woman drinking milk

Best Alternatives To Cow’s Milk

Pourquoi La Vache Qui Rit fit? Why is the Laughing Cow laughing: the question long asked by the French to explain the jovial expression of the earring -wearing cow on the Laughing Cow cheese wedges that bear her name. Perhaps she was laughing at all the unknowing lactose intolerant people who were-were suffering digestive problems from eating her product. Well, it seems like the laugh may finally be on the Laughing Cow herself. With the increasing awareness of lactose intolerance, alternatives to cows milk are becoming more widely available and popular, with even the lactose tolerant making the switch, in many cases. Has the Laughing Cow laughed her last laugh? Let’s take a look at some of the competition.

Dairy Milk
Is this the reason the cow is laughing? Maybe not. Many of us grew up on plain old milk from the cows and didn’t seem to fare too badly. Cow’s milk has a respectable 8g of protein in one cup, which is still more than any nondairy option. Nonfat or low fat is a good choice for those who drink more than one cup of dairy milk a day to keep saturated fat intake to a minimum.

Soy Milk
When it comes to subbing for dairy milk, soy milk is a pretty healthy choice. With 45% DV of calcium and 6 g of protein per cup, the soybean and water concoction make for a slightly thicker consistency than cow’s milk, which lends itself well to smoothies and coffee. It can be used in place of milk in most recipes cup for cup.

Rice Milk
When put side by side with dairy and soy milk, rice milk, pales in comparison.The brown rice mixture offering up only 2% DV calcium and one gram of protein, falls short of the competition in nutrient content, and many find its texture too watery to work in recipes which use milk as a thickener.

Almond Milk
A fan favorite, almond milk, made with ground almonds and water, can be found in a variety of flavors and options, including chocolate, vanilla, original, and unsweetened. It’s a lower calorie alternative to skim milk, save for the chocolate flavor and has a higher mineral content than dairy milk. However, if its protein you seek, you may not find what you’re looking for in almond milk. With only 1 gram of protein, almond milk’s protein content is decidedly on the low side. If protein is your concern, check out soy milk with added protein, or supplement with other high protein choices.

Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is the latest item to hit the superfood charts, taking the health food world by storm. Although it is slightly higher in fat than other milk, the calorie count is a reasonably low 80 per serving, and it beats out cow’s milk in both protein and calcium content. However, if you are not a fan of the coconut flavor, you may want to leave this one off the shopping list; the coconut taste is hard to miss, If you want the experience with less emphasis on the coconut flavor, try an almond coconut blend, which will give you a more subtle hint of coconut with the 45% CV calcium of almond milk.

What is your choice when it comes to milk, and more importantly, why do you think the Laughing Cow is laughing? Let us know!

Woman drinking milk

Full Fat Dairy Products May Not Be All That Bad

Move over skinny cows! It’s great news for the extra cheese and “no such thing as too much butter” crowd; scientists have found that full fat dairy food does not increase your risk of heart attack. What, you may ask? Does this mean I can stop eating this strange excuse for ice cream I have in my freezer? Depends on your motivation, but one thing’s for sure, this is something that your stomach and heart will both approve of. Recent studies have shown that those who consume full fat dairy may actually be healthier than their low fat dairy eating (cow)nterparts. Read on for more.

The Evidence, Or Lack Thereof
What tastes good can’t possibly be good for you, right? Well, maybe it can. Recently, dairy researchers have found that, contrary to popular beliefs about saturated fats leading to heart attacks, there may be nutrients in dairy products that actually prevent them. According to researcher Stella Aslibekyan of Brown University, “Things like milk and cheese are very complex substances. We looked at heart attacks risk dairy products in their entirety and then looked at separate components of those dairy products, and it turns out that the results are null. Perhaps the evidence is not there.”

Benefits of Dairy
While Aslibekyan’s team is far from suggesting that the presence of saturated fats in dairy products is harmless, she does believe that other nutrients found in dairy, such as vitamin D, calcium, and potassium may offer protection from heart disease. According to a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases journal a study of 3,630 Costa Rican men found that dairy intake in heart attack sufferers was no different than that of those who did not get heart attacks, even when consumption was as high as 593 grams a day. Researcher, Dr. Anna Baylin says, ” The message is that it is important to look at the net effect of whole foods and dietary patterns and not only isolated nutrients.

Pouring milk

Full Fat Dairy May Be Healthy
Additional research corroborates the Brown University study. There is evidence that full fat dairy key reduce the risk of:

  • Diabetes
    Palmitoeic acid, occurring naturally in meat and full fat dairy food, can protect against diabetes and insulin resistance. One study showed that individuals who consumed a diet including whole fat dairy had higher blood levels of trans-palmitoleate, decreasing their risk of developing type -2 diabetes by two thirds, as compared to those with lower levels.
  • Cancer
    Conjugated linoleum acid, a.k.a. CLA, is a type of fat found naturally in cow’s milk that can significantly lower the risk of cancer. A study found that those who ate a minimum of four serving of high fat dairy per day had a 41 % lower risk of bowel cancer than people who ate less than one.
  • Heart Disease
    A sixteen year study of Australian adults found an indirect relationship between full fat dairy consumption and the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.

