Category Archives: Nutrition

ice_cream

Is Ben & Jerry’s Protecting the Environment?

ice_cream

Their ice cream sure is good but are they contributing to destroying our environment?  This ice cream icon started in Vermont in 1978 and claims to be as devoted to stewardship to the environment as it is to creating new ice cream flavors.  The friendly image propelled the brand into one of Unilever’s (their corporate owner) rising stars with revenues close to $600 million a year and growing.  They are, like many other corporate giants, actively supporting industrial dairy which is so damaging to the environment, the cows and the farmers that this system is destined to collapse.

They are still clinging to its Vermont heritage but Vermont is no longer home to an abundance of grazing cows producing rich, creamy milk that is used to make their premium ice cream. CAFO’s are becoming the norm and farmers are forced to grow their herds and increase milk production using artificial methods like feeding cows an unnatural amount of grain-based food, 24 hour confinement and increased number of milkings per day. Because of the price of milk now, the average-sized dairy farm in Vermont is operating at a loss of $100,000 a year. Farmers are only getting about $14 for 11.6 gallons of milk that costs them about $22 to produce. There is currently a petition by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to encourage Ben & Jerry’s to stop defrauding consumers and convert to organic.

The industrial dairy industry dumped 43 million gallons of milk in 2016 due to a massive milk glut.  This was the result of a 2014 spike in milk prices that encouraged many dairy farmers to add more cows to their farms.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed dairy cows increased by 40,000 in 2016 with a 1.4% increase in production per cow. This resulted in milk prices declining 22% to $16.30 with too much milk and nowhere to sell it.

Now we are at a point where dairy cows are dying at an alarming rate by suffering from burnout and disease. The U.S. dairy herds mortality rates are more than 10% a year, which is up from 3.8% in 2002.

The FDA has authority to require milk to be tested if evidence exists that drug residues may be in the milk supply.  Some dairy farms have been stopped by the FDA from selling their cattle for meat after drug residue violations; however, this does not typically extend to the milk.

Now the question is if Ben & Jerry’s will support farming the natural way!  Grass-fed dairy is a viable solution to the problems of industrial dairy.

  • When a cow eats corn and grain the pH of the rumen becomes acidic and destroys some flora and increases systemic inflammation that will inevitably shorten the cow’s lifespan and increases the risk of infection.
  • By raising grass-fed cows it requires fewer resources than growing grain crops to feed CAFO cows as well as fewer chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • A 100% grass fed farm spreads manure over pastures naturally as the cows roam, and there is no need for environmentally destructive manure lagoons.
  • Grass-fed dairy farming works best with small herds and then helps also to support local economies and small farmers who can then claim a premium price for their premium dairy products.  

More than 200 dairy farms in Vermont have transitioned to organic and are returning their cows to a grass-based diet.  Purchasing your grass-fed milk and other foods from a local organic farm or co-op is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting high-quality food.  Try making your own grass-fed milk ice cream at home. The Campaign for Real Milk website can help you to locate a raw, grass-fed milk source near you.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Alcohol_and_Caffeine_Mixed

Alcohol, Caffeine & A-fib!

Alcohol, Caffeine

And exactly how do alcohol and caffeine affect someone with A-fib?  Danielle Dresden published an article that was reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CNE, COI, on this exact subject.  Those suffering from A-fib describe it as feeling like their heart could flop out of their chests while some feel about to pass out.  Still, others feel absolutely nothing at all.

The most common form of heart arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation (A-fib), or irregular heartbeat that affects 2.7-6.1 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Appearing with a variety of symptoms, they do all have the same cause of irregular and rapid beating of the upper chambers of the heart. These episodes can be unsettling and uncomfortable but aren’t usually life-threatening. If untreated though, A-fib can lead to dangerous health conditions.

Those diagnosed with A-fib are about 5X more likely to have a stroke that can lead to permanent disability or death as it can weaken the heart muscles over time, which triples the risk of heart failure.  The risk of dementia also doubles.

Alcohol’s impact on the heart is a subject of ongoing discussion in the medical field.  Researchers believe it can have both positive and negative impacts. A positive with moderate drinking include raising levels of the “good” cholesterol, preventing platelets from forming blood clots and reducing the buildup of plaque in the circulatory system.

Negative effects of alcohol are high blood pressure, heart failure, weight gain leading to high blood pressure and enlarged heart.

Caffeine has many effects on the human body, according to the American Heart Association, but no links have been confirmed between caffeine intake and heart disease.  There is no link found between caffeine and arrhythmia, but reports indicate that drinking more than 5 cups of coffee each day can raise blood pressure. Many health experts believe there is a connection between caffeine, alcohol and A-fib that can trigger an attack.  Researchers are currently investigating the specific causes.

The thought is divided on whether or not people with A-fib can consume alcohol or caffeine safely.  The American Heart Association advises those with A-fib to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine.  A recommended general heart health guideline sets the limits of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.  One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, according to the American Heart Association.  Other risk factors are age, obesity, genetics, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and European ancestry. There is a closer connection between obstructive sleep apnea and A-fib than any other risk factor.  Further potential causes include: certain medical procedures, emotional stress, physical stress, dehydration, sleep, hormones and exercise.

A heart-healthy diet can help those with A-fib, such as eating a variety of fruits, veggies and whole grains, protein sources as legumes, fish and poultry, intake of omega-3 as salmon, herring or trout, reducing sodium, avoiding saturated fats and foods that contain them, limiting oil, avoiding sugary beverages and not smoking and/or being subjected to secondhand smoke. Exercising regularly is essential for a healthy heart function. A very basic level of activity as 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise 5 days a week and muscle-strengthening activities twice a week is recommended by the American Heart Association.

Dr Fredda Branyon

7 Worst Fruits and Veggies for Your Waistline

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but did you know some fruits are chock-full of sugar? How about how some vegetables can go straight to your hips? This seems like nature’s evil joke, tricking us into believing that we are eating healthy when really, we are consuming too much sugar, starch, and carbohydrates.

But before you swear off citrus fruits and leafy greens, keep in mind that not all crops are bad for your fitness goals. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy BMI, here are seven fruits and veggies you should limit:


1. Potatoes

The very-much-loved potato is possibly the worst vegetable if you are watching your weight. As delicious and versatile potatoes may be, they are high in starch and carbohydrates. Excessive consumption of french fries, hash browns, and all potato-rich dishes can lead to weight gain over time.

2. Avocados

This creamy addition to any meal is America’s new favorite fruit. However, large avocados contain a whopping 332 calories. If you are trying to reach a healthier weight, this is one to avoid.

3. Beans and legumes

A single cup of lentils has 227 calories, compared to broccoli with only 31. Beans and legumes might be high-protein superfoods, but you need to reduce your intake to speed up the process of weight loss. This is especially true if you do not have an active lifestyle.

4. Dried fruits

Did you know 100 grams of dried fruit contains 359 calories? It is far more calorific than fresh fruit, which in the case of apples, only has 51 calories per 100 grams. By topping your yogurt or salad with dried fruit, you are adding more than just a fresh burst of flavor — you are also adding more calories to your meal.

5. Sweet corn

This delicious, starchy vegetable is assigned an index number of 55. This means sweet corn increases blood glucose levels 55% as much as pure glucose. A few hours after consumption, you will experience a sudden drop in glucose levels, which will leave you feeling hungry much quicker.

6. Bananas

Bananas are a great grab-and-go option for breakfast, lunch, and snack time. Although these yellow fruits are rich in vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, potassium, and protein, they are also 25% sugar.

7. Mangoes

Most people say mangoes are synonymous with tropical vacations and indulgence for good reason: one cup of delicious mango has almost 23 grams of sugar, which doesn’t seem too bad until you realize it’s the equivalent of a full bag of Sour Patch Kids.

Takeaway

We are always told to eat our fruits and vegetables because they contain vitamins, minerals, and unique healing properties. But like those mentioned in this list, not all are great depending on our individual health and fitness goals. If your favorite fruits and veggies are high in calories, sugar, starch, or carbs; you do not need to remove them from your diet. As always, moderation is key to preventing weight gain and its health risks.

Broccoli Helps Prevent Cancer

Here it comes again! Another reason you should eat your broccoli. There has been research in the past that suggests sulforaphane, a compound present in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, can help us prevent or slow cancer’s progression.

There has been another new study that may have discovered how.

Oregon State University (OSU) researchers have found that sulforaphane reduces the expression of long noncoding NAs in prostate cancer cells that disrupts the cells’ ability to form colonies, which is a hallmark of metastatic cancer.

IncRNAs have emerged as key layers, rather than Junk DNA as previously believed, in the development of numerous cancers. These include prostate, breast, stomach and lung cancers.

As suggested by the studies IncRNAs can regulate gene expression, which is the process by which genes are switched on or off in order to do their jobs. It is believed that they can fuel disease development when IncRNAs become dysregulated. Further evidence from the study other than the role IncRNAs play in cancer, supports research recognizing the anticancer effects of sulforaphane.

This dietary compound has its highest levels in broccoli and can affect IncRNAs, according to the principal study investigator Emily Ho of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health at OSU.

Hopefully, this will open the door to a whole range of new dietary strategies, foods or drugs that could play a role in suppressing cancer or in therapeutic control. The study results were reported in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Whole-genome sequencing on normal human epithelial prostate cells and prostate cancer cells were conducted to reach these findings. Prostate cancer cells show high expression of IncRNAs with one particularly called LINC01116. LINC01116 levels were reduced, however, leading to a fourfold reduction in the cells’ ability to form colonies. These findings support the idea of IncRNAs as a target for cancer prevention and suggests that dietary intake of sulforaphane might be a feasible way to target these molecules.

Laura Beaver, lead study author of the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU says that their results may not only have implications for cancer prevention, but for cancer treatment as well. If they could develop methods to greatly slow the progress of cancer and help to keep it from becoming invasive, it would be of significant value.

Further studies are still needed to understand better how sulforaphane might prevent and slow cancer and the researchers believe these findings help to shed some light on it. The authors conclude: “These discoveries illustrate that IncRNAs can play important roles in cancer development and may be useful targets for cancer prevention, detection and treatment.”

Dr Fredda Branyon

amaranth grain

The High-Protein and Gluten-Free Amaranth Grain

amaranth grain

Amaranth is the general name for more than 60 different species of Amaranthus. Cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years, amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal grown for its edible starchy seeds. However, it is not in the same grain family as wheat and rice.

Top Benefits of Amaranth

Here are five reasons to eat this beneficial grain:

1. A Rich Source of Protein

Amaranth is exceptionally high in protein, providing nine grams per cup of cooked grain. Every single cell in the body needs protein. It is critical for building and strengthening muscle mass, supporting neurological function, aiding digestion, balancing hormones, and keeping a positive mood.


2. Gluten-Free

Since amaranth is gluten-free, it is an excellent alternative to people with wheat allergies or intolerances. Gluten sensitivity occurs when the body reacts to the protein found in the wheat plant (gluten). The more severe form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, which leads to difficulty in digesting food. Gluten can also provoke other less severe symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, skin problems, joint aches, leg or arm numbness, and even poor memory.


3. Reduces Inflammation

This pseudocereal can reduce inflammation, which is associated with nearly all health conditions. When the body experiences a buildup of dietary and environmental toxins, the immune system becomes overactive and activates defense cells and hormones that damage tissues.


4. Aids the Digestive System

Amaranth’s high fiber content helps in stimulating the digestive system to regulate the discharge of bodily waste. Due to fiber’s structure and the body’s incapacity to absorb it, fiber can pass through the digestive system without being absorbed by the stomach’s digestive enzymes. As a result, fiber carries waste, toxins, fat, and cholesterol particles out of the gut.


5. Lowers Cholesterol

A study published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research examined the impact of amaranth on the cholesterol levels of animals models. Results showed that consuming amaranth decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) by 21 to 50%.


Where to Find Amaranth Grain

Amaranth is available for purchase in many health food stores. Since it is gaining popularity, it is sometimes available in major supermarkets, too.

 

How to Use Amaranth Grain

Amaranth grain has a toasted, nutty flavor that works well with many dishes. Here are a few ways to  incorporate amaranth into everyday meals:

  • Serve amaranth instead of white rice and pasta.
  • Combine amaranth with fruit and nuts instead of using oats.
  • Use amaranth as flour to make gluten-free bread or pastries.
  • Blend amaranth with fruit and veggie smoothies to add a nutty flavor.
  • Add amaranth to soups or chilis to create a thicker texture.
  • Make “rice cakes” by combining amaranth and honey.

When cooking amaranth grain, remember to use the ratio of 1/2 cup amaranth to 1 1/2 cups water. Heat the mixture in a saucepan until it boils. Then, reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered until the water is absorbed. This usually takes approximately 20 minutes. It is also more convenient to use a rice cooker instead.

vitamins

Vitamin K2 Benefits

vitaminsSo, what are the benefits of Vitamin K2?  There’s been a lot of discussion about the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, but lately researchers are starting to recognize the one often-misunderstood vitamin that goes unnoticed.

A huge number of the population is deficient in vitamin K, principally vitamin K1 and K2.  Cees Vermeer, Ph.D. is a world’s leading authority on vitamin K2 from the Netherlands. He says that inadequacy in this vitamin is the rule rather than the exception, especially one form that is called menaquinon-7.  

There are several forms of vitamin K and the best foods to eat for vitamin K1, all of them cooked, are: kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens and turnip greens. These vitamin K1 foods are involved in blood coagulation that helps to stop bleeding. When consuming this vitamin your intestines parcel it out in portions known as chylomicrons, and disperse it through your lymphatic system into your blood.

Vitamin K2 has two basic and crucial functions dealing with cardiovascular health and bone restoration.  Several other valuable things are helping to prevent osteoporosis and hardening of the arteries, directing calcium to places like your bones, optimizing sexual function, creating insulin to stabilize your blood sugar, suppressing genes that can promote cancer and enhancing your ability to utilize energy as you exercise improving overall performance.

Vitamin K2 refers to a collection of MK that are found in a variety of foods.  MK-4 regulates gene expression. It is important as all animals and humans are able to synthesize it from other forms of vitamin K.  You can obtain MK-4 from animal foods, but because the conversion process is inefficient and likely varies, depending on your health status and genetic factors.  Also, certain drugs as statins that lower your cholesterol and some osteoporosis drugs, inhibit the vitamin K conversion to MK-4.

Not receiving enough K2 might cause problems with heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. These are all signs of the K2 deficiency. Poor diet might also affect your vitamin K status. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables for K1 and grass-fed raw dairy products and fermented foods for K2.  A general recommended guideline is around 150 mcg of vitamin K2 per day. Some others might recommend a slightly higher amount that is upwards of 180 to 200 mcg.  By eating 15 grams (1/2 ounce) of natto or fermented vegetables each day you can obtain healthy amounts of K2. If you choose to opt for a vitamin K2 supplement, make sure that it’s MK-7.  Also remember to take it with fat because it’s fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed otherwise. Don’t worry about overdosing on K2 as it appears to be virtually non-toxic, however, those who are taking vitamin K antagonists (drugs that reduce blood clotting by reducing the action of vitamin K) are advised to avoid MK-7 supplements.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Delicious and Nutritious Eats: Exotic Fruits from Asia

Apples, bananas, blueberries, and pineapples are among the many staple fruits we grew up eating. But it might be time to expand our culinary boundaries and try some of these exotic fruits from Asia, especially since they are chock-full of nutrition.

Durian 

Deemed as the “king of fruits,” the durian hails from Southeast Asian nations, but is native to Brunei Indonesia, Malaysia, and possibly the Philippines, though disputes continue regarding the matter. Durian is a large fruit, usually up to a foot long and 6 inches wide, with a thick exterior covered in spikes, and a range of pale yellow to red flesh.

This exotic and controversial fruit has an unusual combination of sweet, savory, and creamy flavors all at once. It is widely celebrated for its extensive list of health benefits, including the ability to boost your immune system, reduce signs of anemia, remedy insomnia, stop premature aging, strengthen bones, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, protect against cardiovascular diseases, and prevent cancer.

Durian can also help manage diabetes, reduce inflammation of the joints, promote thyroid health, cure headaches, and lessen symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Rambutan rambutan

The rambutan fruit, also called Nephelium lappaceum, is an exotic fruit native to Southeast Asia. The fruit bears similarities to lychees with its thin, leather-like skin and multiple structures sticking out, almost like a sea urchin.

The rambutan is often referred to as a “super fruit” because of its tremendous health benefits. The fruit is rich in antioxidants that combat free radicals responsible for many diseases, including cancer, inflammation, and heart disease.

Jackfruit jackfruit

This native plant in India is a nutrition powerhouse. Jackfruit is loaded with antioxidants, B-vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium. It also has a high percentage of carotenoids because of the vibrant yellow color of its pods. Further, jackfruit is a great source of flavonoids which, along with carotenoids, protect the body from cardiovascular disease, chronic degenerative diseases, and even cancer.

More recently, jackfruit has become a favorite ingredient in many vegan dishes. It unripe pods are an excellent substitute for meat in terms of texture.

Goji Berries Goji Berries

The Goji berry, otherwise known as the wolfberry, is a bright orange-red berry indigenous to China. This medicinal plant is thought to treat ailments in the eye, liver, and kidneys. This festive-looking berry has a sweet, tangy taste and is often dried like raisins. Goji berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, iron, zinc, and antioxidants. These berries also comprise all eight essential amino acids.

Mangosteen Mangosteen

Mangosteen, formerly belonging to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia, is referred to as the “queen of the tropical fruit” for its impressive health qualities.

Mangosteen gained widespread popularity after scientists discovered its anti-cancer properties. This lesser-known fruit can even boost the immune system, maintain healthy blood pressure, repair damaged cells, preserve oral health, support cardiovascular health, prevent acne, and promote weight loss. Moreover, mangosteen is an exceptional source of vitamin C, which alleviates inflammation and kills infectious bacteria.

Langsat Langsat

Lansium parasiticum, also acknowledged as langsat or lanzones, is a tree species in the Mahogany family. The plant, bearing small edible fruits,  originates from western Peninsular Malaysia. This white-fleshed fruit has a similar outer appearance to baby potatoes, but is twice as nutritious. Langsat contains many essential elements like vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and dietary fiber in abundance. It is also a source of vitamin A, Thiamine, and riboflavin, which are vital for maintaining healthy eyes, skin, teeth, and body tissues.

Koji

New Food Trend, Koji

KojiConsumer behavior is beginning to change in regards to food and is embracing more traditional foods. They are also relearning ancient culinary methods such as fermenting. This could be one of the most positive food trends in many decades as these fermented foods are really important for optimal gut health and plays a crucial role in how the microbiome plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing.

Your microbiome is one of the environmental factors that drives genetic expression that turns the genes on and off, depending on which microbes are present.  According to research, many are deficient in beneficial gut bacteria.

Koji (Asperfillus oryzae) is now embraced by chefs around the world.  It is a type of fungus that has been used for millennia in China and Japan.  Asperfillus ferments and produces a number of enzymes known to be beneficial for animal and human health, which aids digestion and promotes a healthy gut.  Sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar and miso soup are Asian foods and beverages made with koji. Western chefs are experimenting and coming up with all sorts of new koji-fermented products.

Koji is used to tenderize meats, cutting the time required to dry and age the meat from 45 days to as little as 48 hours.  Koji looks a bit like rice pudding or little grains covered in powder. Over time the enzymes in the koji breaks down the connective tissue in steak and rids the meat of its moisture.  The meat is beginning to decompose, and that is what makes it so tender.

Another use for koji is to use it as a marinade for fish, chicken and vegetables.  Marinade for as little as 30 to 60 minutes and keep in mind that the food may burn faster than normal when cooked.  It’s salty enough so do not add extra salt. Koji can also be used as a salt substitute.

The fermentation process produces:

  • Beneficial healthy bacteria that promotes gut health
  • Beneficial enzymes
  • Certain nutrients, including B vitamins, biotin and folic acid
  • Increased bioavailability of minerals
  • Short-chain fatty acids that help improve your immune system function

Optimizing your gut health is a foundational step.  Most people have poor gut health and would benefit from eating more fermented foods.  Fiber serves as a prebiotic and is another important component. Ways that probiotic foods influence your health and well being are: enhancing nutritional content of the food, restoration of normal gut flora when taking antibiotics, immune system enhancement, improvement of symptoms of lactose intolerance, reduced risk of infection from pathogenic microorganisms, weight loss aid, reduced constipation or diarrhea, can help prevent allergies in children, antioxidant and detoxifying effects, reduced risk for helicobacter pylori, improvement of leaky gut, reduced urinary and female genital tract infections, improvement of premenstrual syndrome, improvement of and reduced risk for atopic dermatitis and acne, reduced risk for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, improved mental health, mood control and behavior, improvement of autistic symptoms and reduced risk of brain diseases.

Optimizing your microbiome could be a potent disease prevention strategy.

Dr Fredda Branyon

healthy foods

Low Carb Food Swaps

healthy foodsCarbohydrates are mainstay for lots of people who say they love all those comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, donuts, white rice and bread.  These sure aren’t the foods for someone who has healthy eating on the mind. These carbohydrates are just plain bad for you.

Not all carbs are the same though.  A lot of the good ones provide nutrition, containing things like protein, iron, fiber and B-vitamins.  Simple and complex are the two types of carbohydrates. A good way to separate them is simply substandard and sinful or sketchy.  Just remember to avoid them, as they contain a lot of sugar. The complex carbs are the ones that are commendable, constructive and correct.  

Kim Larson, a registered dietitian from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, says that when it comes to carbs, the simple ones are composed of short-chain carbon molecules that basically head straight for your bloodstream and spike your blood sugar.  The complex carbs have longer chains of carbon molecules and take longer for your body to break them down, so the sugar isn’t dumped into our bloodstream.

As we have all learned, not all carbs are created equally!  Seven nutritionists were asked to submit their favorite low-carb “swaps” for those who want to lower their carb intake without giving up the flavor.  Some of their submissions were:

  • Sweet potato “toast”.  Skip the bread, peel the sweet potato, slice it up and pop the slices in the toaster.  Then you can top it with a number of flavors just to suit your own taste. Be inventive!
  • Mashed turnips.  They contain just 2/3rds of the calories and you get lots of fiber. Wash, peel and steam, or bake them like squash or traditional potatoes.
  • Fava bean flour.  These are known as broad beans and come in a pod similar to green beans.  Mature ones are bitter, so remove the pod and release the beans inside to use in many recipes, including salads. An excellent source of folic acid.
  • Lettuce wraps.  This process has been done for many years in restaurants, so individuals can do the same at home.  Cut down on the white bread and use the lettuce. Collard greens, kale, chard and lettuce leaves are a nutritious way to cut those calories on sandwiches.
  • Applewich.  Replace that bread with apple slices by cutting an apple so you have two circular slices ¼ inch thick, and spread each slice with nut butter.  Top with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon or cherries and press them together.
  • Whipped Cauliflower.  Potatoes have 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 21 grams of carbs.  Steamed cauliflower has 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of carbs.  This yummy alternate to potatoes is the only option now for that mashed, buttery goodness.
  • Carrot “noodles”.  Carrot noodles work well as an alternative dish for a pasta substitute.  You get fewer carbs and the texture is crunchy.
  • Spaghetti Squash.  Another pasta option like this can cut carbs and provide you with potassium, folate and fiber.  Slice the squash length-wise, place with cut side up in baking dish with ½” of water. Salt and butter and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
  • Broccoli “rice”.  Toss broccoli florets into the processor then steam or sauté with a little salt and butter.  This brings a good serving of fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin K to lessen your diabetes and heart disease risks.

Umm. Lets give it a try.

Dr Fredda Branyon

What’s the Deal with Cricket Flour?

The thought of eating crickets may be enough to trigger your gag reflex, but wait until you learn about their amazing health benefits. Cricket flour or cricket protein powder is made from 100% ground crickets. Labeled the “food of the future,” cricket species are quickly becoming an in-demand source of protein for many.

Cricket flour is a healthy alternative to wheat flour and can be incorporated into many recipes, including homemade protein bars, cookies, and bread. This new “it” protein might even replace other popular grain-free options such as almond and coconut flour.

Merriam-Webster describes entomophagy as “the practice of eating insects,” and a quarter of the world’s people now embraces this practice. However, most of the western population is still on the fence about joining the bandwagon. If you are among those reluctant to jump on board, keep reading and you might just change your mind.

An Excellent Source of Good Nutrition

There are nearly 2,000 types of edible insect species, including crickets. Not only are they accessible, but they can be highly nutritious. Cricket flour, in particular, is an exceptional source of nutrition that comprises all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. In fact, cricket flour has nearly triple the amount of protein compared to steak. Cricket flour is also an excellent source of calcium, vitamins B12 and B2, iron, potassium, and essential fatty acids.

Good for the Environment

Beyond their fantastic contribution to good health, eating insects can also be great for the environment. Crickets are cheap, easy to farm, and comes with a minimal ecological footprint (the quantity of nature it takes to support). Crickets also require less infrastructure and do not mind living in dense populations. They also reproduce rapidly and have shorter life spans than livestock. In fact, crickets grow twenty times faster than cows, resulting in faster production and fewer resources needed.

Unlike livestock, crickets also carry a much lower risk of passing on diseases to consumers. And unlike other animals where there is a great deal of waste, the whole cricket can be consumed.

Safe to Eat

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends keeping bugs out of your food, the federal agency allows the consumption of crickets for as long as they are produced, packaged, warehoused, and shipped in a sanitary and wholesome manner. In layman’s terms, the crickets must be raised for consumption and not found in the wild.

What They Taste Like

The taste is nowhere near as horrendous as you may think. Cricket flour has a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, with no hint that you are munching on insects. Besides, the crickets being finely ground should eliminate any woes and worries you may have.

Buy from Reputable Sources

Considering the many advantages of cricket flour, it comes as no surprise that the product is becoming a staple in many households. If you are feeling adventurous, make sure to buy crickets from trustworthy sources. Avoid catching and consuming crickets at random since you can never be sure of what they eat, or if they have been exposed to pesticides.