• 29Aug

    Ashley (the foodie) and myself (the former oncology dietitian) have partnered up to provide cooking demos for Cancer Support Community Atlanta (CSCA) twice monthly.   Our first event at CSCA is this Thursday, September 1st from 6:30-8pm.  If you are a cancer survivor, or a caregiver for someone fighting cancer, come join us from 6:30 to 8 pm to “Flavor your World with Homemade Vinaigrettes.”

    Now you may be wondering, “Why salad dressings?”

    Vinaigrettes can be quite versatile and can instantly change the flavor of any food you are eating.   Taste changes are quite common during and after cancer treatment, and cancer treatment can create fatigue that limits the ability to prepare food.  Vinaigrettes can be a quick and easy way to change flavor of many different foods and Ashley will show us how it’s done!

    Last Friday, we (Ashley and myself) kicked off our new partnership with CSCA the by serving up ”Antioxidant Rich Desserts” to many members of the team of oncology caregivers at Northside Hospital.

    Our Own Bethany & Ashley Serving up Antioxidant Rich Desserts to CSCA

    Serving Up Dark Chocolate Bark with pistachios, dried cherries and ginger; Chocolate Date Balls and Bananas with Chocolate Hummus

    We look forward to be a part of this great community partnership.  Come join us!

  • 22Aug

    As dietitians, we are taught to educate clients about what’s in food, then make specific recommendations for weight loss based on that individual’s goals.  Unfortunately, even clients who are very motivated and educated fail to resist the temptation of tasty high calorie foods, despite knowing they aren’t good for them.  Is there hope?

    Researchers at Rush University believe so.  In this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a research article discusses three processes in the brain and how these can play a role in behavioral change related to obesity and overeating.

    Food Reward

    Recent research has shown that tasty or pleasurable food can easily override the body’s control over energy balance, leading to overeating despite not being hungry.  I’ve experienced this myself when baking homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I may not be hungry, but the smell from the oven paired with my memories of the chewy goodness that lies inside each cookiedrives me to eat for pleasure.  Driving by the smell of a fast food restaurant can stimulate the same behavior.

    The mesolimbic system in the brain (involving dopamine) has been linked to food rewards.  What can we do to help?

    Limit the impact of the reward by:

    • Shopping with a grocery list (no add ons!)
    • Use online grocer that delivers meals, if available in your area
    • Plan meals in advance – Try Good Measure Meals 7 day plan providing 3 meals per day

    Remove cues from your environment:

    • Reroute your commute to avoid the fast food drive thru
    • Instead of baking desserts for parties, offer to bring a healthy dish full of veggies
    • Keep tempting foods out of your home

    Inhibitory Control

    Researchers have proposed that “willpower” over eating is controlled by the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the brain, an area important for self-control, planning and goal-directed behaviors.    When dieters were asked to choose between pairs of 50 food items varying in taste and healthiness, those who consistently choose health over taste had more activation in the PFC area of the brain.   Other studies have shown that greater activation in the PFC is associated with reduced body fat, decreased food cravings and weight loss.    Although the PFC plays a role is controlling our intake of unhealthy foods, other factors, like stress and environment can easily disrupt this control system.

    Knowing this, what can we do?

    • Avoid situations that make willpower difficult to control, such as buffets and restaurants with few healthy options
    • Keep high calorie foods out of reach in stressful situations.  Increase exercise or seek counseling to help manage stress rather than turning to food.

    Time Discounting

    Humans tend to prefer short-term gratification over long term rewards.   This explains why we often give into temptation despite knowing the long term consequences and why the immediate high from smoking or eating a “treat” win out sometimes.  To put it simply, weight loss requires consistently choosing long term reward (weight loss over 6-12 months) over short term gratification of food (i.e. brownie sundae).

    What can we do to help choose long term results over short term pleasure?

    • Focus on short term goals.  Set a daily goal for food intake instead of a 6 month weight loss goal.  For example, today I will limit my calories to 1400, or I will limit my calories at each meal to 400.
    • Have a plan to eat healthy food in advance to avoid the temptation of convenience foods.  A 7 day Good Measure Meals plan keeps your refrigerator full of healthy options – no excuses!

    What behaviors have helped you be successful in reaching your goals?  Please share your success stories with us!

  • 16Aug

    Late last week, the National Beef Packing Company in Dodge City, Kansas recalled over 60,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.  Fortunately, our kitchen at Good Measure Meals received written confirmation from our supplier that our ground beef does not come from this company.

    When a food recall occurs, it makes me a little queasy. Each time it affects our meat supply, I once again consider becoming a vegetarian. Eventually though, the yearning for a juicy burger or steak leads me back.

    We want to believe our food supply is safe, but the reality is that there are many steps in the meat processing chain where contamination from bacteria and toxins can occur.  E. coli O157:H7 can colonize in the intestines of animals, which can contaminate meat at slaughter.  And in the case of ground meat, the processing steps increase the risk of contamination.

    Why the concern with E.coli?

    E. coli O157:H7 is one of hundreds of types of the bacterium Escherichia coli.  Most strains of E. coli are harmless and live inside the intestines of both healthy humans and animals.

    E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly strain that produces large amounts of a toxin causing damage to the lining of the intestine leading to bloody diarrhea. E. coli O157:H7 bacteria can survive at refrigerator and freezer temperatures.

    The quantity of E. coli it takes to make us sick in unclear, but most researchers believe it takes only a small number of E. coli O157:H7 to cause serious illness and even death, especially in children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

    The good news?  E. coli O157:H7 bacteria are easily destroyed by thorough cooking.

    So how can you be safe?

    • The Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends that all consumers only eat ground beef that has been cooked to 160° F to kill harmful bacteria.
    • Use a food thermometer at home to confirm that ground beef is cooked to160° F.
    • Read the safe food handling label on all raw or partially precooked (not ready-to-eat) meat packages. This will tell you how to safely store, prepare, and handle raw meat products in the home.
    • At restaurants, ask that your burger be cooked to 160° F, or well done.
  • 09Aug

    My mom and brother were both raving about the sweet cherries last week.  Have you had a chance to try them for yourself?

    I love fresh sweet cherries but always find them difficult to eat outside the comfort of my own home.  They can be messy – their juice can stain clothes and you have to spit out the seeds  – not exactly the type of fruit I want to eat in front of my coworkers at lunch.

    Dried tart cherries are a bit more office friendly, although they can be expensive.  I usually have a bag at the office and mix them with almonds and pistachios for an afternoon snack. 

    Right now is the end of peak season for fresh cherries from the state of Washington, where 50% of the sweet cherries in the US are grown.   If you haven’t bought any yet, grab them soon before the season ends this month!  Most of us have had the common dark red Bing variety, but venture out and try a different variety (like the light yellow Rainier cherries) if you can find them!

    Unless you have a family of five, pay attention to how many cherries you buy at one time.  I’m guilty of grabbing the pre-made bag just for me, only to have 1/2 of my $3.99 /pound cherries go bad before I can eat them all!   Not a good way to waste money…

    When you get them home, store cherries in the refrigerator up to one week.   If you want to save them for later, remove the pits and store in the freezer for up to one year!

    Now what if you are using Good Measure Meals as a weight loss plan and want to add cherries?  Is there any way to incorporate cherries and still lose weight? 

    Good news!   One half cup of fresh sweet cherries (measured with the pits still in them) only has about 40 calories.   You should be able to add a 1/2 cup  as a snack a couple times per week easily without impacting your weight loss goal.  Cherries are also a good source of potassium and fiber!

    Word of caution:  1/2 cup of dried tart cherries provides about 280 calories, so stick with the fresh if weight loss is a goal!

    Looking for recipes?  Check out Eating Well magazine.

    To learn more about the health benefits of dried tart cherries (my personal favorite in small quantities) and tart cherry juice, visit Choose Cherries.

  • 04Aug

    Over the years, our customers have come up with some really creative ways to share and combine Good Measure Meals plans to make the weekly meal service work for their unique lives. I thought I’d share some of these ideas with you in case you’re looking for a way to make the meals fit better into your lifestyle…

    Do you prefer a 2 meal/day option such as breakfast and lunch only or lunch and dinner only?

    • How about sharing the extra meals from a 5 or 7 day plan with a friend, colleague, roommate or partner. For example – if you want breakfast and lunch only and your roommate wants dinner only, split the cost of the meals appropriately and divide the meals up.
    • Or if you’re looking for a lunch & dinner only option – how about purchasing a 7 day dinner only plan and using some of the dinners as lunches. This works well if you don’t know anyone that wants to share the plan with you and if you have several days during the week where you know you’ll be going out to eat for meals and don’t need a lunch or a dinner every day.

    Do you want a lunch only option?

    • Purchase the dinner only plan and instead of eating the meals for dinner eat them for lunch.

    Make the meals work for your family – there are lots of options to think about for your family. It really depends on your own unique schedule and personal goals. Here are a few ideas…

    • You could purchase a full meal plan and divide the meals up between your family members, as needed.
    • Or how about purchasing a full meal plan for yourself and dinner only meal plans for your family members who need a convenient healthy meal as well.

    Do you want a breakfast only option?

    • Purchase the full meal plan and then split the cost and lunches and dinners with a friend, colleague, roommate or partner.

    Want some more vegetarian meals, but not a full vegetarian meal plan?

    • Order the no seafood meal plan – vegetarian meals replace the seafood meals so you’ll get 2 more vegetarian meals for the full no seafood plan or 1 more vegetarian meal for the dinner only meal plan.

    Want less red meat?

    • How about dividing the cost of the meals and sharing them with a friend, colleague, roommate or partner who is a fan of these meals.

    Please remember: Food safety is important!! Always eat the meals on or before the day listed on the label. Freezing your meals is a safe way to store your meals for consumption after the day printed on the label.   

    Do you have a creative way to make Good Measure Meals fit into your lifestyle?  Share your ideas with us! We’d love to hear from you!

  • 01Aug

    As many of you reading this know, 100% of the proceeds from Good Measure Meals benefits the Atlanta non-profit, Open Hand, which provides home delivered meals and nutrition education to homebound seniors and others living with chronic illness and disabilities throughout Metro Atlanta.

    Fuel for our refrigerated delivery trucks makes up a good chunk of our operating expenses.  And as we all know firsthand, fuel costs have escalated by approximately $1.00 per gallon in Georgia in the past year.  Escalating fuel costs affect our wallets in two ways:  directly when we purchase gas for our cars, and indirectly when we purchase goods delivered by fuel-dependent transportation.

    This year, Citgo will give away $120,000 in gas prizes to 24 charities nationwide through their 2011 Fueling Good Program.  Help us help our non-profit, Open Hand, be one of the charities to benefit!

    How can you help?

    Go to http://fuelinggood.com/rewardinggood?id=792405, click “Vote for Us Today,” enter a valid email address, enter the code in the box, then click “Vote.”

    You can vote daily, so please click on the link above to cast your vote each day until August 15th!