Full Fat Dairy and Weight-Loss
Females who indulged in one serving of full fat dairy were found to gain 30% less weight over a nine year span than their low fat eating counterparts.

What do you think of the info? Willing to scrap your 1 and 2% milk for the pure stuff? Let us know!

Woman drinking green tea

Secrets To Pumping Up Your Metabolism

“Oh, I just have a fast metabolism.” Heard that one before? To many of us, a fast metabolism is some kind of body double that lives inside a select few people exercising and burning calories while their perfect outer shells sit and pig out on the couch. Well, that’s not far from the truth. Metabolism does work on its own to burn calories and shed fat, and the faster it runs the more calories you burn. However, it’s not only a select few that can reap the benefits. The truth is that you have a huge amount of control over the rate of your metabolism. And to prove it, here are some things that you too can sit back and let your fast metabolism do the work.

Green Tea
Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, calls green tea “the closest thing to a metabolism potion.” Green tea contains a fat burning plant compound called ECGC. One study showed that people who consumed three to five cups a day of the brew for 12 weeks showed a 4.6 decrease in body weight; other studies suggest that consuming two to four cups of the tea can burn an extra fifty calories daily – five pounds a year, if you do the math.

Dairy
Did you spend last night binge watching “Empire” with an open bag of chips on hand? You can redeem yourself with an eight-ounce glass of milk or a six-ounce container of low-fat yogurt. Calcium boosts metabolism by increasing the rate at which your body disposes of waste, says a University of Copenhagen study. Supplements will not do the job, so let’s hope you like milk.

Iron
Women lose iron when they ovulate, a loss which does not bode well for your metabolic speed. Iron carries oxygen to your muscles. When there is a deficiency of oxygen, your energy levels tank and your metabolism hits the brakes. Shames advises stocking up on iron with beans, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereal.

Working Out

Woman working out

Interval training
If you want a quick metabolism boost, and to save some time in the process, increase the intensity of your workout. One Australian study pitted two group of female stationary bicyclists against each other. One group rode for 40 minutes at a moderate pace, and one group rode for 20-minute intervals, alternating 8-second sprints with 12 seconds of low-impact pedaling. After 15 weeks, the interval trainers lost three times as much body weight as the other group. Lead researcher, Ethlyn Gail Trapp, PhD, suggests that whatever method of exercise you choose, your should start with an 8-second sprint followed by 12 seconds of easy exercise. Aim to work up to 10 sprints in 20 minutes.

Fish Oil
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, popping fish oil supplements when you exercise can stimulate your fat burning enzymes. Volunteers who took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times per week reported an average loss of 3.4 pounds over 12 weeks, while non-pill poppers saw minimal effects. Take two pills containing 300 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA per capsule two hours before you workout for best results.

Woman and child making salad

Diet
According to the National Institutes of Health, fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines send “I’m full triggers to your brain, eliminating cravings. Another word to the wise, skip the cocktails. Two mixed drinks can slow down the calorie burn by 73 percent. Researchers from the University of Berkeley say that this is because the liver converts alcohol to acetate and uses that as fuel instead of your stores of fat. Another word of advice? Sleep well. It will help you regulate hormones that regulate energy use.

Got it? Now get out there and speed up that metabolism! Let us know how it goes for you. We love to get your stories!

Healthy food

Popular Health Food Myths

Eating pop rocks with soda can make you explode. This is perhaps the most popular and most bizarre food myths of all time. Although some may argue that the two together may be a lethal combination, it is not because of its likelihood to cause human combustion. While the fate of Mikey of Life Cereal fame may be unknown, it is safe to say he did not suffer death by Poprock. With the rate at which information about food changes , it is often hard to determine which facts from fiction. Here are some of the most commonly believed food myths that may seem all too easy to believe.

Low Fat Food is Better for You
Look at food labels to determine what kinds of fats are in foods before reaching for the low fat version. Seattle based dietitian Andy Bellatti says, “A good intake of healthful fats is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Prioritize mono saturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Many low fat diets are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates which are increasingly becoming linked to increased heart disease.” Low fat food are often low in good fats, which are necessary to cholesterol management and absorption of nutrients and also contain high levels of sugar and sodium to compensate for the blandness of the taste quality.

Dairy Is Best For Healthy Bones
According to Bellatti, too many people confuse dairy with calcium. “Dairy contains calcium, but so do dark-leafy greens. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, just like all milk alternatives. Additionally, bone health goes beyond calcium and vitamin D.” Vitamin K is important for bone health and leafy green have it while dairy products do not. Magnesium, also absent from dairy, is important for bone health as well.

