MyFoodMyHealth Newsletter Volume 5, Issue 3

In this issue:

newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Featured Recipe: Asparagus Soup
newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Myra's Kitchen Corner:Quick Vietnamese Pho with Fresh Herbs Sautéed Apples in Ghee
newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Genetically Modified Food Labeling Gaining Momentum
newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Nutritionist's Notes: Food Journal
newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Food Safety Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illness
newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Recommended Reading: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
newsletter-ul-li-bullet-whitebkgd Downloadable Diet Plans from MyFoodMyHealth & Kathie Swift

 

 

Featured Recipe: Asparagus Soup

Tender, delicious, fresh spring Asparagus are now in season. Welcome in the spring with this fresh asparagus soup.  It's packed with

Download Recipe

Myra's Kitchen Corner: Quick Vietnamese Pho with Fresh Herbs

This quick Vietnamese pho, pronounced fuh, as in fun, is a soothing one-pot meal that’s flavorful and light, especially after the heavier foods of winter.

The first step is to toast some spices—a couple of tablespoons of coriander, a few cloves, a pieces of star anise, a spoonful of black peppercorns— in a dry heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until the spices smell fragrant, which takes only a couple of minutes.

 

 

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I then wrap the spices in a cheesecloth along with some chunks of ginger and onions. l add this bouquet to two quarts of chicken broth (this is where a homemade one really shines) along with a pound of boneless chicken (breasts or legs are fine), a tablespoon of natural brown sugar, a couple of tablespoons of Vietnamese fish sauce, and a few pinches of salt. The fish sauce consists simply of fermented anchovies, which gives the broth authentic Southeast Asian pizazz. After bringing the liquid to a boil, I lower the heat and simmer the broth very gently (so as not to toughen the chicken) for 20 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through. I love that I can flavor the broth and cook the chicken all at the same time.

While the chicken is cooking, I pour hot water over fettuccine rice noodles, and I assemble the garnishes. I chop some fresh mint, cilantro and basil, cut some limes, slice some red onions, and finely chop a couple of hot chile peppers. When the chicken is cooked, I remove it from the broth and discard the spice bag. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to touch, I tear it into chunky pieces. To assemble the final dish, I ladle the broth over the noodles and chicken, then add the garnishes. I start with the onions and bean sprouts and then add a big handful of the fresh herbs. A sprinkle of the hot chiles and a squeeze of fresh lime at the last minute makes the dish sing! Assembling the dish to order allows me to adjust the spice level for all who are eating. The flavorful herbed broth is nourishing and cleansing, not to mention delicious!

 

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Genetically Modified Food Labeling Gaining Momentum

Controversy about genetically modified (GM) foods has circulated since the 1990s because of fears that they can harm human health. The debate about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has heated up again recently with consumer and health advocates stepping up the pressure about labeling GMO foods.

GM crops may be genetically altered to resist pests, survive drought, grow faster, provide extra nutrients or delay spoilage among other things. This sounds good, but the evidence is inconclusive about whether they are harmful to human health. In fact, several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food such as “infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.” Nearly 50 countries place restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

Despite the uncertainty and controversy today, it can be hard to avoid GM foods unless you buy only certified organic products, which by law cannot include GMOs. GMOs can be found everywhere, especially as ingredients in processed foods. Some of the top GM foods include corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash.

Consumer groups and health advocates have sounded the warning about GMOs because of their potential harm to human health. These advocacy groups have warned that at the very minimum there should be labels on GM foods so consumers can make educated decisions before they buy foods that contain GMOs. Many state legislatures have proposed legislation to label GMOs with mixed results. However, some grocery store chains have added their voice to the GMO labeling movement and the tide may be turning about labeling GMOs. Stores like Whole Foods recently announced that by 2018 it will label products containing genetically engineered ingredients. In addition, several grocery store chains like Trader Joes and Aldi Stores have joined Whole Foods and have agreed not to sell the first GMO animal —genetically engineered salmon. For more information on GMOs and a list of non-GMO products visit www.nongmoproject.org

Nutritionist's Notes: Kidney Health

By Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN

Western medicine reveres the heart, adores the digestive tract and is fascinated with the intricate workings of the brain. But we often pay little attention to our kidneys, the organ that is the cornerstone of health from a Chinese medicine perspective. Our kidneys perform multiple functions including maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance, production of important hormones such as calcitriol (active form of vitamin D) and the excretion of ammonia, urea, and toxic compounds like heavy metals.

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As a child, my grandmother, a practicing health food nut who lived well into her 90’s, claimed she preserved her health and “one” kidney with her daily vegetable juice concoctions. Years ago, as a renal dietitian, I worked primarily with patients on dialysis whose kidneys had been ravaged by an onslaught of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. And in the past decade, I have observed a significant surge of individuals suffering from kidney stones and impaired renal function as a result of the typical Western diet.

What you eat does matter to your kidneys! A number of dietary factors can make a difference in preventing damage to this multitasking organ:

Total Acid Load. The kidneys are the “renalstat” for ensuring proper acid/base balance, which is essential for health. A diet that contains an excessive amount of animal protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs) and too few plant foods (vegetables and fruits) to counterbalance the acid load results in an unfavorable acidic environment. Shift your plate to include a high Plant:Animal ratio at every meal.

Mineral Balance. There is a dynamic and complex relationship among some of the major minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium) that influence renal integrity. The tsunami of sodium from the glut of processed foods in the average American diet has skewed the optimal sodium:potassium balance important for renal health. In addition, excess sodium disrupts calcium balance, contributing to progressive loss of bone mineral content and further compromising renal health. A diet focused on plant sources of calcium (greens, beans, nuts, seeds) and containment of animal protein and salt can reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Fluids. Optimal hydration is an indispensable factor in caring for your kidneys. Each person’s fluid needs are unique and influenced by health status, physical activity, and environmental factors. A simple rule of thumb for healthy individuals is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces (ex. 140 lbs =70 ounces fluid) in addition to the water provided by those recommended 8-10 servings of vegetable and fruits.

These simple dietary principles are food as preventive medicine for your kidneys. If however, you have a renal disease, I highly recommend you work with a Registered Dietitian/Board Specialist in Renal Nutrition as personalized nutritional guidelines are a must.

About Kathie

Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN is the founder of SwiftNutrition (www.swiftnutrition.com), and author with Dr. Gerard Mullin of The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health (Rodale, 2011).

Learn more about Kathie

Food Safety Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illness

One in six people will get sick from food poisoning this year. It often shows itself as flu-like symptoms but it can be very serious – even deadly. What’s the main culprit? Many people might think it is meat and poultry. However, a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that produce is the leading cause of food poisoning in the US. Almost half of all foodborne illnesses is attributed to produce. That does not take meat and poultry off your watch list: according to research more deaths are attributed to contaminated poultry.

Here are some food safety tips to help prevent foodborne illness:

Clean Your Hands Before During and After Handling Food. You should wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds before, during and after preparing food or after handling uncooked eggs, or raw meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices. Not into counting 20 seconds? Sing the song “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end to yourself twice.

Clean Your Kitchen Surfaces. Kitchen surfaces can hide and grow harmful bacteria. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Frequently wash any washcloths in the hot cycle of your wash machine. And that kitchen sponge? It is probably the biggest source of unhealthy germs in your kitchen. To clean it, get it wet and zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes to help kill those germs. Replace sponges often as well.

Always wash fruits and vegetables – even if they have a peel or rind. Bacteria on the outsides of fruits and vegetables can spread to the inside if you cut or peel them. Wash all fruits and vegetables including bananas, melons and apples before you prepare or eat them. For most produce simply run it under running water. You do not need soups or commercial produce washes. Firm produce (like melons which can be very problematic) should be scrubbed with a clean produce brush. Dry produces with a paper towel or clean cloth and your produce should be clean.

Never wash meat, poultry or eggs. When you wash raw meat or poultry, the bacteria may spread because the juices can splash onto and contaminate sinks and surfaces. Eggs are washed before they are sold so there is no need to wash them.

Separate. Keep food separated to prevent cross-contamination. That is how bacteria spread from one food to another. This is especially the case with raw meat, poultry and fish because of the running juices. When shopping separate meat, poultry and fish from other items in your cart. Do not use the same cutting board for raw meat and poultry as for produce or other ready to eat foods. Never place cooked foods on a plate that previously had raw meat, poultry or seafood on it.

Cook Food to the Safe Internal Temperature. This is essential to kill harmful bacteria. You cannot tell if meat, poultry or fish is safely cooked by sight. Different types of foods require different cooking times to be safe. For a chart of safe internal temperatures visit FoodSafety.Gov

Chill. Refrigerate foods quickly so you don’t give harmful bacteria time to grow. A rule of thumb is to refrigerate or freeze perishable, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours. What are the right refrigerator and freezer temperatures? Your refrigerator should stay below 40 degrees and your freezer should below 0 degrees to be safe. Be careful when buying pre-cut produce at the grocery store, often it is not stored below 40 degrees which makes it easy for bacteria to multiply.

 

Recommended Reading

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

By Michael Moss

If the last time you reached for one potato chip and ended up eating a bag, you are not alone. They were designed to make you do just that. Food scientists working for the nation’s food processors use technology to hook people on salt, sugar and fat in junk food. In Salt Sugar Fat, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Moss provides an in-depth look into how some of the best-known companies and brands get people hooked to junk food. While this has led to an increase in profits for these companies, it has also lead to an increase in the obesity rate. Today one in three adults and one in five children are clinically obese. This book is an eye-opening read for anyone that cares about their health or the obesity epidemic in America.

 

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Downloadable Diet Plans from MyFoodMyHealth & Kathie Swift

The MyFoodMyHealth FODMAPs Diet Third Edition

We've recently released the third edition of our popular MyFoodMyHealth FODMAPs Diet. It includes updated information on the latest scientific research related to FODMAPs, the therapeutic eating plan that is gaining ground as an effective protocol to help individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.

Created by MyFoodMyHealth and our Chief Nutritionist Kathie Madonna Swift, the MyFoodMyHealth FODMAPs Dietprovides easy and helpful guidelines for following a FODMAPs eating plan, plus delicious recipes from MyFoodMyHealth chefs. If you suffer from IBS or other digestive disorders, it may be just what you need to help alleviate your IBS symptoms.

Learn more about the FODMAPs Diet

My Foundation Diet Expanded Second Edition

Now with flexitarian and vegetarian recipes & meal plans
The My Foundation Diet created by Kathie in conjunction with MyFoodMyHealth is a seasonal, delicious, whole foods approach to optimizing your health and genetic potential.

Learn more about the My Foundation Diet at www.myfoundationdiet.com

 

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