Tag Archives: food

Friday funny: Cravings are like stray cats…

Think of your cravings as stray cats; if you feed them, they'll never leave.

Funny saying – serious topic. If you struggle with frequent cravings, check out these posts:

Your four hungers – and why you should stop feeling guilty for every craving

How emotional eating keeps you stuck

Kicking the sugar monster

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How emotional eating keeps you stuck

today, me will live in the moment. unless the moment is unpleasant, then me will eat a cookie.

Yesterday morning, I was doing a writing exercise that asked me to think about painful places I don’t want to return to, and how that relates to my current writing. As I mulled over possibilities, one that came back to me was late 2009, when my dad was dying. At the same time, my mom was slipping deeper into the grip of Alzheimer’s, and our kids were either away at college or soon to be there.

So many exits, all at once. All that loss brought out something in me I hadn’t experienced since my teenage years: eating because I just wanted to stop hurting — even if it was just for 30 minutes.

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Why some foods are more addictive than others

why this food is so addictive

A new study has assessed which foods are more addictive to humans. The authors argue that, like drugs, foods that are highly processed and unnaturally combined start to become more “potent,” and, therefore, addictive.

Following are excerpts from the original article on Forbes.com:

 For instance, chewing a coca leaf doesn’t give a very strong high, but condensing it into cocaine and making it snort-able sure does. So too with foods whose elements are refined and combined in various clever ways – food labs spend lots of time on these calculations – until they become very “high-potency.”

“Addictive substances are rarely in their natural state,” the authors of the new study point out, “but have been altered or processed in a manner that increases their abuse potential. For example, grapes are processed into wine and poppies are refined into opium. A similar process may be occurring within our food supply.”

The ranking [that the study produced] suggests that it’s really the combination of fat and carbs that makes food addictive. And this is probably because our brains are not used to coming across foods that are both high in fat and high in sugar – natural foods are usually high in just one or the other.

So putting these two ingredients together into some wondrously unnatural and magical combination makes the brain go wild. “It is plausible that like drugs of abuse,” say the authors, “these highly processed foods may be more likely to trigger addictive-like biological and behavioral responses due to their unnaturally high levels of reward.”

book: it starts with food

So, maybe your struggle to eat well isn’t just about willpower! Maybe that junk food has a built-in addictive quality.

Want to know more about addictive foods? This book — It Starts With Food — by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig delves into it, also giving you the tools you need to break free from what they call “food without brakes” — amped-up foods that trigger cravings for more, more, more.

Find this and other informative books here.

 

 

Antibiotics, hormones, organic, etc: What U.S. food labeling terms really mean

organic labeling on meat in US
 U.S. food labeling terms on meat in US - organic

All these terms can be confusing! Here are the official descriptions for the various U.S. food labeling terms, directly from usda.gov:

NATURAL:
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color, and that is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).

NO HORMONES – pork or poultry:
[By U.S. law], hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says, “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

NO HORMONES – beef:
The term “no hormones administered” may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.

NO ANTIBIOTICS – red meat and poultry:
The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.

ORGANIC:

Organic products have strict production and labeling requirements, and are monitored by the government. Unless noted below, organic products must meet the following requirements:

  • Produced without excluded methods (e.g., genetic engineering), ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge.
  • Produced per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
  • Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
Raw or processed agricultural products in the “100 percent organic” category must meet these criteria:
  • All ingredients must be certified organic.
  • Any processing aids must be organic.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.
On multi-ingredient products, different icons mean different things in regard to how much of the product is organic. Here’s the official guide:
U.S. food labeling terms and logos
Sources:

4 things you need to UN-learn about nutrition

Are you believing one of these four diet myths

This is a shared post from my sister site, Start Where You Are Today.

Researchers are learning new things about diet and nutrition that are turning the tables on some of the advice we’ve been hearing so long, we believe them as hard cold facts. Are you believing one or more of them?

Unlearn this: What I eat influences my body chemistry.

Learn this: This one is not really new news, but I think it’s a core truth that we don’t really comprehend: What you eat doesn’t just affect your body: it literally becomes your body chemistry! And your body tissue, bone, blood, muscles, brain, hormones, etc. And the fuel you run on. The food you eat is disassembled in your digestive system, then reassembled to make you. This is why what you eat is so important!


