Search Results for “soy”

August 7, 2018

Time for Another Pantry Challenge

My pantry is a mess; it’s time for another pantry challenge. My range broke recently and you can see it in my pantry. Apparently I’ve been cooking less, but buying as if I’m going through food at the regular rate. There are so many layers of lazily stacked pasta, tuna, honey, chicken stock, strained tomatoes, and baker’s chocolate I can’t see what else is in there. My sister calls making yourself use what’s in the pantry a pantry challenge.
pantry
If I make this pantry challenge a game for my grandson DJ, maybe I can accomplish two things at the same time. At the ripe old age of two, DJ has become a picky eater. He used to love broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, bananas, blackberries, steak, chicken, and bacon.

Now he only wants cheese, cheese dip, cheese quesadillas, cheese crackers, and cottage cheese. Funny thing though, he doesn’t like mac & cheese or other typical kid food for that matter. He won’t eat hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, or mashed potatoes either.

Truthfully, he likes hummus, pretzels, applesauce, grapes, raisins, dried mango, dried figs, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and pizza. But we’d really like for him to eat more green vegetables, fresh fruit, and meat, fish, or poultry. We’d also like for him to enjoy whatever we’re eating.
stove
DJ has his own stove – a metal one that I played with in my grandmother’s attic when I was his age. DJ has also started helping me cook. He likes to add salt and pepper and stir with a whisk. Maybe if I let him choose one or two things from the pantry as the basis for a meal he can help prepare, he’ll be willing to taste a wider variety of food.

If he chooses a box of pasta and strained tomatoes from the pantry, we’ll be in good shape. I’ll make pasta with some kind of red sauce that includes meat. If he chooses tuna and green chiles, I can make a southwest tuna casserole. On the other hand, if he chooses a bottle of vinegar and a bag of caramel chips I may have to think for a very long minute.

I don’t really want to reorganize the pantry until I’ve emptied some of its contents, but I may need some rules to keep this challenge headed in a positive direction. Here’s what I’m thinking…I’ll choose 6 items, sit them on the counter and let DJ choose 2 from the preselected inventory.

Then he can help me prepare something with the two items he has chosen. As long as I pick 6 things that can be mixed and matched easily, I can use the other 4 in the same dish or an accompanying one later in the day. DJ is here two days each week. Using 6 items at a time, the excess should be gone quickly.

A quick look in the pantry reveals these possibilities…

Wednesday’s proposed selection can be mixed and matched several ways:
Egg noodles
Black beans
Chicken stock
Tuna
Green chiles
Gluten-free breadcrumbs

Next Monday’s options lean toward something Asian:
Tamari gluten-free soy sauce
Rice
Honey
Mandarin oranges
Raw cashews
Shredded coconut

The following Wednesday could lend us cornbread:
Yellow cornmeal
White cornmeal
Sweet white sorghum flour
Sugar
Shortening
Baking powder

Another Monday will garner ingredients for a hearty salad:
Quinoa
Pimentos
Dried figs
Pecans
Pumpkin seeds
Golden raisins

As I dig deeper, I’m sure to find other suitable combinations. I’ll probably let one day be dessert treats just to keep the game fun. I know I have some chocolate chips and marshmallows hanging out somewhere in the pantry. I can make gluten-free grammy crackers in advance & we can make s’mores. Maybe we’ll make solar s’mores on the back porch. It’s certainly hot enough!

In a couple of weeks I’ll have reduced the pantry contents to a more acceptable level. At that point, I’ll reorganize and get rid of anything that’s too old. Then I can resume shopping as usual.

In the meantime…game on!

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/?s=pantry

May 16, 2018

Feeding An Infant With Down Syndrome Can Require Tough Choices

Feeding an infant with Down Syndrome can require tough choices. I’m writing this post between trips to the hospital to see my new granddaughter, EM, and taking care of her 22-month-old brother, DJ. EM was born on April 24 and had her first heart surgery May 1. She’s currently living in CVICU trying to learn to eat from a bottle while struggling with oxygen levels and respiratory rates the doctors can’t quite regulate. Alongside the significant medical events, the fact that she has Down Syndrome feels somewhat like an afterthought.
room
There’s so much equipment, so much beeping, and such a high level of activity in EM’s room, it’s impossible to simulate the typical newborn experience. Soft soothing sounds, cuddling, and nursing are often limited, sometimes impossible. Everything is geared toward surviving.

Critical to survival outside the hospital is EM’s ability to take in nutrition. Right now she is being fed breast milk through a feeding tube. Twice a day, she attempts to nurse from a bottle. We’re lucky. Her sucking instinct is still strong, but a side effect of the surgery was damage to her vocal cords and now she cannot swallow breast milk. She needs something thicker.
feeding
If you’re interested in healthy eating, good nutrition, and real food, you probably agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that breast milk is superior in providing nutrients for rapidly developing bodies and minds. A child with Down Syndrome already has some obstacles, so superior nutrition seems especially important for EM.

The problem is, how do you prioritize getting breast milk and being able to swallow? It seems like the intuitive idea is to thicken breast milk with some natural substance. You’ll find this idea promoted on plenty of websites.

As it turns out, thickening breast milk safely and effectively isn’t as easy as it sounds and our doctor doesn’t feel comfortable with any of the thickeners available on the market. There’s a lack of data showing gel and gum thickeners are safe for use in infants. At least one of these products has been associated with necrotizing enterocolitis, a bacterial infection of the intestine which can cause death of intestinal tissue possibly leading to blood poisoning (1).

Some web forums will recommend thickening breast milk with rice cereal or oatmeal. This may work for feeding through a G tube (feeding tube), but is impractical for nipple feeding in an infant with difficulty swallowing. The enzymes in the breast milk quickly break down the cereal. These infants eat slowly. The purpose of using cereal to thicken is defeated soon after a feeding begins.

What that means for babies like EM, is they must rely on formula thickened with rice cereal or oatmeal. Our occupational therapists use rice. They conducted a swallow study through which they determined the consistency of nectar is EM’s best option. I have no idea how to describe the consistency of nectar, but they’ve converted that to mathematical ratios so we’ll know how to create it.

If you have a baby with Down Syndrome and difficulty swallowing, you may have some difficult decisions to make. Will you switch to thickened formula and supplement with a few drops of breast milk each day to provide antibodies while working toward the possibility of breast milk alone? Will you give up pumping and switch to thickened formula until you can begin solids? Will you thicken with rice cereal or oatmeal? Will you try to stay in the hospital longer to see if feeding can progress or will you accept a G tube and/or portable oxygen to go home sooner?

It’s a tough spot to be in. All you want is to provide the best possible nourishment for your child so he/she can develop and you can’t use the most nutritional food available because the baby can’t swallow it. And there are other considerations.

Research has shown a higher incidence of Celiac Disease in patients with Down Syndrome than in the general population — possibly as high as 18.6% as compared to 1%. Currently, the US does not screen infants with Down Syndrome for Celiac Disease, and thickening formula with oatmeal could be harmful to a baby with undiagnosed celiac disease.
formula
The issues don’t end there. Rice cereal may contain arsenic. Some brands of formula have ingredients like soy or gums including carrageenan which is banned from infant formula in Europe per recommendations from the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

With my children, I was adamant about only feeding breast milk for the first 6 months and then introducing foods one at a time. I felt really strongly about it. As it turned out, this process helped us quickly determine that each of them had an allergy to cow’s milk. My middle grandson shares this allergy. None have suffered ill effects at length.

This is often not the case. Many children endure sneezing, coughing, congestion, swelling, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tummy pain, rashes, or diarrhea for months or years due to food sensitivities. It can be difficult to pin down the culprit.

Of course we don’t want any of these complications for an already vulnerable infant, but we have to keep things in perspective. If a baby has congenital aortic valve stenosis, immediate surgery may be required. Although surgery will interrupt feeding, it will only be recommended in order to save the baby’s life. If that surgery leads to extra difficulty with bottles if is unfortunate, but choosing feeding over surgery makes no sense.

Babies with other common heart defects associated with Down Syndrome will tire easily when nursing and may have to be fed more frequently. Some of these babies will have surgery when they’re a few months old. This can help endurance, but may detrimentally affect swallowing. Still, surgery is a better option than the extreme fatigue experienced without it.

Not every baby born with Down Syndrome will need heart surgery, but most will have less neck and muscle control than other babies. They may also have a thicker tongue. This combination can make eating difficult. Breastfeeding may be possible although proper latching may take some time and patience.

Bottle feeding poses similar latching problems, but has the advantage of a variety of nipple options and the possibility of dispensing thickened formula if your baby tends to aspirate breast milk. A swallow study may be needed to determine the best solution.

The overall goal has to be getting nutrition into the baby’s system. If we do not accomplish that, it doesn’t matter what we’re feeding. When EM can finish a tiny 10 ml bottle, it feels like such a triumph that it’s hard to be upset by the fact that there’s formula and rice cereal in it.

Sometimes reasonable, healthy goals don’t line up with available options. This can be frustrating and difficult to accept, especially if we’re planners. Remaining a flexible advocate for your baby when presented with difficult choices requires courage, character, and grace. It is not easy, but it is important.

1)https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/warning-too-late-for-some-babies/

https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/necrotizing+enterocolitis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5535317/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK52687/

https://www.ndss.org/resources/the-heart-down-syndrome/

August 28, 2017

Is It Safe to Graze on These Snacks?

If you must be gluten-free to be healthy, you always have to ask: Is it safe to graze on this? In order to answer that question, I always start with the label. I recently purchased a Graze Dark Chocolate Cherry Tart snack. I was in a hurry, so I saved the label reading for later.
graze
I liked the natural looking package and I absolutely LOVE dried cherries, almonds, and chocolate. These are ingredients that can easily be gluten free and that I often use when I prepare dessert. The only noted allergens on the label are soybeans and tree nuts. Buying this didn’t seem like too big a risk.

When I got home and had time to read the label, I saw that the chocolate buttons include something called “cocoa mass”. I didn’t know exactly what cocoa mass was, but I recognized that it needed to be further investigated. I visited the Graze website.

After visiting the site, I still don’t know what cocoa mass is, but I found this statement located next to the list of ingredients:
“allergens
Graze is not suitable for people with allergies. All of our food is packed in the same place, so cross-contamination between any of our ingredients is possible. Our snacks may contain traces of gluten, eggs, peanuts, soya, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, fish and sesame.”

This statement appears next to the list of ingredients for each and every product on the website. It’s interesting to note that there’s not enough of some of these allergens to require a notation on the label, but there’s enough for the company to feel it necessary to note their possible presence in the product. I appreciate the fact that they’ve done so in a clear, visible manner.

Where does that leave you?

It’s always safest to err on the side of caution when you encounter an unknown ingredient. I also avoid products that say they are processed on the same equipment as wheat, rye, and barley or may contain trace amounts of these ingredients. If a label does not list any gluten containing ingredients, questionable items, or cross contamination possibilities, I trust that it’s okay to consume even though it may not be labeled gluten-free.
 
While I like the Graze story of 7 friends who quit their jobs to create better snacks, I cannot recommend these snacks to anyone who is gluten-free. On the other hand, if you’re not limited by the allergens, eat up!

Choose from mixes full of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, superfoods, veggies, and protein. The flavor combinations sound interesting and the packages are easy to carry. Graze has a subscription service, so you can have them delivered right to your door.

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s not safe to graze on these snacks, but you don’t have to miss out on enjoying dried cherries, almonds and chocolate!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

https://www.graze.com/us/shop/dark-chocolate-cherry-tart?format=multipack#tab-ingredient-tab

February 14, 2017

Lunch, Dinner, and Snack Foods that Support a Healthy Lifestyle

Enough generalities, it’s time to talk about lunch, dinner, and snack foods that support a healthy lifestyle. It’s common to view healthy food as scanty, unsatisfying, and tasteless, but there’s no reason it can’t be rich, flavorful, and filling. The key is understanding what your body needs. As far as preparing the food, creativity can reign.

What does my body need from food?

Our bodies need a good balance of nutrients and water. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins. We also need some minerals like iron, copper, and salts. How much of each is needed will vary from person to person depending on age, height, health condition, and activity level.

Rather than attempt to analyze millions of packaged food items, this post will focus on types of nutrients and how much is needed each day. This information can help you compare labels on packaged food or determine how much fresh food to eat.
cucumber salad
Plan to include the following each day:

Protein
Examples of high protein foods: beef, pork, lamb, bison, chicken, eggs, fish, seafood.
Other foods with protein: milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, tofu, quinoa.

Protein is made up of amino acids that help your body build healthy cells. Without enough protein, you can suffer from fatigue, weakness, or muscle loss and your immune system may suffer.

A 3-ounce serving of meat contains about 21 grams of protein and each gram of protein provides 4 calories of energy. Meat also contains fat. In order to keep fat intake at a tolerable level, choose a variety of lean meat, poultry, and fish.

Minimum Protein Recommendation: 46 (women) – 56 (men & pregnant women) grams of protein per day.

Carbohydrates
Examples of healthy high carbohydrate foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes.

Fruits include apples, peaches, pears, bananas, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes, cherries, grapefruit, kiwifruit, avocados, apricots, watermelon, pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, tomatoes, mangoes, dates, plums, figs, persimmons, pomegranate, cranberries, coconut, kumquat, tangerines, olives, nectarines, and papaya.
tomatoes
Vegetables include green beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, acorn squash, onion, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, yams, chard, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, turnips, celery, cucumber, lettuce, arugula, okra, parsnips, rutabaga, corn, and potatoes.

Grains include those containing gluten that is harmful those with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance: wheat, rye, barley; and those that can be tolerated by those with celiac disease: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff, amaranth, sorghum, corn* and oats**.

Legumes include English peas, sugar snap peas, black-eyed peas, purple hull peas, black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans, lentils, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind.

Each gram of carbohydrate provides about 4 calories of energy. Carbohydrates can be broken into two categories — simple and complex. Simple carbs from fresh fruits and vegetables are the healthiest form of carbohydrates. They provide many essential vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. Legumes, which can be either simple or complex, are also a source of protein. It is best for diabetics to limit starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn, and some legumes like pinto beans.

If you have a calorie deficit after consuming the amount of protein and fats you need, then adding vegetables, legumes, or fruits for more energy is a healthy choice. Consume 60 – 80 grams of carbohydrates, plus more to meet calorie requirements. Most additional carbs should come from fresh vegetables, legumes, and fruit (240 – 320 calories minimum)

Fats
Examples of foods that contain fat: meat, some fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, bacon, cheese, lard, shortening, nuts, nut butters like peanut butter, avocados, whole milk, butter, cod liver oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and other vegetable oils.

The body needs to consume the fats that it cannot manufacture. These fats help proteins do their jobs. They help the body stockpile nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and they begin chemical reactions used in growth, immune function, and reproduction. Naturally occurring fats may be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature while unsaturated are not.

There’s a category of fats called trans fats that is produced in the gut of some animals. Small amounts of trans fats then appear in foods made from these animals. There are other artificial trans fatty acids created by an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. These trans fats will be listed on labels as partially hydrogenated oil which is no longer considered generally safe in human food and should be avoided.

Each gram of fat contains 9 calories or more than twice as many calories as there are in a gram of protein or carbohydrate. Consume 63 – 97 grams of fat per day (567 – 873 calories).

Minerals and Vitamins
There are recommended daily allowances for many vitamins and minerals and upper allowances for some. Minerals and vitamins are contained in most of the foods listed above. 

Vitamins and minerals are important for bone health, electrolyte balance, thyroid function, and many other body functions like blood clotting and heart rhythm.

Examples of vitamins that you need: A, B6, B12, Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, C, E, K, and folate.

Examples of minerals that you need: Calcium, copper, sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and iodine.

In order to get all of these vitamins and minerals, you will need to consume a wide variety of foods. If you have been advised to limit your salt intake, it is important to recognize that many packaged foods contain a significant amount of sodium even though they don’t taste salty. 

Water
Water needs are affected by weight, age, temperature, electrolyte balance, intake of caffeine, intake of sugar, physical activity, your surrounding environment, health conditions, and pregnancy or breast-feeding, so you may need more water than the amount listed here. You will also get water from fruits and vegetables, liquids like tea and coffee, juice, milk, and flavored drinks.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and contributes to the function of every body system. Lack of water can lead to dehydration that can drain your energy, give you a headache, cause weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion, fainting, sluggishness, and an inability to sweat. Severe dehydration over a period of time will cause body systems to shut down leading to life-threatening conditions.

Average adequate intake per day for a woman living in a temperate climate is 9 cups. Average adequate intake per day for a man living in a temperate climate is 13 cups. Plan to drink at least 9 – 13 cups water per day (0 calories).
pizza

Okay, but I like chili, mac & cheese, enchiladas, lasagna, pizza, bread, and cookies.

Of course you like these favorite foods. I do too! Chili contains meat, tomatoes, and sometimes beans. That’s some protein, some fat, some carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals all in one pot. The calories will vary depending on the meat you use. The nutrients will vary depending on the tomatoes and whether you add beans. You don’t have to know an exact measurement of each in order to have a healthy eating plan. It’s more about balance and consistency over time.

That means it’s okay to eat the foods you love. If your favorites are high in starch, sugar, or fat, your new plan may include them once a week rather than once a day. If you forget to eat leafy greens, you may want to add spinach to your eggs on the weekend. The specifics of your health plan can be tailored to suit your taste and the everyday demands of life.

If your plan involves weight loss and you feel it’s important to measure the calories of each and every thing you consume, there are many online calorie calculators to help you record your daily intake.

Now that I’ve given you an overwhelming amount of information, let’s get back to keeping things simple. Next time you go to the store, just let FLAVOR be your guide:
F resh food
L imited packaged, processed food and grain-based carbs
A nimal proteins with the least amount of fat and no additives
V egetable and fruit carbs in wide variety
O rganic from local sources when available & affordable
R epeat each day

Then put the following list in your phone so that you always have it available:
Protein 75 – 100 grams per day (300 – 400 calories)
Carbohydrates 60 – 80 grams + per day (240 – 320 calories minimum)
Fats 63 – 97 grams per day (567 – 873 calories)
Water 9 – 13 cups water minimum (0 calories)

I know it sounds complicated to learn what’s in your food and then choose based on what your body needs, but if you let curiosity be your guide you may soon find labels fascinating. And beginning with fresh ingredients can actually make cooking more simple. We’ll show you how this works when we launch the Cooking2Thrive cooking show that’s being shot and edited now.

To help you as you get started, I’ve listed additional resources below, but if you need help with a specific question, feel free to email support@cooking2thrive.com.

Now get out there and love you some healthy food! After all, it’s Valentine’s Day.

*Corn is a grain, fruit, and vegetable. http://articles.extension.org/pages/36971/please-settle-a-dispute-is-sweet-corn-a-vegetable-or-a-grain-what-is-the-difference-how-about-field-

**Oats are gluten-free, but often contaminated with wheat in the US. Those with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance should choose certified gluten free oats.

Want to know more? Check out these links:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/find-out-which-vegetables-are-the-best-for-you?utm_term=.nd0PPDV7DG#.uv2qqyv1ym

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/how-much-protein

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/protein-fact-sheet

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/good-carbs-vs-bad-carbs?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/carbs.html

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramid-full-story/

http://www.drperlmutter.com/learn/faq/how-much-carbohydrate-do-we-absolutely-require-in-the-diet/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423102127.htm

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/vitamins-minerals-how-much-should-you-take?page=2