrition is one big piece in the overall puzzle of health and wellness. Exercise, including riding bikes, helps to achieve good overall fitness. Being fit improves many health variables: our ability to handle stress, our sleeping patterns, eating habits and various hormone levels. Biking, health and nutrition are related!

 

I grew up in Oxford, and shared similar views on bikes to many midwestern folks – bikes are something kids ride, albeit decreasingly, and something crazy spandex-clad folks do on the weekends.

 

Living in Washington DC for three years, traveling around the world and completing the Climate Ride, a bike trek from New York City to Washington DC, have significantly altered my biking views. In DC, I did not own a car. I purchased a hybrid bicycle to bridge the gaps in public transportation and in the process, fell back in love with a favorite, forgotten childhood activity. I enjoyed having a chance to build physical activity in my day, to know that I am burning calories instead of fossil fuel. Usually I felt refreshed when I got to work, instead of frazzled by traffic jams. Plus, I was saving money by not using the trains and buses or by having a car.

 

Traveling in Europe opened my eyes to a completely different view on bicycles. There, bikes are an integral part of day to day life. Many people commute via bicycle and the crowded bike racks prove it! There is less anxiety about cars and bikes co-existing because it is a normal part of life. I was amazed in Germany that there were roads for bikes, separate lanes for bicycles and sidewalks for pedestrians. Sweden has even built a bike highway!

 

Like making changes in nutrition, the common flaw in thinking is that is has to be all or nothing; either you ride your bike for every trip or it doesn’t matter. Not true – anytime that you choose two wheels over four you are lowering your impact on the environment and improving your fitness.

 

Research that looks at obesity risk and transportation tends to find that folks who to drive to work will weigh more than those who walk or bike to work. For all of the folks who live and work in town, biking or walking to work is a great opportunity to stay slim and avoid the parking headaches (and possible tickets).

 

Exercise benefits not only your cardiovascular fitness, it also improves brain function. Adults who exercise tend to have better problem solving skills, better memory and a physically larger and more connected brain. Kids benefit too; those who cycle or walk to school demonstrate a measurable increase in concentration that lasts for up to four hours. Exercise may have a larger impact than breakfast!

 

Exercise, mood and eating patterns are tightly related. Regular exercise helps to curb cortisol and adrenaline – hormones that can be linked to poor eating habits. Regular exercise can promote mood boosting chemicals to lower anxiety and improve depression symptoms. Regular exercise can even help you to sleep better, which is the foundation for being healthy during the waking hours.

 

Check out your local bike shop for group rides, classes for learning to bike safely on the road and how to maintain your bicycle. The BikeWise Oxford offers group bike rides on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Connect with the Bikeable Oxford! on facebook and the Oxford Visitors Bureau to learn about building more bike lanes and paths in and around the city.

 

Safety first; ensure that your bike is in good working order, has proper lighting and reflectors so that you can see and be seen. Stay alert and wear your helmet!

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly: What are starchy vegetables? Should I avoid them? -Spuds

 

Dear Spuds: Starchy vegetables have their name because they are a rich source of carbohydrate. They include potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn and dried beans. Our body needs carbohydrates for fuel, but many of us go overboard with carbs and so our meals are out of balance; more carbs relative to proteins and fats, and likely too many calories overall.

 

Ideally, a meal would have a moderate amount of carbohydrates, some protein and heart-healthy fats and a whole bunch of non-starchy veggies and perhaps some fruit.

 

Starchy vegetables are not better or worse than their non-starchy peers, they’re simply different. Potatoes are probably the veggies with the worst reputation of the bunch, but that stems from their common prep in a deep fryer more than their original nutrient content. Clients often tell me that corn is their favorite vegetable. I too enjoy sweet corn, but if that starchy vegetable is a side dish on the menu, I am going to pair it with broccoli or some other lower calorie veggie.

 

Beans are a very healthy food that we could stand to include more often. In addition to their complex carbohydrate content, beans also are a very rich source of fiber and protein.

