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Seasoned Rice with Black Beans

Seasoned Rice with Black Beans

 

Rice of your choice is cooked in vegetable broth and then seasoned with cumin spice, garlic, onions and jalapeño pepper for full-bodied flavour, then combined with prepared black beans and fresh herbs in this delicious rice dish.

Seasoned Rice with Black Beans

Ingredients                                                Makes: 4 servings
1 cup white/brown rice (your preference)
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp avocado oil, coconut oil ~or~ extra-virgin olive oil (for cooking)
1 small red onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely dice
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 lime, juiced
1 cup black beans, cooked or canned
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro and/or parsley herb, destemed and chopped

Instructions
Prepare black beans. If using canned beans, rinse the beans well using a colander until water runs clear, then set aside. If using dry beans, measure out just 1/2 cup of black beans as they will double in size when cooked. Rinse the beans thoroughly, then soak in purified water overnight, (this helps dissolve the starch that causes intestinal discomfort). The beans will grow in size, so be sure to soak in a large pot with plenty of water covering the beans by a few inches. After soaking the beans overnight, drain the water and then rinse again prior to cooking.

For a “quick soak”, add the rinsed dry beans to a large soup pot and fill with about 3 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and cook the beans for about 3 minutes on a rolling boil. After 3 minutes, turn off the element, cover and allow beans to soak for at least 1 hour prior to cooking.

Drain and rinse the soaking beans with purified water. To cook the beans, transfer them back to a medium-large soup pot and fill with 4 cups of purified water. Bring the water to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to medium; stirring periodically to prevent burning. Cook beans until tender, about 45 minutes up to 2 hours, (cooking time will depend on the freshness of the beans). When the beans are tender, drain using a colander and refrigerate until ready to use.

*Hint avoid adding salt or seasoning until after the beans are cooked for truly tender beans as salt and acidic ingredients can toughen them.

Prepare rice. Measure out 1 cup of dried rice to produce 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice, (depending on rice type). Rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking. Cook the rice according to package instructions in vegetable broth. Add enough water to the broth water (as needed) to cook the rice according to package instructions. (Brown rice will require more water and longer cooking time then white rice).

To cook the rice, bring the broth water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot with the lid slightly cracked and simmer without stirring. When the water has largely reduced and steam holes can be seen through the rice, turn off the heat and cover the rice with a fitted lid and leave for about 10 minutes. After this time, fluff the rice with a fork and set aside until ready to use.

Prepare and sauté vegetables. Dice the onion, jalapeño and garlic cloves. Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced vegetables and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning until the onions have softened and turned translucent.

Add seasoning, beans and rice. Stir in the cumin powder, sea salt, and lime juice into the sautéed vegetables. Cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add black beans, stirring until well combined, then bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Stir in the cooked rice and heat just until warmed, serve immediately with fresh cilantro and parsley. Enjoy with a stir fry of vegetables or a creamy curry korma.


Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

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~Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well~

The 40 Healthiest Foods to Add to the Menu

To maintain good health the body requires the right balance of essential nutrients best obtained through eating fresh whole foods. Nutrient-rich whole foods provide more vitamins and minerals per serving size than other foods.

Whole foods are unprocessed or very lightly processed natural foods like: plain unsweetened yogurt, whole-grain breads and pastas, brown and wild rice, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Whole food-based vitamins and powders are a great way to fulfill some of a person’s daily essential nutrient requirements. But only by maintaining a diet of whole foods and avoiding highly processed, sugary and fried foods can a person truly satisfy their dietary needs.

Through adding nutrient-rich whole foods to the menu on a regular basis, a person can better achieve fulfilling a well-balanced diet with a healthy dose of essential nutrients.

Following is a list of the 40 healthiest, nutrient-rich whole foods that cover all the essential nutrients a person requires daily in order to maintain good health. Eat good and live long.

40 Healthiest Nutrient-Rich Foods

These foods are in order by category such as fruits and vegetables, and not by nutritional potency. For each food item follows a list of their essential nutrients, trace elements and other unique healing qualities.

1.    Blueberries – are powerful antioxidants and an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, copper and dietary fiber.
2.    Lemons / Limes – are very alkalizing for the body which can assist in normalizing acidic PH levels, as well an excellent source for vitamin C, folate, flavonoids and antioxidants.
3.    Bananas – are an excellent source for vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, copper, potassium, biotin, magnesium, antioxidants and fiber.
4.    Avocados – are an excellent source of healthy fats, folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, antioxidants and Potassium.
5.    Papaya –  is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, copper, pantothenic acid, antioxidants and dietary fiber. Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that aids in protein digestion.
6.    Pineapples – are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, manganese, copper, folate, pantothenic acid and dietary fiber. Pineapples also contain bromelain which is a unique protein-digesting enzyme only found in pineapples.
7.    Strawberries – are an excellent source for vitamin C, manganese, iodine, folate, copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, biotin, omega3, antioxidants, anthocyanins and dietary fiber.
8.    Raspberries – are an excellent source for vitamin C, vitamin K, Vitamin E, manganese, copper, biotin, magnesium, omega3, folate, potassium, flavonoids, antioxidants, pantothenic acid and fiber.
9.    Tomatoes – are an excellent source for vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin E, biotin, molybdenum, potassium, copper, manganese, folate, phosphorus, magnesium and dietary fiber.
10.    Spinach – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, choline, omega3, selenium, chlorophyll, antioxidants, pantothenic acid, dietary fiber and protein.
11.    Mixed Dark Leafy Salad Greens – are an excellent source for vitamin k, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium, copper, biotin, omega3, iron, chlorophyll, antioxidants and fiber.
12.    Kale – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, chlorophyll, antioxidants protein and dietary fiber.
13.    Parsley – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chlorophyll, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
14.    Swiss Chard – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, choline, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, antioxidants, dietary fiber and protein.
15.    Cabbage – is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, manganese, potassium, copper, folate, choline, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, iron, calcium, protein and dietary fiber.
16.    Broccoli – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin B2, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, chromium, folate, phosphorus, manganese, choline, potassium, copper, omega3, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, sulforaphane, carotenoids, protein and dietary fiber.
17.    Watercress – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium manganese, potassium, antioxidants and chlorophyll.
18.    Asparagus – is an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B3, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, copper, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, choline, zinc, iron magnesium, dietary fiber and protein.
19.    Carrots – are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin E, biotin, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, folate, carotenoids and dietary fiber.
20.    Bell Peppers – are an excellent source for vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B2, vitamin B2, vitamin K, folate, potassium, manganese, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
21.    Sweet Potatoes  – are an excellent source for vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitaminB3, Vitamin B1, vitamin B2, manganese, copper, biotin, potassium, phosphorus, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
22.    Beets – are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, nitrates and dietary fiber.
23.    Squash (pumpkin, spaghetti, butternut, ect.) – is an excellent source for vitaminC, vitamin B1, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, zinc, omega3, calcium, pantothenic acid, iron, choline, fiber and protein.
24.    Brussels Sprouts – are an excellent source for vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin A, vitamin B3, folate, manganese, choline, copper, potassium, phosphorus, omega 3, iron, magnesium, protein, calcium, zinc and dietary fiber.
25.    Onions – are an excellent source in vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin B1, manganese, copper phosphorus, potassium, folate, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
26.    Garlic – is an excellent source for vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, copper, selenium and antioxidants.
27.    Wheat Germ – is an excellent source for vitamin b6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and dietary fiber.
28.    Quinoa – is gluten-free and an excellent source of manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, zinc, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
29.    Oats  – are gluten-free and an excellent source of vitamin B1, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, copper, biotin, magnesium, chromium, zinc, beta-glucans, protein and dietary fiber.
30.    Plain Yogurt – is an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin B2, iodine, phosphorus, calcium, molybdenum, pantothenic acid, biotin, zinc and protein.
31.    Wild Salmon – is an excellent source for vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, selenium, omega 3, phosphorus, iodine, choline, pantothenic acid, biotin, potassium and protein.
32.    Sardines – are an excellent source for vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, selenium, phosphorus, omega3, calcium, iodine, copper, choline and protein.
33.    Eggs – are an excellent source for vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin D, vitamin A, choline, selenium, biotin, molybdenum, iodine, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, and protein.
34.    Pumpkin Seeds – are an excellent source for manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and protein.
35.    Sunflower Seeds – are an excellent source for vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and folate.
36.    Almonds – are an excellent source for vitamin E, vitamin B2, biotin, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, molybdenum, healthy fats, antioxidants, protein and fiber.
37.    Chia Seeds – are an excellent source for manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc,  protein and dietary fiber.
38.    Flax Seed – is an excellent source for vitamin B1, omega3, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and fiber.
39.    Lentils – are an excellent source for vitamin B1, vitamin B6, molybdenum, folate, copper, phosphorus, manganese, iron, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium, fiber and protein.
40.    Beans (legumes) – are an excellent source for vitamin B1, molybdenum, folate, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, fiber and protein.

To learn more about essential nutrients, their role in maintaining good health and the daily intake requirements of each for child and adult, visit the article Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods here.

Article written by: J. Marshall

References
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / The World’s Healthiest Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / Home: http://www.whfoods.com/index.php
•    Self Nutrition Data: Know what you eat: http://nutritiondata.self.com/
•    Medical News Today / The Top 10 Healthy Foods: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245259.php
•    Prevention / 50 Healthiest Foods For Women: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/50-healthiest-foods-for-women
•    Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-based Approach / The 11 Most Nutrient Dense Foods on The Planet: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-most-nutrient-dense-foods-on-the-planet/
•    Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-based Approach / Foods Database: https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/

Healthy Cooking Methods

How food is prepared can significantly alter how nutritious it ends up being by the time it is put on the plate. It all depends on whether and how it was deep-fried, pan-fried, stir-fried, grilled, roasted, boiled, baked or steamed.

The healthiest cooking methods include steaming, stir-frying, grilling, roasting, baking or boiling your food. Whereas deep-frying food produces trans-fats which cause heart disease. When cooking oils are heated beyond a point they release toxins, which are absorbed by the food; along with fats which are laden in calories.

Pan-frying and stir-frying foods better retain texture, colour and flavour in food, as well as the nutrients. When stir-frying it is important to use only a minimal amount of cooking oil and a little water to prevent the oil from becoming too hot. If the cooking oil does becomes too hot it to can release toxins called acrylamides which are carcinogenic.

Grilling can be accomplished on either a barbeque, or indoors in an oven or with a griller. Grilling food is a healthy way to produce low-fat food. It is best to grill food at low temperatures so not to char the food as charred foods can also be carcinogenic.

Roasting or baking food is another way to produce low-fat food and restrict the amount of oil being used. When roasting fatty foods, place a rack underneath to allow the fat to drip off. Basting foods that produce fat with lemon juice or vinegar while cooking can limit the fat content. Keep roasted vegetables separate from roasting meat so they do not get coated with the fat from meat.

Poaching or boiling foods is done through cooking food in hot water that is not quite at boiling point. The nutrients in the foods will not be reduced much through the boiling process as long as the foods are not over-cooked.

Cooking with other liquids other than oil is another healthy low fat alternative. Instead of using oil try cooking in vegetable stock, wine, lemon juice, vinegar, fruit juice or water.

To preserve the nutrients and to get the most nutrition from food, avoid over-cooking. When preparing vegetables it is also a good idea to scrub them instead of peeling, as many nutrients are often found close to the skin.

When eating the right foods for the purpose of benefiting health, adapting healthy cooking methods can be equally as important. Preserving the nutrients in food also preserves its colour and flavour, so cook it right and enjoy.

Written by: J. Marshall

Designing a Meal Plan

Designing a well-balanced meal plan involves having various steps in check.

✓    Know how many servings from the four basic food groups and expanded food groups are recommended for your individual daily requirements according to the Canadian Food Guide or another trusted food guide. See Designing a Menu with the Expanded Food Groups.

✓    Learn to identify with servings sizes for the various foods in the different food groups. See Designing a Menu with the Expanded Food Groups.

✓    If watching calories, know how many daily calories are recommended for your diet according to a trusted food guide or health professional. See Calculating Calories.

✓    Learn to count calories for whole food items per serving size. See Calculating Calories.

✓    Determine if there are any beneficial foods to add to a meal plan that may help heal a deficiency or aid in healing an ailment. See Essentials Nutrients and Beneficial Foods.

✓    Account for any food allergies or intolerances; as well as special diet requirements (pureed or soft foods).

In the “Meal Plan Example for 2,600 Calories” chart below, it is demonstrated what a single day meal plan may look like. Meal plans are usually designed for a full week.

Written by: J. Marshall

References

Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods

Essential nutrients include all of the vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, amino acids, fibre, carbohydrates and water the body needs on a daily basis in order to meet optimum health. When a person becomes deficient in certain nutrients, health conditions can begin to surface. For example a person deficient in vitamin A may experience poor night vision, dry skin and low resistance to respiratory infections and disorders. Beneficial foods in healing a vitamin A deficiency include sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots and swiss chard. Adding specific foods to a meal plan that are high in certain vitamins and minerals can help heal known deficiencies and restore optimum health.

The various food groups offer their own general health benefits such as being a source of essential nutrients, energy, fibre, protein and healthy fats; as seen in the Expanded Food Groups and Their General Health Benefits chart.

Expanded Food Groups and Their Health Benefits

Essential Nutrients Daily Intake for Children and Adults

How many essential nutrients the body needs on a daily basis depends on a persons age, sex and stature. The three charts following use the DRI system, illustrating the minimum daily intake requirements of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for child and adult; males and females. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) 2005, is a system of nutrition used in Canada and the USA to assist the general public and health professionals in organizing well-balanced meal plans in order to fulfill nutritional daily requirements.

Daily Intake Requirements of Vitamins for Child and Adult

Daily Intake Requirements of Minerals for Child and Adult

Daily Intake Requirements of Essential Nutrients for Child and Adult

The figures in these tables come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) Tables. These are the recommended dietary intake levels of vitamins, minerals/elements and other essential nutrients for child and adult, 2011.

Essential Nutrients Role in Health

Through looking at an essential nutrients role in health and its characteristics of deficiency, one can come to appreciate its value in good nutrition.

The following is a list of articles on specific essential nutrients and their role in the maintenance of good health. A selection of the healthiest whole foods sources for each essential nutrient is also included along with an example of the single serving size and the nutrient content in each single serving.

Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.

Written by: J. Marshall

References

Calculating Calories for Your Personal Diet

Watching calories is a popular practice for those looking to maintain a healthy weight. Calorie counting may also be necessary for people with serious health conditions like chronic kidney disease and diabetes who may be required to maintain strict diets with limited calories.

Choosing fresh and whole grain foods over processed and fast foods is an excellent start, but even healthy foods can sometimes be loaded with calories. Identifying the calorie count of some of your favourite foods may help in the battle.

In the Recommended Calories for the Sedentary, Moderately Active and Active of All-Ages chart it can be calculated how many calories are generally required for a persons diet. As an example in counting calories, let say an adult who is moderately active requires about 2,000 calories a day. If you divide those calories by three for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you have about 667 calories available per meal.

For an adult who has 667 calories available per meal may now make a meal plan also using the recommended food group servings. The Daily Servings Examples for Different Calorie Intake Levels chart gives a general breakdown of the expanded food groups recommended servings for the average daily calorie counts.

The food charts following show examples of the calorie count per single servings for various foods in the different food groups. These calorie counts per single serving can be added together to determine if a meal plan has stayed within its daily recommendation. If it exceeds recommendations then menu items can be looked at to determine if a high calorie item can be replaced with a lower calorie item.

Daily Calorie Recommendations for Child and Adult by Activity Level

Daily Servings Examples for Different Calorie Intake Levels

Whole Foods with High Calorie Counts

Calorie Count for Common Fruits and Vegetables per Single Serving

Calorie Count For Dairy Products, Proteins and Grains per Single Serving

Written by: J. Marshall

References

Achieving Optimum Health with the Expanded Food Groups

Your personal health is your greatest asset. Life cannot be enjoyed to its fullest if your health is suffering. The best way for us to embrace our personal health is through maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy diet comes with many benefits to our personal health such as having a stronger immune system to fight off viruses. It will also greatly reduce your risk of cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and many other serious health conditions; and allow you to live a longer and fuller life.

An optimum diet involves achieving a balanced meal plan made up of preferably organic whole foods from all the different food groups. This can seem a challenge at first but just like anything else can be easily adapted to. Traditionally there are four basic food groups, but these food groups can also be expanded upon. The recommended daily servings from each of the food groups depends on a person’s age, sex, lifestyle and health status.

The Four Basic Food Groups includes: fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. In The Expanded Food Groups, some of the food groups are expanded but also a couple new ones are introduced. Fruits are separated from the vegetables splitting the two into separate groups. Protein is also divided into two groups creating nuts, seeds and legumes as one, and then grouping eggs and meats for another. Two new food groups are also entirely introduced, those being fats and oils and sugars. These groups are created for the purpose of monitoring consumption of these foods, not because they necessarily offer any nutrition.

The daily recommended food group servings can be portioned into a balanced meal plan, which should include three meals a day with small snacks in-between. To calculate how many servings from the basic and expanded food groups, see the chart Basic Food Groups Daily Servings for Child, Teen and Adult. When the basic food group servings are identified, recognizing serving sizes is the next step.

Serving sizes vary greatly with different types of foods. For example an average-sized apple or carrot can make a single serving, but it takes 4 to 6 spears of asparagus or Brussels sprouts to also make a single serving. A single slice of bread can make a single serving as does half of a cup of cooked rice. To see more examples of single servings see the chart Single Serving Portion Examples and Vegetarian Protein Alternatives in Single Serving Portions.

Designing a well-balanced menu using the expanded food groups and the proper serving sizes will ensure your diet is providing your body with all the essential nutrients necessary to be healthy. Eat well, live well and be well.

The Four Basic Food Groups vs The Expanded Food Groups

The Expanded Food Groups Single Serving Portion Examples

Vegetarian Protein Alternatives in Single Serving Portions

Written by: J. Marshall

References

Health-Minded Grocery Shopping

The ultimate way of taking control of personal health is by controlling what foods we eat. Making healthy food choices when shopping for groceries will help guarantee we are on the right path.

Healthy food choices are considered to be fresh whole foods and lightly processed foods over highly processed and fried foods. Fresh whole foods include fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, unrefined grains and animal products such as lean meats and some dairy products. Lightly processed foods can be recognized by their short ingredients lists (up to five ingredients) and common kitchen cupboard ingredients. Highly processed foods on the other-hand have long ingredients lists and contain artificial ingredients you cannot find at home.

Highly processed foods often offer little nutrition if any and contain artificial ingredients of which some have been linked to the development of serious health conditions. Artificial ingredients; such as: colourings, flavourings, preservatives, sweeteners, thickeners, fillers and trans fats; should all be avoided. Learning to identify with the “Ingredients List” and “Nutritional Facts” labels on packaged foods are critical in making healthy food choices.

Another concern in choosing healthy foods today is caused by some modern farming practices. At least half of the foods grown in farmers crops and orchards in Canada today are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which have been heavily sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers and other dangerous chemicals that have all been linked to the development of different cancers or other serious health conditions. Organic foods are the safe alternative, as they are not genetically altered and are grown without the use of dangerous chemicals.

The vegetable oils used for cooking and to make salad dressings can also greatly impact a person’s health in a positive or negative way, depending on what is being used for what purpose. Healthy salad oils include avocado oil and extra-virgin olive oil and healthy cooking oils include coconut oil, avocado oil and then olive oil; all other vegetable oils should be avoided.

Vegetable oils such as: soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil and margarine; are often made from GMO products and have been introduced to dangerous chemicals. Some of the processing methods used in extracting these oils introduce toxins through the refining process and through the use of various industrial chemicals. Vegetable oils are often high in omega-6 fatty acids which contribute to chronic inflammatory conditions. Vegetable oils are also high in trans fats which are associated with increased risk of various diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Eating foods that are local and fresh also help contribute to their nutritional value. The fresher the foods are the higher concentration of vitamins and minerals they will possess. Choose fresh whole foods when shopping and learn to identify with the “Ingredients” lists and “Nutritional Facts” labels on processed products and live a long healthy life.

Identifying with the Nutrition Facts Table

Serving Size: The serving size identifies how much of the particular food item is equivalent to one food serving. Serving size is what the rest of the information on the Nutrition Facts label is based on. If two servings of the food is consumed then the calorie count is doubled, as well as everything else listed on the label. Meaning, “a little” fat can become “a lot”.

% Daily Value (%DV): The % is based on a unique scale of 5% (a little) to 15% (a lot) of which applies to particular nutrients. In the Nutritional Facts example above it can be identified that there is “a little” fat and sodium in the product; whereas there is “a lot” of carbohydrates and very high in fibre.

The daily value scale is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. A persons actual “Daily Values” may be higher or lower depending on their recommended calories. In the chart below the “Nutritional Facts Recommendations” are shown for the above fictitious product.

I hope this helps you on your next visit to the grocery store!

Written by: J. Marshall

References
– FDA, How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm
– FDA; Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064880.htm
– Health Canada, Food and Nutrition, Nutrition Labelling: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/nutrition/index-eng.php
– Authority Nutrition: https://authoritynutrition.com/9-ways-that-processed-foods-are-killing-people/
– Mercola.com, Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/06/genetic-modification.aspx#!

Let Food Be Your Medicine

A nutritious, well-balanced diet is the foundation of good health. Eating in a healthful manner provides our bodies with the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to function properly, to be strong and full of energy, as well be able to fight off disease and infection. Eating the right foods specific to your needs will provide your body with the nourishment it requires to maintain good health.

A Nutritious Well-Balanced Diet

Achieving a nutritious well-balanced diet begins with choosing fresh whole foods over fast, fried and heavily processed foods. Whole foods will provide your body with the nourishment if needs to be strong and to fight off disease. Whereas, some highly processed foods can offer little health benefit if any at all.

Making healthy food choices often begins in the grocery store or food market where learning to identify with the “Ingredients” lists and the “Nutritional Facts” labels on processed food products becomes important. There are many processed foods on the market today that are healthy and offer nutrition; but there are also many products that contain harmful ingredients and processing practices. Researching ingredients and learning more about the foods you are eating will help you to make healthier food choices when shopping.

A well-balanced diet can be challenging and can only be achieved by eating the right amount of servings from the four major food groups or the expanded food groups. For some individuals, calculating calories may also be necessary.

Eating healthy also involves becoming familiar with the essential nutrients your body needs on a daily basis in order to be in optimum health. All foods offer different nutrients, and some far more than others. Learning what foods will offer your diet the most benefit will assist greatly in creating nutritious meal plans. Adding specific foods to someones diet can also help in healing deficiencies and providing aid to ailments.

Developing nutritious well-balanced meal plans and following diets can be challenging, but the many health benefits will be the reward. With the growing number of food intolerances and the high rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes; there is no time like the present to get our health on the right track through healthy eating.

By: J. Marshall

Resources
FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm
Food and Nutrition: http://www.foodandnutrition.org/Stone-Soup/August-2013/Whole-Foods-vs-Processed-Foods-Why-less-is-actually-better/
Nutrition MD: http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/whole_advantages.html