My Take on the Red/Processed Meat–>Cancer Debate


Original Image by Kim Ahlström via Flickr
Original Image by Kim Ahlström via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Doesn’t every story always have two sides? The good news? The latest craze that bacon causes cancer is a bit of frenzy. The bad news for bacon lovers, this isn’t ‘new’ news, the American Institute for Cancer Research has declared the link between bacon and cancer for a while, yet the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) report on the link between red meats, processed meats and colorectal cancer has brought the spotlight back on to this topic. Before vegetarians get on their soap box, bacon lovers declaring they can’t eat meat ever again or disregard this report by wanting to continue to eat how much whenever, what if I told you there is a middle ground?

Yes, you can have a few pieces of processed meats once in a while is not going to be a death sentence, but understanding what types of meats may contribute to cancer and why will help all wrap their heads around the concept.

“No one food causes cancer,” said Audrey Monroe a Dietitian and Director of Nutrition for the Kansas Beef Council.

Processed meats include those that have been cured, salted, smoked or a preservation method has been used (e.g. cold cuts, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, ham, pastrami, salami and pepperoni). To put the new classification in perspective, like outdoor pollution, UV radiation, alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes, the IARC ranked processed meats as a class 1 carcinogen. The physical method of grinding or mincing of meat does not automatically make it ‘processed.’  Red meats include beef, lamb and pork, with it being ranked as class 2A campaign. Yet, liver is clumped in the ‘red meat’ category, providing all necessary vitamins and minerals.

The mechanism of why and how these meats increase colorectal cancer is not definitive. There is speculation that increased risk is due to the addition of nitrates, nitrites, heme iron in red meat, smoking process and/or high temperatures.

Suggestions on how to lower consumption and cancer risk:

Original Image by Pawel Pacholec via Flickr
Original Image by Pawel Pacholec via Flickr
  • Replace processed and red meats with fresh chicken, fish and plant based proteins (e.g. eggs, cottage cheese, hummus, beans, tofu and legumes)
  • Swap out bacon, chorizo and salami with spicy vegetarian sausage
  • Opt for lean beef and loin cuts as quality protein helps one feel satiated and fuller longer to help maintain desired weight
  • Redirect focus on how meals can provide a balance of nutrients, including whole grains, fiber, lean meats and low fat dairy products
  • Vary the type of produce used as different vegetables provide anti cancer, antioxidant properties. The phytochemicals in vegetables work synergistically together to stave off cancer.

In addition to being mindful of the ranking, it’s important to note the amount of exposure to the carcinogen. Yes, cigarettes and processed meats have been both classified as class 1 carcinogens, but many smokers expose their bodies to tobacco multifold a day, while the same measurement can not be used when assessing processed meat’s impact on someone—instead we need to consider how big the portions and frequency of intake.

If you’re as legalistic as I am, what’s a ‘moderate’ amount of processed meats? 500,000 middle aged men and women were studied, finding that consumption of 50 g of processed meat increased risk of colon cancer up to 18%. In other words, the recommendation is to consume 70 g of less of red and processed meats. Limiting consumption of red meat to once a week/18 ounces (cooked) or less per week, one should not be concerned with an increased cancer risk. In other words, 18 ounces is ~4-quarter pounders hamburgers per week. If you’re eating hot dogs three to four times a week, perhaps, cutting back to once a week is a step you would be willing to take.

As you can see, nutrition is not black and white. While these IARC declarations has sparked debate, it doesn’t mean processed meats and red meat have to be cut out completely. With regular meal planning and mindfulness, all foods can fit.  The USDA and FDA are set to share new dietary guidelines by the end of this year, so it will be interesting how and if the WHO reports affect those guidelines.

Sources: http://blog.aicr.org/#sthash.OACxTxoR.dpuf

Do Bacon, Hot Dogs and Red Meat Cause Cancer? Facts and What You Need to Know!

