Colorful Kid’s Snack

Colorful layers

Before we move onto sugar alcohols and non-nutritive sweeteners, I thought I would give you a chance to read labels for “added sugars,” over the weekend and end this week with a little story about what my children were fed for a fun snack when they were 2-5 years old.

First of all, kids like to eat out of “adult like” dishes. They don’t always like the “kid’s stuff”. I had some parfait cups from Tupperware and would layer frozen peas and frozen corn in 3 layers and let them eat the frozen vegetable “parfaits” while watching cartoons at 3:30. The colors were attractive to children and the taste was sweet. I would begin cooking dinner at this time. Peas and corn contain starchy carbs, fiber and phytochemicals. Some people think corn does not have any “nutrition worth”, but I ask you to think it over. The yellow color of the corn has many phytochemicals not found in other colors of fruits and vegetables. I believe all food has some worth and it is always the balance and portion that is important.

Have a great weekend and remember to read food labels, stick to your new house rules, try some new foods in new ways and be thankful for your food.

The ION’s: 3 categories of food

Today is Thursday, May 28th

The Topic or Question of the day

The ION’s: 3: Categories of Food

     Today we will talk about 3 categories of food and how they work in the body.  The categories are:

  • Construction
  • Digestion
  • Infection

Construction Foods

Proteins are comprised of amino acids (building blocks) that make various proteins our body uses to build or repair tissue, form enzymes, and carry molecules our bodies need to the specific receptor sites.  Our body makes several of these building blocks to comprise a protein, but there are several the body must get from food.

Examples of foods containing a good amount of protein:

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, peanut butter, cheese, whey protein, pea/rice protein, soy, milk, beans.  Portions are important! Portions are smaller than you think.  Try to eat some protein at every meal.

What protein could you eat at Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?

Food that help Digestion

Foods containing fiber aid in digestion. Most Americans are not eating enough fiber. Intake = 11 g on average, needs are 25-30 g

Examples of digestive foods: legumes, tree nuts, fruits/vegetables, oatmeal, barley (beta glucans), wheat bran, wheat germ, and psyllium.  Soluble and Insoluble fiber aid in bowel regulation, fighting cancer, lowering cholesterol, improving irritable bowel diseases, and controlling blood sugars to name a few.

* Some people with GI distress do not digest raw fruits and vegetables well, and must eat them very well cooked.

What digestive foods could we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Food that Fight Infection

Certain foods are high in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Most are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans.

These foods are good for fighting infection and inflammation. 

  1. Colors are very important.
  2. Almost every disease state encourages intake of fruits and vegetables for prevention as opposed to eating  sugar, fat or salt.

Tip or quote of the day:

Eat those fruits and vegetables!

Take Action Today:

Answer questions of what types of construction, digestion and infection foods you can eat at each meal.



Apples, more than a fruit?

Today is Tuesday, February 25th

The topic or question of the day:

Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?

I think many times these old sayings hold some truth.  Much like “A penny saved is a penny earned”.  Some reasons an apple a day may be good for you are as follows:

  • A medium apple contains 3.3 grams of fiber and only ~ 60 calories.
  • The apple skin contains insoluble fiber, but the secret ingredient is between the skin and the flesh of the apple and is called pectin.  Pectin is a soluble fiber that may reduce risk of cardiac heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • Ursolic Acid is found in the apple peel and has been found to boost calorie burning and reduce obesity in mice according to a study reported in Huffington Post June 22, 2012.  It was also reported to increase muscle mass and strength.
  • The apple peel contains anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.
  • 50 mg of the phytochemicals in the apple peel inhibited the reproduction of cancer cells in the colon by 43% and by 28% in the apple’s flesh.
  • A small apple eaten 15 minutes before eating a meal causes a significant reduction in mealtime calories consumed.

Tip or quote of the day:  


To avoid most pesticides, cut off each end of the apple.  Most pesticide is found in the stem where the apple hangs from the tree.

Take Action Today:

Eat an apple today!

Try eating a salad with apple chunks 15 minutes before dinner.


Today is Tuesday, February 18th

    The topic or question of the day:

What is WHAPP?   

The other day I heard a conversation that went like this:  “Don’t eat peanuts, they are bad.  Eat almonds instead.”  I say…”Not so fast to condemn the peanut buster!”  What most people do not know is that peanuts and pistchios are the only two nuts that contain resveratrol, the stilbene found in red wine and in the skin of red grapes.  You gotta know your nuts!

     At a seminar a few years ago, a physician encouraged us to tell our patients to put more WHAPP in their diets.  What is WHAPP?  It is an acronym for walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and peanuts.  He never told us exactly why, but his mantra was “Eat more WHAPP.”  So I began to research nuts and found each one to contain a different phytochemical just like all colorful fruits and vegetables are different and contain various chemicals for health. Each phytochemical provides a variety of bioactivity to help our bodies function well.

Walnuts:  Contain  phenols with the most antioxidant activity of all the nuts along with pecans.  Walnuts are also a great source of omega 3 oil, vitamin E, and manganese.

Hazelnuts:  Contain the highest amounts of proanthocyanins.  Proanthocyanins have been shown to possess the ability to slow the development of a disease process such as cancer, and to reduce urinary infections.

Almonds:  Contain phytosterols.  Phytosterols inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol, lower serum cholesterol and assists with inflammatory pathways.  Short term doses of ~2 g per day were found to reduce LDL-cholesterol.  However, high doses and a longer period of intake necessitate further study.  Other nuts high in phytosterols are:  macadamia, pine nuts, and pistachios.

Pecans:  Contain the highest flavenoid concentration, thus very high antioxidant activity.  They have a high ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance activity) number as well.

Peanuts:  Contain resveratrol (a stilbene) also found in pistachios, red wine, and the skin of red grapes and research revealed resveratrol may be protective for heart disease and in studies also extended the life span of mice.  

Tip of the day:

While nuts contain some great qualities, be careful with the amount you consume because they are also high in fat and calories, leading to unwanted weight gain.  A good idea is to package your nuts into little baggies that can be found in the craft section at Wal-mart or other craft stores in the bead section.  Each little 3×2 baggie when filled is around 100 calories.

Take Action Today:

Buy the little bead baggies and fill them with a variety of nuts.  They are only $1.00 for 150 little baggies!


Approximately 100 calories when filled with nuts





Reasons to Season

Today is Wednesday, February 12th

The topic or question of the day:

Reasons To ‘Season’

Hippocrates once said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.  Herbs and Spices have been around since antiquity and have been used for medicinal purposes, trade, gifts, sacrifices, and to flavor food.  Spices are made from roots, seeds and bark while herbs are from leaves and stems of young plants.

The “Great Eight” herbs and spices I like are:  parsley, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, dill, turmeric, and oregano; each one for reasons independent of each other.  Many contain a high ORAC value (oxygen radical absorptive capacity) such as oregano, cinnamon, and parsley.  ORAC value is a number based on the antioxidant activity or power of the herb or spice.   Antioxidants help remove cell destroying particles from our bodies.

Rosemary, when added to our food can decrease the heterocyclic amine (HCA) production during grilling by 40%.  Parsley and Thyme contain Apigenin, a cancer fighting phytochemical, and thyme can be used as a mouthwash, antiseptic, and a fumigant.  Cinnamon is being used to help stabilize blood sugars, while ginger soothes our stomachs and improves digestion.  Turmeric is believed to fight against Alzheimer’s and dill weed adds great flavor to just about any salad.

Spices and herbs are also wonderful replacements for salt.  Americans are consuming 2-4 x the recommended amount of sodium these days mostly from processed and restaurant foods (77%).  Try using herbs in place of high sodium marinades for your grilling such as using the stem of rosemary as a skewer for your chicken.

Tip of the day:

Spring is coming.  Try to grow your own herb garden, preferably outside your kitchen door!  It is easy.  All you need is a 3×3 foot space, good soil, and plenty of sunlight.

If you are not able to grow your own fresh herbs or spices, the ratio for fresh verses dry is usually 1:2-1:3 ratio.

Take Action Today:

Make this delicious marinade from The Complete Book of Sauces by Sally Williams

 ¼ c dry white wine

¼ c white wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cloves crushed garlic

¼ t. dried basil

¼ t. dried thyme

¼ t. dried oregano

1/3  c olive oil

Bring all ingredients to a boil and let boil over high heat for 1-2 minutes.  Pour over vegetables of choice.  Serve hot or cold.