 

The most important thing to know about starchy veggies is their proper portion. To estimate how big of a portion of carbohydrate-rich foods is best for you at your meals, make a fist and set it on your usual plate; that is the max for all carb-heavy foods – spaghetti, rolls, rice or those starchy veggies including corn, peas, potatoes and beans.

 

If you can’t get enough mashed potatoes, rice or spaghetti, there are some tricks to enjoying these kinds of foods while maintaining a healthy balance. You can “dilute” mashed potatoes by adding steamed cauliflower which you mash – it tastes the same and cuts the calories. You can also use a food processor to cut cauliflower into tiny pieces as a substitute for rice for a fraction of the calories. When roasting potatoes, add lower-calorie peppers, onions, eggplant and mushrooms to the roasting tray.

 

I love using cooked spaghetti squash or julienned zucchini in place of pasta. You can use a julienne peeler to tame a pile of zucchini into delicate pasta threads – a healthier alternative to another loaf of zucchini bread. I even grill planks of zucchini and use them as a flavorful (and gluten free) alternative to lasagna noodles.

 

A balanced meal is a healthy meal! Starchy veggies are part of healthy eating, as long as the portion is not too large, and you also include non-starchy veggies too!

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly: What is BMI? -Body Mass What?

 

Dear Body Mass What: If you’ve been to a health screening lately or had an annual physical with your doctor, you may have heard the term BMI. What is it exactly, and what should yours be?

 

BMI stand for Body Mass Index and is one tool to assess your health. It is a measure of how much body weight you have relative to your height. Healthy range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. It is simple and inexpensive to measure and is great for looking at large groups of people, like scientists do for research projects. Like any tool, BMI has pros and cons; it is not perfect. However, BMI is pretty accurate for most, especially for those who are sedentary.

 

One flaw is that BMI looks only at total weight, not type of weight. There is no distinction between fat or muscle. For this reason, your average athlete with a high amount of muscle tissue may register falsely as “overweight” according to their BMI. For those who are have a lot of muscle on their frame, they are healthy, even if their weight may be higher than a more sedentary person.

 

BMI is not appropriate to use during pregnancy. A pregnant woman will register as “overweight” because of the baby on board. We can use BMI to gauge how much weight would be healthy to gain during pregnancy. If a woman is overweight prior to becoming pregnant, it would be healthier for her to gain less weight than a woman who is normal weight.

 

To check your own BMI, look online for a free BMI calculator, or download a free app to do the math for you. I use a BMI calculator on my phone when working with clients.

 

What about kids? You can also assess their weight for their height using BMI, but the guidelines are dependent on their age and gender. The CDC has a BMI calculator for kids. Kids are growing, and a healthy weight depends on where they are on their growth continuum. A healthy toddler has chubby thighs and cheeks while a healthy 4-6 year old is quite lean.

 

One other simple tool that complements BMI is measuring your waist as well as a waist to hip ratio. Lean, healthy folks have a small waist. For men, we are aiming for less than 40 inches, ladies less than 35. For the ratio of waist circumference divided by hip circumference, men are striving for less than 1 and women less than 0.8. As one pound of muscle tissue is more compact than fat tissue, those with more of their weight coming from muscle will have a more compact frame.

 

Tip: pay attention to how your pants and belts are fitting. If you gain 5 pounds of fat and lose five pounds of muscle, the scale will not have budged an ounce, but your pants will be tighter. Conversely, if you improve your fitness, gain muscle and lose fat, don’t get frustrated if the scale isn’t budging, you are still a healthier person, as evidenced by your leaner, tighter frame.

 

BMI is just one tool to assess health. When doing a health assessment for yourself, also consider your waist circumference, your weight, your eating habits, what your usual beverages are, your stress level, your fitness level and usual hours per night of sleep. No single tool will perfectly assess health, but it can add dimension to the overall picture.

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly – My doctor is talking about the DASH diet for me. What is it? – Salty

 

Dear Salty: The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is an eating plan that helps to manage high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, abbreviated HTN.

 

Your blood pressure is a dynamic, changing number. The top number is called systolic and the bottom is called diastolic. The systolic is the measured pressure in your vessels when the heart is contracting and the bottom is the pressure when the heart is (briefly) relaxed. We measure blood pressure using a cuff called a sphygmomanometer (say that three times fast!).

 

The goal is to be below 120/80. If the top number rises above 120 consistently, that is considered pre-hypertension. If it rises above 140 consistently, that is considered hypertension. Unfortunately, there is not that much wiggle room between kind of high and too high. Above 80 but below 90 for the diastolic is pre-HTN, above 90 is HTN.

 

Throughout the day, your physical activity, hydration, stress and other factors influence where your blood pressure is. Being ill, having an injury or taking certain medications can also influence your readings. Some people have genes that make them more vulnerable to HTN. We also tend to see our blood pressure rise with age. Some of these factors can be modified – we are stuck with our genes and age.

 

The DASH plan is one way to influence your numbers! It is based on sound research; it is not a fad diet or quick fix! The plan helps to control calories and portions to manage having a healthy weight; which is one other factor influencing blood pressure.

 

What does the eating plan look like? Loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetable oils and beans. The eating plan minimizes red meat, sweets, refined carbohydrates, and sodium. Several minerals influence blood pressure. On average, Americans are consuming too much sodium (salt) and insufficient potassium, magnesium and calcium. The DASH diet reverses that ratio and therefore improves blood pressure.

 

HTN is considered a “silent killer” because most people do not have any symptoms of their high blood pressure. When you actually feel the high blood pressure may not be until you’re having a stroke or aneurysm! The DASH diet can also improve weight, blood lipid values and blood sugar. If you are ready to take charge of your blood pressure, an appointment with your local dietitian and the DASH diet can help support your goals!

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly: Any tips for staying hydrated in this heat? -Parched

 

Dear Parched: It is really easy to get behind on your water intake in the heat of the summer. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable to dehydration. Kids, because they have a lot of surface area relative to their body size, and older adults because their thirst mechanism declines with age. This means that it takes longer for them to feel thirsty.

 

How do you know if you are dehydrated? Monitor color of your urine. Light colored urine indicates proper hydration. This is much more accurate than counting glasses or ounces of water as your hydration needs vary day to day with variations in exercise, temperature, foods consumed and more.

 

The first step to preventing dehydration is to not wait until you are feeling thirsty. Our thirst mechanism is not very sensitive at any age, and declines with each passing decade.

 

Drink your preferred temperature. If you like hot drinks year round, keep your kettle going and enjoy hot water, hot water with lemon and a variety of teas. If you prefer arctic drinks, keep your ice maker running, a pitcher of water in the fridge, freeze fruit for flavor and chill your water then drink with a straw.

 

Use your technology. Set a reminder on your phone. Use tracking software to monitor beverage intake or use the free Daily Water app to keep tabs. Using the app you can set alarms to remind you to drink water.

 

Or skip technology: purchase an AquaTally cup, a great tool that uses two silicone bands around a cup with a lid and straw to track progress throughout the day. This cup is especially useful for older adults. Dehydration is a common reason to for an ER visit in this group; they may be dealing with early dementia and forget to drink water or may be taking a medication that suppresses their thirst. It is also useful to monitor maximum water intake for those with a fluid restriction.

 

Eat an abundance of fruits and veggies – they’re excellent for your health and loaded with water. Have fruits and vegetables with each meal and snack. Smoothies and soups are a great hydration choice too, if you find recipes that are not loaded with added sugars or fat. You can even make popsicles with juice, yogurt or coffee.

 

Keep reusable bottle with you. Skip bottled water: it isn’t better than tap, costs more money and creates too much trash.

 

Be mindful while traveling. We are not focusing on water as much on the move. Also, the desert air on planes sucks the water right out of you! Make goals – “I’ll drink this big bottle of water each day before lunch.” Track them and monitor progress. Give yourself a small, non-food reward for complying with your goals. Bottoms up!

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

 

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Dear Holly – Any tips for eating well while on the road? – Big Wheels

 

Dear Big Wheels – Many of us are tackling road trips to reach business destinations or to enjoy some vacation, so eating well on the road is a great topic to discuss this week!

 

While it is quite simple to stop at the nearest drive-through, you will save money and extra calories if you do a bit of planning ahead and pack a cooler.

 

The most important part is to stay hydrated. If you are trying to be a road warrior and avoid pit stops at any cost, you may quickly become dehydrated. How to know? Check the color of your urine next time you visit the loo. Light to clear urine indicates adequate hydration, yellow means you need to drink more. I pack a giant reusable water bottle to conserve my hydration status, the environment and my wallet. Triple win!

 

Iced coffee packs quite well. Brew coffee using your usual amount of coffee grounds but half your normal water amount. Add ice et voila: iced-coffee! Sweeten and add milk as you wish. I sometimes add vanilla extract or cinnamon powder.

 

Cut-up fruits and vegetables are easy to munch on, won’t get the car seats greasy and take a while to chew through. Perfect for the car! My favorites are apple slices, strawberries and melon. I usually pack fruit in a reusable container and include a fork so my hands don’t get sticky. My favorite veggies are cucumber slices, sweet bell pepper slices, pea pods and carrot sticks.

 

PB sandwiches are way less expensive than burgers, have more nutrition to offer and are easy to make. Mix it up by using a whole-wheat tortilla and you don’t have to worry about the bread getting squished.

 

Peeled hard boiled eggs are an easy source of protein. Cook the eggs, cool, peel and rinse off. Dry the eggs and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Trail mix can be a great choice, but be wary of calories quickly accumulating. Dried fruit and nuts are very healthy foods, but their healthy portion is quite small. Other candy add-ins are still candy, even if a part of a mix.

 

I love to use my air popper to pop popcorn. The appliance is inexpensive and the corn kernels are too. If you skip the butter, you taste the actual taste of the corn, which is a bit nutty. Who knew? And if you skip the fats for the car trip, you’ll save your car from greasy hand prints.

 

Focus on games for entertainment instead of food. Long car trips can wear on the best of us, so be sure to pack audio books, podcasts and a good playlist for the driver, and games for any passengers.

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly: How can I save money at the grocery store and still eat well? -Healthy Budget

 

Dear Healthy Budget: Go to the grocery store with a list and a full stomach. The list is your game plan to focus your purchases on what you really need for the week and nothing more. Going hungry will only lead to splurges.

 

Only use coupons for foods that you would have bought anyway. I find that too often coupons are for junky things that aren’t helping to promote health at home.

 

Buy ingredients, not prepared foods. The closer something is to being ready to eat, the more likely it is going to cost more. A whole chicken costs less per pound than boneless chicken breasts and those cost less than chicken sausages or chicken nuggets.

 

Enjoy meatless meals more often. Beans and rice is a nutrition powerhouse and costs pennies per person. Stretch meals with meat by adding beans.

 

Compare prices. Sometimes the store brand is less expensive, sometime not. It is important to compare prices per unit. Check out the shelf tags to find price per ounce, pound or container. This makes it easier to know which purchase is the better deal.

 

Buy frozen fruits and veggies. They are just as nutritious as fresh, aren’t going to quickly wilt in your fridge (minimizing waste) and usually cost less per pound than fresh.

 

See if your produce section has a marked down section. I often find great deals on less-than-perfect produce that is still excellent to eat. I am happy to eat an apple with a dent in it if I save 75% on the price. (I’m looking at you, honeycrisp!)

 

Consider canned. Canned fruits and vegetables have a bad reputation because of their sodium content. While many canned veggies remain high in salt, more often a low-sodium or no added salt option is available. When buying canned fruit, look for those packed in juice instead of syrup. Canned beans, tuna, sardines and tomatoes are staples in my cabinet.

 

Check out the bulk section. Many times, there are savings to be had on grains, beans, nuts and spices. Buying in bulk also gives you the flexibility to buy exactly what you plan to use and nothing more.

 

Grow your own. If you have never gardened before, start with some herbs. Old milk containers make great pots and seeds are inexpensive. If you already have a garden – expand it!

 

Skip the drinks. With the exception of milk, there is no requirement for any other drink beyond water. Tap water is basically free and just as good (or better) than bottled water. If you like it cold, put a pitcher in the fridge.

 

Minimize waste. As a nation, we waste an abhorrent amount of food. From leaving less-than-perfect produce in the field, to spoiled food in the grocery store, or our own fridge, or wasting food at a restaurant, we are throwing away way too much food. Going to the grocery store with a plan helps to focus our purchases. Plan for all uses of a purchase. For example roast a whole chicken for dinner one night and plan to make chicken soup with the bones and chicken salad with the leftover meat.

 

Keep your fridge and cupboards organized and clean so that you can keep better track of the foods on hand before purchasing more. And when you do have food go bad, composting or feeding to your animals gives that food new life, even if it is not on your own plate.

 

And finally, eat less: as a nation with an obesity epidemic, many of us can benefit from smaller portions.

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly: Is cauliflower healthy? -Trendy Tastes

 

Dear Trendy Tastes: Cauliflower is quite the trendy vegetable this year (kale is so last season). It would be easy to assume that this bland looking vegetable has little nutrition to offer, but you would be mistaken!

 

1 cup of cauliflower provides only 25 calories, but packs in 2 grams of fiber, most of the vitamin C you need in a day, as well as a decent amount of folate, potassium and vitamins K and B6.

 

Like most fruits and vegetables, raw cauliflower is almost all water, 92%. This contributes to overall hydration status.

 

Cauliflower has several varieties. At my local grocery store, I can buy the usual white variety, as well as pale green, purple and orange. Their nutritional benefits are basically the same except for the compounds that give them their striking color. The purple variety gets its color from anthocyanins – the same cancer preventing compound that gives blueberries their color. If you’re cooking for a crowd, buy more than one color of cauliflower and roast them together. They look really beautiful and taste great!

 

In efforts to minimize food waste, I like that cauliflower stays good in fridge for a long time.

 

There are many ways to enjoy cauliflower beyond simple steaming. Raw cauliflower florets are great in dip, roasted florets, pickled or in soup. You can also use mashed cauliflower to make a low-calorie pizza crust, as a substitute for mashed potatoes. You can even finely mince cauliflower as a substitute for rice. At a restaurant recently, I enjoyed a braised cauliflower “steak” with a little drizzle of a creamy sauce. Delicious!

 

As an alternative to crunchy and salty chips or pretzels, give this pickled cauliflower recipe a try! If you’re not a huge fan of lemon flavor, skip the lemon in this recipe.

 

Lemony Pickled Cauliflower
Recipe by Marisa McClellan of FoodinJars.com
Ingredients:
– 2 pounds cauliflower
– 1 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1 cup water
– 2 teaspoons sea salt
– 1 small lemon, sliced
– 1 large garlic clove, sliced
– ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
– ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Directions
– Wash cauliflower and break it into florets.
– In a large saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, water and sea salt.
– Bring to a boil.
– Place two slices of lemon in the bottom of a quart jar and top with garlic clove slices, crushed red pepper flakes and peppercorns. Set aside.
– When brine is boiling, add cauliflower to the pot. Stir until the brine returns to a boil and remove from heat.
– Using tongs, pack cauliflower into the prepared jar and top with brine. – Place two to three slices of lemon on top of the cauliflower and put a lid on the jar.
– Let pickles sit out on counter until cool. Once they’ve reached room temperature, refrigerate jar. Pickles are ready to eat within 12 hours, though they will continue to deepen in flavor the longer the rest.

 

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Dear Holly: Is coffee healthy? -Java Jive

Dear Java Jive: I am a huge fan of coffee. I have worked in two coffee shops and appreciate a pot or french press of freshly ground beans on a daily basis. Plain coffee, or with a bit of cream and sugar can have several health benefits. I find, though, when working with clients, the word “coffee” can mean different things to different folks.

 

Some clients say coffee when they mean a high-sugar, high-calorie, whipped cream decadence-in-a cup. As I have discussed before, an occasional treat is an appropriate part of living a balanced healthy live. But having a high-calorie, coffee-flavored dessert is a different category entirely from a cuppa joe.

 

A plain mug of coffee is only going to set you back about 5 calories. The level of caffeine depends on the type and roast of bean and how strong you brew your coffee. It is common to estimate 100mg of caffeine per 8oz mug of coffee, but in practice, it can contain a wide range from 70-360mg of caffeine.

 

Contrary to rumor, a shot of espresso has less caffeine than an 8oz cup of coffee. Each shot of espresso usually has about 50-65 mg of caffeine. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are your body’s ninjas on a cellular level. Antioxidants are found in plants, giving them color, flavor and aroma. From the compound that gives chili peppers their heat to the compound that makes turmeric yellow, antioxidants do your body good.

 

Some, but not all, studies have found an inverse relationship with coffee intake and type 2 diabetes. This means that with greater coffee intake, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases. It seems that there may be greater protection from diabetes with greater daily doses. Decaffeinated coffee does not appear to have this benefit

 

Some caffeine prior to physical activity may improve performance and lower pain perception, but individual responses to caffeine vary. Experiment with caffeine during practices, not during your big game or event.

 

The use of caffeine during pregnancy is controversial. However, moderate consumption, less than 200 mg/day, has not been associated with clinically important adverse fetal effects. Greater than 200mg/day carries an increased risk of miscarriage.

 

What about coffee for kids? The adverse effects typically associated with caffeine-containing coffee are usually more severe in children than adults. Keep coffee for the grown ups.

 

Most of the research is observational, meaning the scientists assess trends in consumption and trends in health, and look for relationships between the two. There is no placebo controlled trial. Another factor is that when asking about intake, “one cup” means a different number of ounces to different folks. A grande sized coffee at Starbucks is 16 ounces, when most researches are asking about 8 ounce increments.

 

So is it healthy? Maybe. Coffee can fit into a healthy eating plan in reasonable doses for most folks. Take caution with kids, pregnant ladies or folks with high blood pressure. And make sure you are choosing coffee most of the time and reserving those coffee-desserts as a rare treat.

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!

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Dear Holly: Are beans really healthy? – Musical Fruit

 

Dear Musical Fruit: In honor of Eat Beans Day on July 3rd, I would love to take the opportunity to praise the humble bean.

 

Dried beans, such as lentils, black beans, garbanzos and kidney beans are incredible choices. They are a sustainable choice for protein, are inexpensive, store well (thus reducing food waste), are gluten free and vegetarian and can be prepared 100’s of ways.

 

For the critics who claim not to like beans, try them in a new recipe. They can be tossed into your favorite chili recipe, pureed into a delicious hummus, stuffed into a burrito or even snuck into brownies. Beans belong on our plates!

 

Beans are also a great way to stretch your favorite soup, stew or casserole. For those of you considering the environment with your food choices, reducing meat, especially that coming from grain-fed animals is wise. Complementing your other protein choices with beans is great for your wallet and your budget. So weather you are a vegetarian, a flexitarian or simply participating in Meatless Monday, beans make a great foundation to any meal.

 

The USDA recommends we eat 3 cups of beans per week. One half cup of cooked beans provides a lean source of 7 grams of protein and a whopping 7 grams of fiber. It is also an excellent source of minerals from iron and manganese to magnesium and copper. Lastly, beans offer much of the folate we need daily in a single serving.

 

The fastest way to eat beans is to open a can. Starting with dried beans takes a bit more time. Lentils are the fastest to cook, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes depending on size. Soaking beans overnight is not required, but it does decrease the fuel and time required for cooking.

 

You can even cook extra beans and freeze for later. Just be sure to mark the container with the date and plan to use within 3 months.

 

And as for the “musical” nature of beans? Incorporate beans into your usual menu rotation slowly. Rinse canned beans well. If you do soak your beans, use fresh water for the cooking time.

 

Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.

 

What’s your question for Holly? Send them to info@hollylarsonrd.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!