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/10/26/processed-meat-and-cancer-what-you-need-to-know/

http://lancasteronline.com/healthy-choices-what-you-eat-can-reduce-cancer-risk/article_86275722-78bf-11e5-b776-37879cab8ad7.html

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/26/health/who-processed-meat-cancer-social-reaction/

Meat no more? Local health experts say not so fast

Review: Justin’s


Justins-Web-MediaRelations-FamilyShot-6By: Nikki Nies

Do you describe your taste preferences as more sweet or savory? While many are loyal followers of either end of the taste spectrum, if you’re a middle of the road kind of guy or gal, you reap the benefits and flavors of both sides. Scary thought though.  With double the flavors of savory and sweet, I’m sure it can be hard to comb through the products that call your name.

I’m here today to share the story of Justin’s, a line of nut butters that originated in Boulder farmer’s markets and now is sold nationwide, which easily meets the need of sweet and savory in the same bite. Since inception in 2004, the founder, Justin Gold, has overcome the hurdles that come with developing a business plan.

I’m grateful for Justin’s creativity and drive to produce quality products. I’m sure you’ve seen Justin’s product in Whole Foods, Target, Jewel-Osco, Publix, Safeway, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans, Kroger, Giant, Giant Eagle, Bashas’, Harris Teeter, HEB and/or the Fresh Market. If you haven’t, ask a sales associate next time you’re in the store and join a following that are thoroughly enjoying all-natural, high-quality ingredients.

His products include 16 ounce jars, 1.15 ounce squeeze packs that are great portable, portion controlled protein packed foods. Not only are the nut butters packed with vitamin E and fiber, but they are offered in Maple Almond Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Classic Almond Butter, Classic Peanut Butter, Honey Peanut Butter, Vanilla Almond Butter, Honey Almond Butter and Chocolate Almond Butter.  In addition, for those that enjoy the sweeter side of life, Justin’s offers USDA certified organic all peanut butter cups made with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa.

IMG_8945I recently used Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter, which contains ONLY dry peanuts and oil as ingredients, to make his recipe of Peanut Butter Cookies.  This recipe is so simple and tasty! I couldn’t believe it took only three ingredients! Being an avid experimental baker, I couldn’t bring myself to use the entire full cup of brown sugar listed in the recipe. Instead, with a little over 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the cookies were as delicious as can be! Interested to learn other ways to use Justin’s products in your kitchen, check out his recipes and make yourself a grocery list!

The reason I love Justin’s peanut butter is because his products’ quality and nutrition content has not wavered.  At a serving size of 2 tablespoons, at 190 calories, 7 g of carbohydrates, 8 g of protein, o mg of cholesterol, 16 g of fat and 4 g of dietary fiber, I can’t complain!

Interested in created your own product? Justin’s two cents is

The most important thing is just to start. You will never end up anywhere if you don’t start somewhere. If I hadn’t started making jars, it wouldn’t have given me the opportunity to get to where I am today.

Justin’s has also involved themselves in sustainability efforts, sourcing the highest-quality, local ingredients, simplifying the supply chain, and initiating environmentally friendly office practices.  In collaboration with Conscious Alliance and Whole Planet Foundation, Justin’s does it part in hunger relief and global poverty relief efforts. With initiatives like these, how can you not support Justin’s?! I know I’m ready to try out his Maple Almond Butter and Banana Ice Cream next, are you?

Check out Justin’s Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestSite | Blog

Disclosure Agreement: Review of Justin’s was due to compensation from the company’s whose products were reviewed. We Dish Nutrition tested each product thoroughly and gives high marks to only the very best. Opinions expressed at We Dish Nutrition are own. 

Photo Credit: Justin’s 

Cottage Cheese Filled Dates


990802343_27fc55828c_o
Image by David R. Blume goo.gl/vxxn1w

By: Nikki Nies

Whenever you’re pairing foods, you want to make sure they have the right balance of sweet and savory. The overpowering of one ingredient can lead to the

For as little in size that dates are, they’re nutrition powerhouses, containing fiber, the antioxidant tannins, beta carotene, vitamin A, potassium and iron. While the peanut butter stuffed dates trend has been going around, I’ve been trying to incorporate more cottage cheese into my meals as it is great to pair with savory or sweet foods. Pairing dates and cottage cheese is a great way to maintain protein content, but the added benefit of cottage cheese’s healthy fats. While low in calories, cottage cheese and dates are great spin on the traditional peanut butter stuffed dates.

IngredientsIMG_9084

  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 5 dates
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Sprinkle of  cinnamon

Instructions

Slice dates lengthwise, stuff with cottage             cheese. Drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon on top of each date. Eat up!

What additional toppings would you add to this easy, delectable snack?

Sources: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html

Health Benefits of Dates – Promoting Heart, Brain, and Digestive Health

Pregnancy Weight and Intakes


pregweightdiagramBy: Nikki Nies

As we all know, pregnancy is an  exciting time for all those involved.  With impending baby showers and last minute gatherings for mothers to be, food related activities are inevitable.  Yet, a healthy weight gain is the aim for the mother and infant for optimal growth, development and overall health.

Weight gain recommendations: Underweight (BMI <19.1) 40-50#; normal BMI (19.25) 35-45#; overweight (26-29.9) 25-35#

Normal weight women should gain 25-35# during pregnancy. UW: 28-40#; overweight: 15-25#; obese: should still gain some weight, ~15#; excessive weight gain is discouraged with any bodyweight classification of the mother.

In the first trimester of pregnancy, normal weight pregnant women do not need to consume additional calories per day according to the National Research Council.  In the second trimester, an additional 340 calories per day is recommended and then in the third trimester, intake should increase to about 450 calories per day.  Those that are underweight may expect to increase intake by an additional 100-300 calories per day.

During pregnancy, intake of folic acid is recommended to increase  prevention of birth defects.  Fortified grains can be a good source of dietary folate, with the best sources including lentils and beans. 1/2 cup cooked black eye peas, 1 cup of raw spinach and/or 1 cup fortified corn flakes can provide more than 100 mcg of folate each.

Of course, talking to your primary care physician about your weight and health is vital during pregnancy. The above weight parameters are suggested weight gain guidelines.

Photo Credit: Baby Your Baby 

Sources: http://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy-weight-gain-estimator

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-weight-gain/art-20044360?pg=2

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-weight-gain/

http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/healthy-weight-gain

Review: Larabar


By: Nikki Nies

I frequent my grocery store well enough if that if I were to be captured, blindfolded and told I had to go grocery shopping that way, I wouldn’t skip a beat. With that said, I’ve always passed aisle 13, where the energy bars are. Over the years, I’ve, unfortunately, never found energy bars that filled me. While many bars tout themselves as a great snack with loads of protein, it can be hard to decipher which brands are worth the calories and money when they all promote the same qualities and nutrients. We all know they can’t ALL be that good!

thumbYet, during FNCE 2014, I tried Larabar’s new line of uber products, which were more filling than I expected! I especially enjoyed the cherry cobbler, which is a great mixture of dried cherries, almonds, pecans, cashews, raisins, dates and sea salt.  Those are some of my favorite foods and to have them in one bar was like little bits of heaven!

Now that I am transitioning from college life to career, I know my routine will have to change as well.  For me, that means ensuring I will have portable, nutrient packed foods on hand! Thank goodness I experienced the wonders of Larabar when I did! Not only do the flavors hold up to their name, but nutrient wise, they do too! My rule of thumb when skimming through snacks, especially energy bars is that it should be at least 3 grams of protein and fiber, mostly heart healthy fats (omega 3s), mostly whole grains and no more than 15 grams of sugar. A tall order, yes, but feasible!

Let’s do a breakdown of nutrient content of some of Larabar’s popular bars: W

    Nutrient Parameter      
  Nutrition Parameter Cashew Cookie Peanut Butter Cookie Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Calories ≤ 200 calories 230 calories 220 calories 200 calories 210 calories
Carbohydrates ≤ 30 g 23 g 23 22 g 28 g
Fiber ≥3 g 3 g 4 g 4 g 3 g
Sugar* ≤15 g 18 g 18 g 16 g 16 g
Total Fat ≤10 g 13 g 12 g 10 g 11 g
Protein ≥3 g 6 g 7  g 5 g 4 g
Sodium ≤ 100 mg 5 mg 70 mg 0 mg 55 mg

*With six ingredients or less found each bar, the fruit in the bars contribute to the higher sugar and carbohydrate content. These bars are free of added sugars,sweeteners, preservatives, fillers, and artificial colorings.

What are your initial thoughts on the chart above? Be mindful that not all of Larabar’s products are the most sugar friendly.Yet, it’s not a coincidence that nutrient wise, the peanut butter cookie is the best and is considered a Larabar favorite! Make sure to read nutrition fact labels, compare flavors and remember that moderation is key. Make sure you’re stocked with other fresh snacks to maintain balanced intake.

Another note, I am not training for an Iron Man or marathon, so I won’t emphatically look for bars that contain ≥40 g of protein. Yes, there are products out there! As a gal that’s on the go, Larabar’s work for me!

Furthermore, Larabar is a great value-nutrient and price wise and have made efforts to provide quality in all they do.  Everything from production to recycling. Like FSTG, Larabar is committed to the non-GMO project, ensuring its consumers that fifteen of its products are certified non-GMO! Since their partnership with TerraCycle, Larabar wrappers are part of the Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade, a free recycling program and fundraiser opportunity for participants.  LARABAR_Energy_Bar_Wrapper_Brigade_Arrow

Grab your wrappers out of the garbage and sign up to be part of the Brigade, one wrapper at a time! Unfortunately, not all products are available in Canada, so Canadians, don’t get your hopes up when browsing through Larabar’s products!

Check out Larabar’s Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Pinterest | eNewsletter | Blog | Site 

Disclosure Agreement: Review of Larabar was due to compensation from the company’s whose products were reviewed. We Dish Nutrition tested each product thoroughly and gives high marks to only the very best. Opinions expressed at We Dish Nutrition are our own. 

Photo Credit: Larabar

Source: http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/best-energy-bars

http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/how-choose-best-energy-bars

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=802

Treat Yourself to Tempeh


Original Image by Gloria Cabada-Leman via Flickr
Original Image by Gloria Cabada-Leman via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Looking to expand your food palate? Have you tried tempeh (tehm-pay)? While tempehhas been used as a source of protein in Indonesia for hundreds of years, it is now reaching buzz in other parts of the world. Similar to its cousin, tofu, tempeh is a meat alternative that is commonly consumed by vegetarians.  Like tofu, tempehis made from soybean through natural culturing and fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.  With retention of the whole bean, tempeh has a higher fiber, protein and vitamin content than tofu.  Fermented cooked soy product that is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.

Original Image by Alpha via Flickr
Original Image by Alpha via Flickr

With it’s soy derivates, tempeh has a surprisingly versatile, delicious taste, providing vegans and vegetarians who are looking for additional protein sources means for new  experiments in the kitchen.  Specifically, with its firm texture and nutty mushroom flavor, it is traditionally sliced or cubed to be fried until surface is crisp or golden brown.  For a different take, tempeh can be grated like cheese or in soups, spreads, salads and/or sandwiches.

Due to its popularization, many local grocery stores carry tempeh and/or can be found in Asian supermarkets.  If you’re up to the challenge:

  1. Dehull soybeans and soak overnight, you can make your own tempeh!
  2. Once soaked, cook for approximately 30 minutes and mix with tempeh starter, which has spores or Rhizopus oryzae.
  3. It will be good to be used for eating and cooking after 36-48 hours of incubation.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy tempeh.  With its phytochemicals,isoflavones andsaponins, it is becoming a more popular ingredient for all foodies.Isoflavones alleviate menopausal symptoms, strengthen bones and help reduce risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers.  Saponins are glycosides with foaming properties and can also be found in peas and herbs. During the fermentation process, tempeh obtains some digestive enzymes and reduces the phytic acid in soy, allowing the body to best absorb the soy’s minerals. Furthermore, as a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids.

I’m definitely adding tempeh to my grocery list! Looking forward to trying Tempeh Coconut Curry and Ginger Cilantro Honey Tempeh Salad! Why don’t you try with me?

Photo Credit:Wikipedia and Flickr

Sources:http://www.tempeh.info/

http://www.lightlife.com/Vegan-Food-Vegetarian-Diet/Organic-Tempeh.html

http://www.tofurky.com/tempehproducts/traditional_tempeh.html

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/Tempeh.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126

http://www.food.com/recipes/tempeh

10 Ways to a Healthier YOU!


Health-Map-471x282By: Nikki Nies

Being honest with ourselves’ goals and future lifestyle changes is the best thing to do moving forward.  While one might have the best intentions of losing weight, as we all know, learning how to walk is essential and part of the foundation of learning how to run.  With that said, with the New Year upon us, there’s no better time to jumpstart healthier changes.  BUT, while there are ten suggestions to a healthier lifestyle, you know, deep down, what changes will stick and what changes are not realistic to implement.

You don’t have to implement all ten changes, as that may be too overwhelming and backfire in the long run, but incorporating one or two ideas that best fit into your daily routine can provide insurmountable intrinsic and extrinsic benefits.

1. Drink more water! Aim for 16 oz. of water with each meal and snack

2. Plan at least one more meal per week in advance.  Meal ideas :

Breakfast:

  • 1 cup egg whites, 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • Flatbread sandwich with 3/4 cup egg whites, lean meat, cheddar cheese, spinach, onions and black olives
  • 2 scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and Canadian bacon on an English muffin

Lunch/Dinner: 1047445.large

  • Chicken and flank steak, 1/2 cup white rice and 2 cups steamed vegetables
  • 4 oz. extra lean ground turkey, 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, 4 cups spinach with olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • 4 oz. salmon, 2 cups broccoli with 2 tablespoons of organic unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. turkey breast, 1 oz. raw, unsalted nuts, sliced cucumber
  • 6 oz. oven roasted chicken breast 1, 1 cup vegetables and 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, 4 oz. tilapia and 1 cup steamed green beans
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup fat free cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons olive oil

Snack:

  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon natural nut butter or 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup oatmeal and protein shake
  • Fresh pineapple and yogurt
  • Handful of almonds and an apple
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Brown rice cake with almond butter and string cheese

3. Make meat proteins a side dish, not main entree of meals

4. Follow the 80/20 rule-with healthy options 80% o the time, but still having the occasional indulgence

5. Instead of concentrating on the number of calories consumed, focus more on the variety of colors and foods you’re eating from the increased intake of fruits and vegetables

6. Gradually cut down on calories where you are willing to make lifestyle changes you can live with

7. Be patient and realistic–remember that small changes do make a difference and that it’s more important to FEEL better!

8. Sharing is caring! Share your latest achievements via social media! Post on Facebook the latest meal you made, take a picture and upload to Instagram of the view at the top of a mountain you’ve hiked and/or follow motivational and inspirational quotes on Twitter

9. Use the outdoors as your gym will decrease excuses of working out.  While it’s winter, indoor swimming, hiking, rock climbing and biking are great year round exercises!

10. Find a partner, a support system and/or accountability buddy to encourage, confide and motivate you to make healthier choices.

If you need more information, please search and contact a Registered Dietitian near you! Keep us posted on your lifestyle changes! What healthier lifestyle additions are you adding to your day to day life? Good luck!

Photo Credit: Care2 and Green Bean Delivery