Assorted dairy

If you’re concerned about the health of your bones, you’re best bet is to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet and, as the Harvard School of Public Health points out, “milk isn’t the only, or even best source of calcium.” Collard greens, kale and bok choy may be considerably better sources of both calcium and vitamin D.

Drink 8 Glasses of Water per Day
Boston based nutritionist Alannah DiBona says there is no given rule for how much water a person needs in a day. “Water’s been touted as the cure for all sins, and in some ways, it’s true – proper hydration is necessary for just about anything body and mind-related. However sixty- four ounces per day isn’t always going to be the right number for you.” Instead, try to determine your water intake by dividing your body weight in half and trying to drink that number in ounces of water daily.

Dibona also urges us to “Remember that water is available to you through all liquids, fruits, vegetables, and that the mark of proper hydration is a very light yellow-colored urine.”

Eating Eggs Raises Cholesterol
According to DiBona, “More often than not, a person diagnosed with high cholesterol will go out of his or her way to avoid eggs, which is really unnecessary. The body’s cholesterol levels are influenced by certain saturated and trans fats; eggs contain very little saturated fat and absolutely no trans fat. Depriving yourself of an egg means foregoing 13 naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and a really delicious breakfast item.”

Poached egg

High Sodium Foods Taste Salty
While there is no doubt that management of salt and sodium intake are important, especially for those with diabetes and hypertension, you should know that salty taste is not necessarily characteristic of high sodium foods. Belatti explains, “While surface salt is noticeable, stealth sodium, added during processing, is harder to taste. This is why many people don’t realize that a Dunkin’ Donuts corn muffin contains as much sodium, as 9 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.” He stresses the importance of looking up nutrition information to check the sodium content of foods at your favorite restaurants and eateries.

What other food myths do you want to debunk? Let us know!

Doctor taking blood pressure

Foods That Help Regulate Blood Pressure

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne once said, “High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating. Would you get your dog up in the morning of a cup of coffee and a donut? Probably millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.” Lalanne really knew a thing or two about keeping healthy and regulating high blood pressure. The link between diet and high blood pressure is very real. If you’re dealing with hypertension, you may know that the DASH diet, which consists of foods low in sodium and high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, is recommended to normalize and prevent high blood pressure, but there are also some specific foods have a healthy effect.

Dairy
Studies published in the Journal of Human Hypertension reported that Australian researchers found a connection between reduced risk of high blood pressure and low fat dairy foods with low fat yogurt and milk as the strongest players in the field. Although calcium content may contribute, it is more likely that other components, such as peptides, real eased in the digestion process, are responsible. It is uncertain why high fat dairy does not have the same effect, but the saturated fat may have something to do with it, or it is possible that low fat dairy eaters simply have a healthier lifestyle overall.

Flaxseed
A 2013 study published in the journal “Hypertension” found that flaxseed was among a variety of foods capable of reducing both diastolic (relaxation of the heart) and systolic (contraction of the heart) blood pressure. Why the flaxseed causes the blood pressure reduction is unclear, but it may be due to food’s levels of the compounds alpha linolenic acid, lignans, peptides. and fiber.

Olive Oil
A 2012 study which ran in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that young women with slightly high blood pressure levels might benefit from olive oil. Spanish researchers found a connection between the polyphenol rich oil and drops in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Woman eating chocolate

Chocolate
If you must consume those breakfast donuts, at least try to make sure it is of the devil’s food variety. A 2010 BMC meta-analysis showed that dark chocolate and cocoa products with flavanols were linked to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure among hypertension patients. Other research shows that the polyphenols in chocolate can help to form nitric oxide which widens blood pressure and eases blood flow.

Beets
Have you got the beets? According to a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal, Australian researchers found that healthy men and women who drank beet juice plus apple juice had lower systolic blood pressure that those who drank plain apple juice. The reason? Beets contain nitrates, which naturally ease blood pressure.

Pistachios
A 2013 “Hypertension” journals study found that participants who ate one serving of pistachios for four weeks saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure. However, those who ate 2 servings did not see as much of a reduction. The reason for the difference in results was not clear, but it may be due to an increase in the amount of blood pumped from the heart caused by the higher nut dosage.

So, there’s the lineup. We hope that you found something on the list that gets your blood unpumping. Let us know what works for your hypertension and if any do the above did the trick, we love to hear from you.

Woman drinking a detox smoothie

Feel Better With A Weekend Detox

  Do you dream in chocolate?  Do you leave a basket of fruit on your table when the neighbors come and quickly swap it for the donut box when they go?  Do you have a secret stash of Snickers bars under your bed?  If this describes you, you may be a good candidate for a weekend detox.  Now let’s get this straight.  A weekend detox is not just for the nutritionally deprived.  It is a more like going on a two-day health bender in which your diet and health habits are regulated with the goal of cleansing your system, restoring blood pressure, and getting your digestion and blood sugar back on track.  Sound like a nutty adventure?  Let’s take a closer look.

Why the Weekend?
One thing you should keep in mind is that there is a reason for it being called a weekend detox.  Firstly,  limiting your food intake in this way is definitely not the best way to stay focused in the office and should only be done for a short time period.  Also, you need time to prepare your foods and might end up having to use the bathroom excessively because of the water, tea, and juices that constitute a good portion of most diets. Thus, a leisurely day with some degree of privacy may be best.

The Nutritional Component
The detox menu varies depending on the plan you follow.  The most severe ones are limited to system flushing liquids and smoothies, but more of them incorporate a restricted list of foods.  Here are the general rules of detox eating.

Antioxidants
Eating brightly colored fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans get rid of harmful substances and make them water soluble, so your system can flush them more easily.  Think spinach, kale, and cranberries.

Eat foods with Glutathione
What’s that?  Glutathione is an antioxidant that is produced by your own body.  It can be found in garlic, onions, eggs and foods rich in sulfuric compounds.  It is useful in removing toxins, including mercury and arsenic, from the body.

Drink water and tea
There is no denying that elimination is one of the primary goals of detox.  Water helps you with Number 1, Number 2, and perspiration.  While detoxing, try to drink 8-12 glasses of water or decaffeinated tea.

You may also want to add some  detox teas as  a bonus. These generally contain dandelion which supports digestion and liver function, licorice which expels mucus, and ginger, which stimulates circulation and gets rid of toxins.  Licorice tea, in particular, contains a compound that is 50 times sweeter than sugar, which may help to control a sweet tooth.

Eat Clean
Remember, your goal is to eliminate food that contain the toxins you are trying to eliminate.  Avoid processed goods including fast food, fried food, caffeine, dairy, alcohol, red meat, sugar and white flour.

Parting Notes
Avoid eating after 7 PM and get eight hours of sleep.  This will kick-start your system and help develop lasting healthy habits, or at least, help you get reacquainted with your fruit basket.

The Connection Between A High Acid Diet and Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may have been plaguing humans since the beginning of time.  In 1901, archeologist E. Smith found a bladder stone from a 4500-5000-year-old mummy in El Amrah, Egypt.  The Hippocratic Oath, historically taken by newly trained physicians and initiated in the 4th century BC, mentions kidney stones. A painting from 1655 by Carel de Savoyen portrays Jan van Doot, a Dutch blacksmith and amateur kidney stone remover holding a knife and bladder stone after a successful extraction. Luckily, today’s surgeries are a lot less DIY.

Aminerals is a piece of material that forms when substances in the urine, like salt and minerals become highly concentrated.  Small ones can pass with little or no pain.  Larger ones can get stuck along the urinary tract, blocking the flow of urine  and cause severe pain and bleeding. There care four types of kidney stones.  Each requires different dietary plans to follow in order to lessen their occurrence.  Uric acid stones are the product of a high acid content in the urine and require an alkaline diet to balance the high acidity level

Purine
 Red meat and shellfish contain a chemical compound called purines.  Purines are acidic in the body and lead to a lower urine pH, which means urine is more acidic, enabling the formation of uric acid stones.

 To prevent uric acid stones, it is suggested that suffered swap high purine foods for a diet high in fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.  Sugar-sweetened foods and drinks contain phosphorous and high fructose corn syrup which can increase acidity in urine. Alcohol and crash diets should be avoided as well as rapid weight loss increases uric acid.

Proteins
You’ll want to limit your protein intake, as proteins are high in purine.  You can safely eat 6 oz of poultry, fish, beef, lamb , veal, and eggs,  Limit your intake of beans and peas to two servings per week.  Avoid organ meats like liver, anchovies, mackerel and lobster.  Try incorporating nut and nut butter into your diet as a vegetarian protein alternative.

Dairy
While dairy products tend to be acidic in the body, they provide a great source of calcium and should not be eliminated from your diet. In order to keep the acid level down, choose low-fat or fat-free options when eating milk, yogurt, and cheese.  Saturated fat decreases the elimination of acid and can worsen kidney stones.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are always a really good choice for a low acid diet.  They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, limit your intake of spinach, mushrooms, asparagus and cauliflower to two servings per week.  They are a bit higher in purine.

Grains and Starches
Carbs are great for neutralizing acid.  Indulge in bread, pasta, cereal, rice potatoes and winter starch.  Limit your oats to 2/3 cup per day and wheat bran and wheat germ to 1/4 cups per day and be sure to read the ingredient list on products to check for these.  If they are  near the top of the list, chances are the food is pretty high in concentration of the ingredient. You’re best off skipping that one.