About ten years ago, I cut way back on the amount of meat I was eating, from 3-4 times a week to 3-4 times a month. I wasn’t worried about my health. And I enjoy a good steak or roasted chicken as much as anyone. I stopped eating meat mostly because I felt guilty about it.
I had concerns about the treatment of the animals I was eating, the environmental impact of large scale livestock operations, the sustainability of it all. I tried to research which farms and brands were raising their animals humanely and responsibly but it ended up being easier just to order (or cook) vegetarian meals instead. Continue reading “Eating meat without feeling guilty”
This Thanksgiving, my grandmother had a lemon ginger tea from Bigelow, which had probiotics in it. I was surprised to see a dry tea that did not need refrigeration but still claimed to have probiotic properties. The tea was delicious. Even if the probiotic element might be questionable, would it be harmful to consume the tea anyway?
A. Probiotics are hot these days and adding some to your product is a sure way to increase sales. But does tea made from these tea bags contain any beneficial bacteria?
Actually, it does! Bigelow has selected a special strain of probiotic known as Bacillus coagulans. This particular strain is highly tolerant to heat as well as extremes in pH balance. As a result, it can survive both boiling water and stomach acid!
OK, so the bugs actually make it to your gut. But do they do anything for you once they get there? Possibly, yes.
Consuming bacillus coagulans on a daily basis may have positive effects on digestive function, including reduced gas and bloating after meals. (Ginger’s not bad at this, either.) The probiotics might also have modest anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties–although these have not been linked to any specific health outcomes such as a reduced risk of colds.
The tea is certainly safe to consume and the probiotics might add some modest benefits above and beyond the herbs. Enjoy it in good health!
“My family recently replaced our lowfat milk with pea milk. We’re trying to do our part for the environment and the advertising suggests that pea milk is much healthier than dairy. I’d love to know the health benefits and drawbacks of pea milk.”
If they come up with any more nondairy milk options, they’re going to need a second aisle for them at my grocery store!
One of the latest entrants into this category is a beverage made from yellow peas. Like soy milk, pea milk boasts more protein than most other nondairy milks. With 8 grams of protein per serving, it’s comparable to cow’s milk. Legumes such as soybeans and yellow peas a also a relatively complete source of protein, although not quite as complete as dairy. Continue reading “Pros and Cons of Pea Milk”
As the low FODMAP diet continues to gain popularity and credibility as a way to reduce the misery of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it was only a matter of time before low FODMAP products started showing up in the market place.
TrueSelf Foods recently sent me samples of their new line of low FODMAP snack bars to review. The bars come in 4 flavors and can be purchased on the company’s website. A box of six costs US$15.
The bars are oat-based, sweetened with brown rice syrup, and feature a variety of seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy), fruits (banana, blueberries) and spices (cinnamon, ginger, lemon, nutmeg). Also some quinoa, just for good measure. Continue reading “Product Review: TrueSelf Low FODMAP bars”
I recently received samples of two new grain-free tortillas from Texas-based Siete Foods–one made from almond flour and the other from cassava and coconut.
Tortillas that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, vegan (almond only), and Paleo-friendly will have obvious appeal to a wide range of “special needs” dieters. And these are quite tasty!
The ingredient lists are short and sweet and each tortilla tastes reassuringly of its namesake ingredients–the almond having a warm nutty flavor and the cassava/coconut tasting faintly of fresh coconut. Continue reading “Product Review: Siete Grain-free Tortillas”
I recently received a sample for review of a new sweetener from Italy called Dolcedi, made from organic apples. According to the manufacturer’s website:
“Dolcedì’ can be used any way you would use traditional table sugar or honey and in the same proportions; one teaspoon of sugar equals one teaspoon of Dolcedì’.”
It’s promoted as having a lower glycemic index than sugar–which it does. But the manufacturer also claims that it’s 25% lower in calories than sugar–which it is not.
When used as directed, Dolcedi actually provides 31% MORE calories than sugar.
Continue reading “New low glycemic sweetener is higher in calories than indicated”
In general, I’m not a big fan of diet books. Even the best ones tend to be larded with hype and gimmickry. Basic nutrition principles are embellished into elaborate metabolic wizardry. Simple guidelines are obscured by unnecessarily complicated schedules, lists, programs, and templates.
Otherwise, how would you fill 300 pages? Because the basic tenets of any decent dietary philosophy can be communicated in a few paragraphs. (Or as few as 7 words.)
But if you need a little more structure (and mythology) to get you motivated and keep you on track, the program outlined in David Ludwig’s new book Always Hungry is not a bad choice. Continue reading “Book Review: Always Hungry by David Ludwig”
The good folks at Tumeric (no, that’s not a typo; that’s how the brand is spelled) recently sent samples of their turmeric-based juice drinks and power shots for me to review. Knowing my interest in diet and inflammation, I guess they figured I’d be impressed by a product-line based on one of the most anti-inflammatory spices in the world. They were right!
The traditional Indian ingredient is being heavily researched as a potential preventive for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other inflammation-related conditions. And turmeric-based juices are a great new way to get more of this health-promoting spice into your diet.
The Tumeric brand elixirs offer a potent dose of fresh-pressed turmeric juice blended with traditional Indian herbs and spices. My favorite is the original elixir, a spicy combination of turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and cayenne (!), lightly sweetened with honey. A 12 ounce bottle contains 70 calories and 15g of sugar–about half the sugar of orange juice. The Golden Milk, made with turmeric, coconut cream, chia, and hemp milk, is more like a meal, with 270 calories, 11 g of protein, and 14 g of fat per bottle. (I’m not crazy about the taste of coconut cream, but if you are, this one is worth checking out.)
One advantage to the 3-oz, 70-calorie “PUREprana” shots is that they also feature black pepper, which enhances absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.
At $6 per 12-ounce bottle, this is definitely a premium product but one that’s unique, well-formulated and a nice addition to the category.