• 26Feb

    Contributed by GMM Community Health Dietitian Laura Delfausse MS, RD, LD

     

    It is February, and whether you chose to participate in Valentine’s Day or not, there is no escaping the topic love and romance. Therefore, I thought an appropriate theme to discuss this month is relationships. Not the ones with your spouses or significant others, but the ones with your food.

    A good relationship is measured by an appropriate balance of give and take. What does this have to do with food you may ask? What can I give my food? The answer – respect. Respect your food for what it is and the awesome potential it has to heal and protect not only your body, but also your soul. If you respect your food it will repay you in more ways than you can measure. And much like the
    relationships in our personal lives, a healthy relationship with food takes constant work. Therefore, it is important to lay some groundwork, so that you will always know where the two of you stand. Here are 2 simple questions you can ask your food before digging in:

    1) Where is the love? One of the first things I ask myself before buying food is how much love was put into this item? If I don’t feel like it was appropriately nurtured, then for me that is a deal breaker.

    What do I mean by this? This answer is very personal, based on my own needs and ideals. Therefore, you are the only one who can answer to this question. Some of you may want to
    know if it was made in a factory or by hand. Others need to know the company’s motivation behind producing a particular product. And let’s be honest about his one, everyone needs to make money to survive. However, some go about the process more thoughtfully than others and, thus, put more love into their brand.

    The drive behind what we do at Good Measure Meals is you and it’s our community, which 100% of our proceeds support. We believe in health and wellness, and we’re implementing our beliefs through healthy meal plans and through support systems, because health and wellness extends beyond just the food you eat. Health and wellness is a lifestyle.

    Do your research and make sure the companies you patronize deserve you. Know where your food is coming from; research a company’s charitable pursuits and business model; take the time get to know your food. Don’t waste your time with superficial relationships, because you deserve more!

    2) Is this worth my time? In other words, what does your food bring to the table? Is it loaded with trans fats and empty calories, but “who cares because it tastes really good?” Or is it bland and unsatisfying, but really helping to keep those extra pounds away? Well here at Good Measure Meals, believe there is no justification for either scenario. The only meal worthy of your time includes
    both health and happiness. Without this balance, you are doomed to an unhealthy relationship with food.

    So, force yourself outside of your comfort zone once in a while. Don’t settle. Build your relationship with food on trust and mutual understanding, and you will be reap the rewards for many, many years to come. You will be amazed at what you will discover!

  • 19Feb

    Article contributed by Charlotte Hayes MMSc, MS, RD, CDE

     

    It is February, the month of passion, love and heart health.  Reminders of love and passion are everywhere – red and pink roses, balloons and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.  I enjoy this month.  The hubbub of the holidays is over, days begin to grow longer, and yes, love is in the air.  But most of all, this month never fails to renew my passion for heart health.  February, not January, is when I evaluate my lifestyle and resolve to take action to keep my heart beating strong.

    February is National Heart Health Month, so messages and advice about heart health abound along with reminders that heart disease is serious and deadly. I realize these reminders are important, but I prefer to focus on the positive things I get to do to boost my heart health and overall well-being.   Here are things I commit to doing – all are fairly simple, enjoyable and proven to improve heart health.

    • Healthy Eating and Drinking: I make my calories count by including lots of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies in my meals and snacks. High-salt foods are out and healthy oils, such as olive oil are in. When I have a treat, good chocolate is something I enjoy – especially since it has beneficial antioxidants. When it comes to beverages, there is nothing better than fresh, cool water. I enjoy sipping an occasional glass of wine which, in moderation, may lower heart attack risk.
    • Being Active: I love being active, but as life has gotten busier with work and family, fitting activity in is not as easy as it once was. My tricks?  I build small, frequent amounts of activity in on busy week days and do more on weekends.  I use a pedometer to track my daily step counts and aim to do at least 150 minutes of activity each week.  Weights and stretching are part of my routine too – two or three sessions per week is my goal.
    • Reducing Stress: This is something that I really have to work on. I tend to maintain a non-stop pace and can easily become over-committed.  I have learned, however, to “just say no” and to focus my energy on doing more of the things I find personally meaningful and important.  I also make time for enjoyment, relaxation and fun – high on my list is being active outdoors.   Even so, I can get to a point of feeling pressure, tension and a racing heart. When I feel these obvious signs of stress, I take a 10 minute break – either heading outside for a quick walk or listening to a calming relaxation CD.   The mind is a powerful tool, and doing what it takes to maintain a positive outlook makes all the difference when it comes to lowering stress and strain on the heart and cardiovascular system.  
    • Enjoying clean air: I stay clear of tobacco smoke.  Fortunately, as more places are becoming smoke free, this has gotten easier.

    That’s my short “to do” list for my heart health.  I hope you are thinking about things you can do to keep your heart healthy too.  To get started, visit some of the informative Websites from the agencies and associations that support National Heart Health Month.

    American Heart Association: www.heart.org and http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/2012-Go-Red-For-WomenHeart-Month-Kickoff_UCM_320383_Event.jsp

    National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/materials/wear-red-toolkit.htm

    US Department of Health and Human Services & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention     Million Hearts™:  http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/index.html

    Remember, Good Measure Meals™ is here to help. We build healthy ingredients into each meal to make it easier for you reach your heart healthy goals.  With Good Measure as a solid nutrition foundation, you can get out of the kitchen which leaves you more time to take a total approach to your heart health.

     

     

  • 12Feb

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Truth

    In its infancy, cocoa beans were used as a form of currency. So,when the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, settled down with a nice cup of hot cocoa, he was literally drinking money.No wonder chocolate has become a symbol of pure decadence.However,with chocolate becoming increasingly more accessible it is losing some of its exclusivity.Nearly everything comes chocolate flavored these days. Even toothpaste!

    With this increased popularity, comes an increased interest in its health benefits. While some of these health claims are well-founded, others are a little more like wishful thinking. So below we will highlight some of these health benefits and determine if chocolate is the super food everyone seems to claim it is.

    The Good:Chocolate contains antioxidants which are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals come from natural bodily processes, such as the breathing in of pollution. Your body uses these antioxidants to combat the free radicals. If you do not have enough antioxidants these free radicals can damage your cells leading to things like cancer or chronic inflammation. One particular kind of antioxidant in chocolate is flavanols. Research has shown that flavanols have the potential to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and to reduce the incidence of clotting.

    The Bad:The above benefits of chocolate come from the bean, not the bar,per say. In other words, chocolate is just one ingredient in this wonderful treat.In order to make it palatable, the cocoa bean must first be processed which includes roasting,fermentation,and sometimes alkalizing (to remove its natural acidity). Some of the antioxidants may be lost in this processing. Once the bean has been processed it is still pretty bitter, so we add things such as sugar or cream to counteract some of that bitterness.Long story short, chocolate may confer some benefits, but you have to also look at the big picture.

    The Ugly Truth:When you take something that is good for you and add a lot of cream, sugar or butter, it can no longer be considered a health food.

    The Bottom Line:Be creative when using chocolate. There are other sweeteners available besides cane sugars. At Good Measure Meals we like to use things like fruits purees, and when it comes to the fat, there are much more heart healthy fats that can be used besides butter or full fat dairy. Canola or olive oil (yes, olive oil can be used in desserts as well) is a great alternative. And if you are really looking for a change, chocolate can also be used in savory dishes,such as chili (see recipe below) or a mole sauce. Finally, if you choose to eat the full fat, high sugar varieties of chocolate do so because it is delicious, not because it is healthy;and when you do so, do it in moderation.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Chili

    Directions:

    1. Brown ground turkey and onion(If using a meat analog, just brown onion, then skip to step 3).
    2. Drain.
    3. Add broth to turkey mixture and simmer 10 minutes.
    4. Add remaining 13 ingredients, simmer uncovered 1 hour.
    5. Remove bay leaf, skim off extra fat.
      By: LauraDelfausse MS, RD, LD

      Community Health Dietitian

      Good Measure Meals/Open Hand Atlanta

     

  • 04Feb

    We took another poll of the staff here at GMM for their favorite healthier dessert-of-the-moment, and we got some really creative responses that are making our mouths water. (You’ll find the recipes at the end of the post!)

    Q: It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day and goodies for our favorite loved ones! What is at the top of your list for your favorite healthier treat of the moment?

    Jess: Berries and Cream Parfait for a super-easy fro-yo fix.  Need to tone down the sweet factor?  Sub a Greek Yogurt to up the protein and add some tang!

    Harmony:  “Chocolate Smoothie a la Harmony!” Milkshakes are loaded with fat and refined sugars, but this is a natural alternative with an equally delicious taste.

    Katherine: Cheese and jam on toast! This is a seriously underrated dessert for all of us sweet/salty food fans.

     

    Laura: Banana Milk. This shake is a good source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C.  There are also no added sugars and it is low in fat. The banana creates a super thick, rich treat, and it is also a way healthier substitute for a milkshake, even though my taste buds don’t know the difference. Banana milk is also a great way to use up the extra bananas I have hanging out in my freezer that were starting to get too ripe. Since I always have milk on hand, it’s super convenient and a breeze to make!

    Chris: Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. Need I say more?

    Sule: Chuice. Fresh, delicious, fruit and veggie juices with an added crunch. It may sound odd, but tasting is believing.

    GMM drinks Chuice for Sule's birthday party!

     

     

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