Learn more: Want it all spelled out scientifically? Here’s an 11-minute video from Kahn Academy, explaining the basics of metabolism:

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Unlearn these: Eating fat is what makes you fat. Low fat = healthy. Eliminate as much fat as possible from your diet. Saturated fat is especially bad.

Learn this: Your body needs fat! It uses fat from your diet for energy, for making cells and other important parts of your body, and yes, some of it is stored as fat. (However, carbs are also stored as fat!)

Also, most grocery store products labeled “Low Fat!” have amped up sugar and other unhealthy carbs to compensate for the lost fat; definitely not a healthy move!

Learn more: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which concludes that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.”

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Unlearn this: Eating high cholesterol foods is bad for your health. 

Learn this: New news, as of Feb. 2015 — “The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel — The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food.” While about one quarter of people may be cholesterol-sensitive, for most of us, medicine is now saying it’s not the problem we once believed.

So how did we get convinced that cholesterol was so bad? Some misunderstandings about how body cholesterol gets made, and its exact role in our circulatory system. Oh, and the fact that in one early, influential study, the researchers used rabbits. Turns out, rabbits are unusually vulnerable to a high cholesterol diet!

To learn more: The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol,Washington Post

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Unlearn this: It’s all about calories in, calories out.

Learn this: How nutrition affects our health is incredibly complex, so it’s too simplistic to say it’s all about one thing. But if it were, it wouldn’t be about calories in/calories out! And it would be definitely be more about the content of your diet. Over the long term, you will lose more weight, keep it off, and be healthier eating 1700 calories a day of whole, nutrient-dense foods than you will on 1200 factory-manufactured, “low fat” calories a day. And it will be easier, because you’ll be more satisfied!

To learn more: Four Biggest Myths About Calories, CBS

Thanksgiving and Christmas food prep FAQs

Holiday food prep tips and checklists; how long to cook turkey, ham, vegetables, and more.

Trying to plan a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal?

Here are some tips, calculators, and checklists.
roasted turkey; how long to cook, and other tips

Turkey

cave-tools-thermometerFor any meat, a meat thermometer is the essential gadget to make sure your meat comes out perfectly every time. 
Image from farmflavor.com

Ham

Image from campbellskitchen.com

Vegetables

  • Make-ahead crockpot green bean casserole. Save your oven for other things, and save some day-of panic: Here’s the classic green bean casserole that everyone wants for Thanksgiving, tweaked to work in a crock pot / slow-cooker, and with optional make-ahead instructions. Classic green bean casserole for crockpot.
  • Roasted vegetables timetable. The number one must-do side dish at our house — besides the turkey, of course. Oh, and pumpkin pie! Okay, the third-most popular dish: roasted vegetables. A slow roast works oven magic, turning onions, carrots and bell peppers into sugar-free candy-sweet goodness! Here’s a timetable for roasted vegetables: what goes into in the oven when, to make everything come out perfect.
This is my favorite pan for roasted vegetables, and anything else that can be made on a rimmed cookie sheet: USA Pan Jelly Roll Pan.* LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PAN!!! Bakes evenly, rinses off like brand-new teflon every time. Everyone in my house has been threatened to not even think of co-opting this for some craft or garage project!

All foods: How much per person?

  • Here’s a thorough chart from Good Housekeeping, showing per-person serving recommendations for 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 and 24 people, for 10 popular holiday foods. It includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and more. View the pdf.

Holiday meal planning checklists and calculators

  • An Excel spreadsheet that you can plug your number of guests into (including how many are vegetarians!), and it tells you how much food to buy. The page where you download it is a little confusing; just scroll down until you see this:

Would you rather have pictures?

Here’s a well-done info graphic from The Savory, showing turkey thawing time, brining time, brining recipe, roasting time, and more. This image is only one small part of it:
Image from The Savory
Pin it for later!
Here's all your holiday food prep and meal prep info: tips, checklists, recipe links, and more!
* Note: Product links in this post are to my Amazon store where I get a smidgen of the sales, but I truly use and fanatically love every product I link to.
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Tabletop photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash
Turkey photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash
Baking photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash