Posts tagged ‘protein’

September 20, 2017

Can Food Win a War?

save France“Food Will Win the War” was the slogan of the US Food Administration in 1917; can food win a war? I’ve been cleaning out a storage building and a house. I’ve sorted through bags and bags of mail from 1987 to now, disposed of boxes of paper scraps, broken toys, and canned food so old that the cans are leaking. Hidden amid the mountain of junk, I’ve also rescued two baby books, a 1910 teaching contract, antique maps, and a copy of “Food Saving and Sharing” – the 1918 textbook prepared under the direction of The United States Food Administration.

This 102 page book, which was distributed to teachers in schools across the US, provides basic information about food and its function, interweaves cultural myths, and promotes conserving food, cleaning your plate (that probably sounds familiar), and helping the nation and its allies through personal sacrifice. For me, reading this now at a different point in history provides much food for thought.

Food Administration

Established in 1917, the US Food Administration was the agency responsible for the administration of U.S. Army overseas and Allies’ food reserves. The Food Administration’s goals were to provide food for its own troops and those of its Allies in war-torn Europe as well as to feed the American and Allied populations. Although the name sounds similar, this agency was not related to the Food and Drug Administration which was instituted in 1938 to enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Herbert Hoover was tapped by President Woodrow Wilson to lead the organization. As head of the agency, Hoover was quoted as saying, “Our conception of the problem in the United States is that we should assemble the voluntary effort of the people…We propose to mobilize the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice in this country.”

“Food Will Win the War” became the slogan featured on widely disseminated posters, articles, and educational material. Concepts such as “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” were implemented to encourage US citizens to voluntarily conserve food so that more commodities would be available to send to the Allies.

The campaign was successful, resulting in a 15% reduction in domestic food consumption without rationing. In a 12-month period from 1918 to 1919 the US furnished 18,500,000 tons of food to the Allies.

Food Education

About half of the book “Food Saving and Sharing” is food education. I was struck by the accuracy of the information included. With more sophisticated lab technology, years of additional research, and multiple media outlets for disseminating information, it seems that we should have
significantly greater knowledge and be more accurately informed regarding nutrition now than we were 100 years ago. Instead, we have a wealth of confusing, conflicting, misleading information to sort through. It’s tough for most of us to know what to believe.

I recently watched a national TV morning news segment in which an MD stated that yogurt was not a good breakfast food because of all the sugar it contains. She did not qualify that statement in any way and it’s simply not true. Plain yogurt contains no sugar other than lactose from milk. If made at home and processed for 24 hours, even the lactose breaks down.

If milk is a good breakfast food, then yogurt is just as good. Well, actually better for most of us so long as the yogurt contains live bacteria. What’s not so good are yogurts that have sugars, sweeteners, gums, and flavors added. The distinction is important. If that distinction isn’t made, the public is being misinformed. And not just misinformed by misleading advertising (which is constant and bad enough), but misinformed by an authority figure with a national platform presenting the information as fact.

My experience of frequent frustration with current presentation of food and nutrition information, advertising, disinformation, and inaccurately reported research stands in contrast to the simple, clear message delivered a century ago. Reading this book it was interesting to see the food knowledge of 1918.

“Food Saving and Sharing” explains the functions of food and four basic food groups using the imagery of a child shopping for food in an imaginary market. The book explains each food group and why it should be included in the child’s basket. At that time, milk spanned the spectrum of each food group and was considered important for children because of its protein and “lime” (calcium) content.

Here’s what we can learn from the book:

The Functions of Food
1)Fuel to keep us warm and give us energy for work.
2)To build and repair the body.
3)To keep the machinery of the body in good running order.

Food Groups
The first group is fruits and vegetables. (Notice that it was not grains.)
The book states that we need the mineral matter supplied by fruit, vegetables and milk to make teeth and bones. We also need them for vitamins that make us grow. Not much was known about the amount of vitamins needed at that time, but it was known they are important to health.

We also learn that fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water which we also need. Water comprises 60 lbs of every 90 pounds of weight in an adult. (As you can see, this is very close to the 64% water we now estimate the human body to be.) 

While the term fiber is never used in the book, there are repeated references to the “bulk” and “things that are not readily digested” that help move food through the digestive tract.

The second group is proteins.
The word protein means “of the first importance”. Protein is important because it is needed for growth and repair. Children who don’t get enough protein become stunted.

Proteins included in this group are milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, seafood, legumes, and meat. Meat is not necessary if we use the right foods in its place. According to this text, if we rely on beans and peas we need some milk, eggs, or meat as well.

The book also encourages us to get over our prejudice about fish stating, “It is foolish and narrow-minded to be afraid to try new kinds.” (I don’t know much about the origin of this fish prejudice, but my father had it and my sister still does.)

The third food group is cereals (grains).
Cereals are presented as the cheapest source of energy. All cereal grains are good producers of starch. They are easy to cook, but must be cooked for a long time, so prepared cereals have been put on the market. For instance, rolled oats are oats steamed, then crushed between heavy rollers.

Wisely, we’re informed that if we eat more peas and beans, we will not need so much bread, and when there’s a shortage of grains, we can eat potatoes instead.

Fourth is the group called sugars and sweets. 
The consumption of sugars is not highly encouraged. While it is asserted that sugar provides quick energy for emergency rations, it is also recognized that: “Sugar is so agreeable that we are often inclined to eat it in too large quantities or at the wrong time.” It will spoil your appetite because it makes you feel as if you don’t care for anything more even though your body may be in need of food.

Further noted are the facts that you can get sugar from fruits and vegetables and that potatoes or bread will provide quick energy as well. 

The rest of the book sings the praises of our troops and allies and encourages us to conserve so we can support those who live in war-torn areas. While the reasons for conservation may now differ, it is still a timely message.

Can Food Win a War Now?

In spite of a long growing season and an agricultural history, my state reports a food insecurity rate of over 25%. Somehow that seems unfathomable when according to the Environmental Protection Agency, wasted food is the single biggest occupant in American landfills.

Across the nation, the US throws away 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually. We waste between 30 & 40 percent of our food supply while 12.3% of our households (15.6 million) are uncertain of having, or are unable to acquire, at some time during the year, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because of insufficient money or other resources.

Surely we can find a way to win the war on hunger here at home!

Food propaganda? 

“Food Saving and Sharing” seems to only promote the positive aspects of a particular course of action rather than presenting the pros and cons of multiple options. It uses familiar cultural myths to encourage compliance with the course of action it promotes. That sounds like propaganda to 
me. 

Yet oddly, the presentation of the message feels so much more informative, unifying, and positive than the majority of messages bombarding my screens every day, I find myself longing for this kind of straightforward promotion and the message that the US is us.  

The US is us!

With or without this book’s existence, I choose to believe the general premise that each of us makes a difference. Our choices determine whether that difference pulls our families, friends, communities, and institutions forward or leaves someone else with a greater burden. 

Individually, we can choose to leave our fears, recognize our value, and work each day to learn more about nutrition, waste less, face poverty, practice compassion, and make a positive difference. Collectively, we can choose to meet seemingly insurmountable goals.

Food can win this war! We can decide to feed our food insecure. We just need to again mobilize a spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice in this country. We need to embrace the truth that the US is us…ALL of us and we can make a difference!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Food,_Drug,_and_Cosmetic_Act

https://www.archives.gov/fort-worth/finding-aids/rg004-food-administration.html

http://exhibits.mannlib.cornell.edu/meatlesswheatless/meatless-wheatless.php?content=two

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Food_Administration

https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/sow-seeds

https://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/american-food-waste/491513/

http://www.foodwastemovie.com/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/get-know-food/

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