Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘dietary fiber’

Fresh Fig Nutrition, Greens, And Cheese

Posted by terrepruitt on September 18, 2012

Figs are considered a fruit. Most fruit has a lot of sugar.  As I had explained in my Fresh Figs So Unlike Fig Newtons posts, most of the recipes I found for figs were dessert recipes that actually had additional sugar in the recipe.  I didn’t want to make a dessert, so I ended up making a salad.  It was very good.  But as usual after having eaten something I don’t know much about I get curious as to what type of nutrition it has.  Sometimes I actually am curious BEFORE eating it and I take the time to look it up, but this time it was after the fact.

Figs are a good source of potassium and fiber.

According to Calorie Count Two large figs (2-1/2″ diameter) contain about 100 calories and roughly the following:

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaTotal Fat – 0.4g

Cholesterol – 0mg

Sodium – 2mg

Total Carbohydrates – 24.6g

Dietary Fiber – 3g

Protein – 1g

According to an article in 1999 by Dr. Sheldon Margen and Dale A. Ogar:

Figs “have the highest fiber and mineral content of all common fruits, nuts or vegetables. They also have as much as 1,000 times more calcium than other common fruits and by weight they actually have more calcium than skim milk.

Figs are 80% higher in potassium than bananas, and are extremely easy to digest. They also have more iron than any other of the common fruits and are extremely high in magnesium. All of this for about 20 to 40 calories per fig.”

I had an idea I would make a salad when I bought the crumbled goat cheese.  I know, not exciting, but it was really good!

When I went to make the salad I realized I didn’t know what to do with the figs.  My husband said he peeled them and ate the inside.  So I tried doing that, but when I peeled off the purple he said that I needed to peel off the white part too and only eat the inside.  So I tried that and as I was doing it I decided that it was ridiculous and could not be right.  Maybe opening them and eating the flesh works, but it does not work when trying to add them to a salad.  Then I remembered all the pictures I saw having purple (to me it is purple) on them.  So I Googled them again and figured out that they just need to be cut up the way they were and we could just eat the whole thing.  Unfortunately I waited too long to use them and we ended up only able to eat about half.  The other half had gotten moldy.

I just made a simple salad:

chopped up figs
lettuce
crumbled goat cheese
fig balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt
pepper (for my husband)

I wish I would have taken pictures.  It was nice.  Simple and yummy.  Just enough sweet, creamy, and savory.

I saw recipes that said to use feta but I thought the creaminess of the goat cheese would go better with the figs.

Did you know figs are often referred to as the “perfect” fruit?

Posted in "Recipes", Food, Fruit | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Might the RoundUp Ready Crops Be Destroying Gut Flora

Posted by terrepruitt on May 31, 2012

When I was looking up information for my post about the RoundUp Ready seeds I came across an article that states that the RoundUp Ready crops are also destroying the flora in our guts.  I don’t know if that is really scientifically sound, but it makes sense at first glance right?  Or it makes sense that all of the crops that we consume that have been sprayed with RoundUp might start killing off the flora in our bodies.  I mean let’s talk about how much RoundUp Ready crops that have been sprayed with RoundUp actually end up in our body.  I am not talking exact numbers because I can’t do that, but let’s just look at some things here.

First let me remind you about the crops that are genetically engineered: soy, alfalfa, corn, rapeseed (AKA the “canola”), and the sugar beets have all been engineered to withstand an herbicide.  With that in mind let’s go through the diet for a day in a hypothetical person;

Eggs, toast with butter, and milk for breakfast.  Eggs that were hatched from a corn fed chicken, bread that probably has some sort of soy product in it, butter (for the toast) and milk from a cow that was fed corn.  So even though breakfast did not contain any of the actual things on the list of RoundUp ready crops, they were consumed via the food eaten.

Popcorn for a snack.  Corn is a genetically engineered crop.

Sandwich and tortilla chips for lunch.  Bread again, with some sort of soy product in it, mayonnaise with corn fed eggs and probably soy oil, cheese from corn fed or alfalfa fed cows.  Tortilla chips made with corn probably fried in soybean oil or the highly touted “healthy” Canola oil.

Dinner might consist of chicken or beef — both corn fed.  A salad probably topped with a dressing containing Canola oil.

It seems as if we might be consuming a lot of 1) genetically engineered food and 2) a lot of residual herbicide.  I just thought that the article was interesting because as I read the title it occurred to me how many different probiotic products I have seen within the past few years.  I have always been taught to eat the yogurt with the live cultures because it was good for you.  It was especially emphasized when taking an antibiotic, but now-a-days you can’t open a magazine or watch TV without seeing at least one advertisement for a probiotic.  There are a lot out there.  I have some probiotic supplements myself.  (I forget to take them, but I have them.)  I am just wondering if the sudden need for probiotics has to do with the genetically engineered food supply.

I had always thought it had more to do with the idea that a huge portion of the population does not get enough dietary fiber.  I think that has a link to highly processed foods.  Which when you think about it most of the highly processed foods are made from the corn, the soy, and the canola (FKA genetically engineered rapeseed).  So there could be a link.  I think our food and the nation’s health is connected.  Not sure if genetically engineered crops are killing off our gut flora, but it is something to think about.

What do you think?  Do you think that we could be destroying our gut flora?  Do you think there is a link between that and all the probiotic products?

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Colors And Odors Are Brought To You By Phytochemicals

Posted by terrepruitt on April 5, 2012

Phytochemical are the reasons that fruits and veggies have color and smell.  There are 1000 known phytochemicals, with an estimate of over 10,000 different ones potentially able to affect diseases.  These chemical compounds are thought to have a big affect on health but are not considered as essential nutrients.

Some phytochemicals are antioxidants or have antioxidant activity and they have shown that they may reduce the risk of cancer.  They have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects.  And now many doctors and scientists are starting to acknowledge the link between chronic inflammation in the body and disease.  So — to me — anything that can safely help with inflammation in the body is a good food to eat. 

The Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University has a list of phytochemicals.  Under each type listed there is a further breakdown of names of the specific phytochemical, here are just a few highlights

Carotenoids are found in red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits.  As with a lot of nutrients, fat helps with absorption.  So using a little bit of healthy oil can help with availability of the nutrient to the body.
 
Chlorophyll & Chlorophyllin are responsible for the green in veggies.

Curcumin is what gives turmeric its deep yellow color.  Turmeric is considered an anti-inflammatory.

Fiber is a group of different compounds.   Different kinds of dietary fiber include: Lignin, Cellulose, Beta-Glucans, Hemicelluloses, Pectins, Gums, Inulin, and Resistant starch. Research is showing that people with diets high in fiber have less risk of disease.  Fiber helps keeps the body’s digestive system moving things out.

Flavonoids in the case of the phytochemicals are thought to be better helpers in cell-signalling then in antioxidants.  While flavonoids have shown to help with curbing the free radicals, they really seem to shine when it comes to the cell signaling pathways.  They’ve shown themselves to be great at regulating the flow of information in the communication pathways of the cells.  There are different classes of flavanoids, they can be found in red wine, green, white, and black tea, berries, apples, chocolate, citrus fruits, yellow onions, soybeans, legumes, scallions, kale, and broccoli.

Garlic is thought to have antioxidant properties.  Garlic and its Organosulfur Compounds are thought to help fight cardiovascular disease and inflammation in the body.  (And some are now saying that it is inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease.)

Indole-3-Carbinol is found in coniferous vegetables.  These types of veggies are thought to help prevent certain types of cancer.  Some of the veggies that this phytochemical can be found in is cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Isothiocyanates is also found in coniferous veggies.  This one can be found in cabbage, broccoli, and kale.

Lignans (phytoestrogens) are found in plants while Lignan precursors are found in plant-based foods.  Eating a variety of seeds, whole grains, and legume along with broccoli, curly kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, green and red sweet peppers, apricots, strawberries, peaches, pears, and nectaries will net you both.  (according to Livestrong)

Phytosterols can be found in unrefined vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, and legumes and inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

Resveratrol was found to increase the lifespan of some living organisms.  It can be found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts, and some berries.

Soy Isoflavones (phytoestrogens) is one of those things that is good for you, but some evidence says that too much is not.  But they are not clear on that or how much “too much” is. 

As with much of our food supply harvesting and processing diminishes the nutrients available to us.  The amount of phytochemicals actually in our fruits and vegetables after commercial harvesting, processing, and cooking is significantly reduced.  Since the nutrients that we actually get from the food we eat seems less than was intended by nature it is a good thing that most fruits and veggies can be eaten in high quantities without adding much fat or many calories to the diet. 

Additional information from wiki states that phytochemicals have been used as drugs for millennia.  The willow tree leaves were used to reduce fevers and later used as aspirin.

There is much research to be done on phytochemicals.  But it is interesting to know that the color and odor causing compound in our fruit and veggies might also protect us or help us combat disease.  Seems like if we eat a large variety in addition to large quantities of fruits and vegetables daily will be get a good amount of phytochemicals.  One thing I like to think about and try to do is “eat the rainbow”.  Sounds silly, but it really is eating all the COLORS in the rainbow.

Do you eat a variety of fruits and veggies?  Do you eat the colors of the rainbow?

Posted in Food, Fruit, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Recipe Nutrition Information – Online for free

Posted by terrepruitt on August 25, 2011

Nia teacher teaching Nia San Jose, San Jose Nia uses recipe analyzerI was thinking one day, “there has to be something online that can give calories for a recipe.  And hopefully there is a free version.”  There is.  Cool.  Maybe you had thought about this before, I know I have, but I just rememberd this week.  I usually just kind of tally the ingredients and divide using a calculator, but I realized there has to be something online so I Googled it and came up with a few.

FitWatch Recipe Analyzer lets you label the recipe and then you input the number of servings, then you enter each ingredient separately.  You can enter all the ingredients on its own separate line, then click “Search For All Ingredients” or you can search as you go along after you enter each ingredient.  After you click “search” the program will bring up a list of ingredients from which you can scroll down and select the one you want.  After each selection the screen flashes and then gives you measurement options.  Each time you make a selection the screen flashes.  There are only twelve spaces, so you can only enter up to twelve ingredients.  After you are done it supplies you with amount of calories, water, carbohydrates, protein, total fat, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat, cholesterol, and dietary fibre.  It also gives you a breakdown of vitamins and minerals measurements.  Very nice.  Also gives you the option to print it in a nice format.  But the input is somewhat awkward, because of the constant flashing.  I kept thinking my computer or internet browser was going out or down.  Took me until about the eighth ingredient to get used to it.  Then I skipped an ingredient and I wanted them to be in order because I was not sure what information I would get and I didn’t know the format, so I thought it would be easier to just have it in the same order as the recipe.   Going back and inputting the ingredient again really made the screen flash.

Nia is a fitness and wellness practice, Nia Los Gatos, Nia San JoseCalorie Count has you input the number of servings, then you can copy the entire list of ingredients into one box.  That was so quick and easy and AWESOME!  Then it gives you the calorie break down of each ingredient and gives it a grade.  It allows you to add a new item and edit the recipe.  It gives the option to log a serving and save a recipe, but I am not signed up so I didn’t do either one of those things.  So I am not sure if after having done one of those things if you get an option to print.  The format the nutrition info is presented in does not copy and paste very well.  In addition to the calorie count and grade of each ingredient it gives you the Nutrition facts in the common format that is on many product labels.  Under the “label” it gives you a nutritional analysis such as “Bad points:  •High in saturated fat  •High in sugar  •Contains alcohol” and “Good Points:  •Low in sugar  •High in manganese  •High in niacin  •High in phosphorus  •High in selenium  •High in vitamin B6”.  But it does not give you measurements nor percentages on all of the things mentioned in this analysis.

Nia teacher, Nia classes, NiaSpark People’s recipe analyzer makes you enter each ingredient and then search their data base for the closest match.  Its breakdown of the nutrition in the recipe includes: amount of calories, total fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber and sugars, and protein. This recipe analyzer/calculator gives you a breakdown of vitamins and minerals in percentages.  Its nutrition information is in a printable format like the first one.  This site also allows you to save the recipe if you are a member as with Calorie Count.

Really nifty.  I bet there are even more out there.  This is a different way of checking the nutrition in our diet, instead of inputting it all in a food diary/log/tracker/counter, you can do entire recipes.  I want to remind you even though I say it often, we all have different goals so we certainly have different nutritional needs.  These sites are just more tools that we can use to meet our goals and our nutritional needs.

So, I am curious to know if you were surprised at the information after you entered your favorite recipe?  Well, were you?

Posted in "Recipes", Helpful Hints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Quinoa

Posted by terrepruitt on April 19, 2011

I heard about quinoa awhile ago, but I never actually went ahead and bought some to prepare.  I had never had it.  Today I went to lunch at a friend’s house where she made a beautiful and yummy quinoa salad.  I had heard that this grain-like food was GREAT because it had so much protein.  I’ve heard some people use it in place of rice, pasta, or couscous and I was thinking of doing the same thing.  The way my friend prepared it was awesome.  She cooked it, sautéed some vegetables, made a dressing with cilantro, and tossed it all together.  We also added thinly sliced almonds and dried cranberries.  We ate it warm, but it can be served hot, room temperature, cold . . . . however you like it.  It was very good.  I am happy to have finally tried quinoa.

I don’t understand how they categorize things, but quinoa is more closely related to greens such as spinach than it is to a grain.  We tend to treat it like a grain in the way we cook it and think of it nutritiously, but its scientific classification is, as I said related to spinach and we eat the seed.

According to WHFoods, quinoa is a great source of magnesium which helps loosen the blood vessels so it is a good food for migraine suffers to add to their diet.  Even it is actually a seed, as I said they compare it to a grain when it comes to nutrition so it is thought to have all of the health benefits of a whole grain.  Quinoa is gluten free.

A cup of quinoa has 222 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 13 mgs of Sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and 8 grams of protein.  Since it has all nine essential amino acids it is a complete protein.

Even though quinoa has almost twice as much protein and a lot more fiber than white rice, and more than brown rice and couscous, it has much more fat.  A significant amount more.  Here’s some numbers for comparison.

1 Cup of cooked white rice:  calories:  203     fat:  0.4     carbs:  44.1     protein:  4.2     dietary fiber:  LESS THAN 1 gram

1 Cup of cooked brown rice:  calories:  216    fat:  0.4     carbs:  48.1     protein:   5      dietary fiber:  3.5

1 Cup of cooked couscous:    calories:  176    fat:  0.3     carbs:  36.5     protein:   6      dietary fiber:  2.2

I believe it can be a nice substitute for a rice or couscous every once in a while, but I would not consider it as a replacement.  I would like to try it as a breakfast treat with honey and maybe nuts.  I think that would be a good way to start the day. Good protein, fiber, and whole grains.  Quinoa sounds very versatile.  I’ll have to remember to thank my friend again for introducing me to yet another great food.

What about you?  Do you eat quinoa?  How do you prepare it?  How do you eat it?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »