Dietary Supplements

Posted on March 30, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |












Supplements are used by Americans every day for a variety of reasons. Many believe that they are being ‘healthy’ if they are taking their daily dietary supplements. While supplements are great for those who have special conditions (vegetarian, anemic, etc.), I think that we can get the nutrients we need from our regular diet.

About Dietary Supplements

Information from the  National Center for  Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) says that “dietary supplements were defined in a law passed by Congress in 1994 called theDietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)”. According to DSHEA, a dietary supplement is a product that:

  • Is intended to supplement the diet
  • Contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and certain other substances) or their constituents
  • Is intended to be taken by mouth, in forms such as tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap, or liquid
  • Is labeled as being a dietary supplement.

Which Supplements are Most Popular?


Vitamin D:

Some of the vitamin D you need comes from the food you eat, but most of it is made by your body after exposure to sun. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and the two nutrients are often combined into one supplement. An average adult needs about 400 IU of vitamin D.

Fish Oil-Omega 3:

Omega-3 fatty acids will help prevent cardiovascular disease. Fatty fish is the best dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, though plants such as flax contain omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that 0.5 to 1.8 grams of fish oil per day is an effective amount.


Many people don’t eat enough calcium-containing foods. This can add to a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis, or weakened bones. The recommended amount of calcium for most adults is about 1200 mg per day.

Folic Acid:

Folate is a B vitamin and folic acid is the supplemental form of folate. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit and legumes. Folic acid supplementation is recommended for any woman who may become pregnant and may also help reduce homocysteine levels, which might help reduce the risk of heart disease. The recommended amount for adults is 400 mcg per day.

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Drinking Enough Water

Posted on March 29, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

How Much Water Do I Need?

How many of you would be surprised if I told you that the idea of  drinking 8 glass of water each day is fictional? No one really knows where it came from, or who said it first. Don’t be concerned, it can still be used as a basic rule to help you remember to drink water, but there isn’t any scientific evidence behind the recommendation.

One thing that I learned from this video was that we should drink when we’re thirsty. Growing up I remember being told that when you felt thirsty it was a sign of dehydration because you weren’t drinking enough. To me, it makes sense for our bodies to recognize when we need water and to tell us through signs of a dry mouth or fatigue. For example our stomach does it all the time to tell us when we are hungry, not that it’s too late and we’ve reached starvation.

If you are someone who likes having some kind of number recommendation, the Institute of Medicine advises that “men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day”.

And because we are constantly losing water due to activity and regular life activities, the Mayo Clinic also advises using  the ‘replacement approach’ .

“The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. You lose close to an additional liter (about 4 cups) of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace your lost fluids.”

Where Can I Get the Water I Need?

Most of the water we need comes from water and other beverages such as orange juice or milk. Drinking water by itself is therecommended option because it is calorie free and depending on where you get your water from, it can also contain vital minerals for your body. One source to get fluid that we easily forget about is food. The CDC’s nutrition page explains that ” broth soups and other foods that are 85% to 95% water such as celery, tomatoes, oranges, and melons” are also great sources of water.

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Serving Sizes?

Posted on March 23, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

American’s love to get deals with their money. We naturally want more ‘ bank for our buck!’ It’s why buffets and large portion meals do so well here. Portion control is something I’ve always tried to enforce in my own diet and I’ve found that I never need as much food as I think.

One helpful tip that I use is using smaller plates and bowls. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t full or finished eating until all of the food on our plate is gone. This may be from parents enforcing the “clean everything on your plate, before you play” rule, or you eat everything so you won’t have to throw it away (being wasteful) or deal with it later when you are doing dishes.

A way I keep myself from eating junk or snack foods is to ‘hide’ the foods  so that they are out-of-sight-out-of-mind. Because I am only 5’2”, I need to use the stool or jump on the counter to reach items on the top shelf. I try to limit purchasing junk food anyway, but when I do, they are always up on the top shelf. When baked goods, or chips are left on the counter it’s easy to say “ooh that looks good!” and grab a handful whether you are hungry or not.

Here are the suggested serving amounts from the food pyramid –

Either way, I thought that it would be helpful for everyone to have a quick tutorial of potion sizes. This registered dietician gives a quick video showing different food group “serving sizes”.

Managing A Healthy Diet: Judging Portion Control

Some last things to remember:

There’s a difference between portion size and and serving size!

“Portion size is the amount of a single food item served in a single eating occasion, normally a meal or a snack. People often confuse portion size with serving size, which is a standard unit of measuring foods (a cup or an ounce are good examples). Portion size is the amount offered in the packaging of prepared foods, or the amount a person chooses to put on his or her plate.  

For example, bagels or muffins are often sold in sizes that constitute at least 2 servings, but consumers often eat the whole thing, thinking that they have eaten 1 serving. They do not realize that they have selected a large portion size that was more than 1 serving. Portion sizes have increased over time, so make sure you check the serving size on the label”.

Beware of LARGE packaging!

The larger the package, the more people consume without realizing it.

  • Portion out your snack on a plate, not from the bag, to stay aware of how much you’re eating.
  • Divide up the contents of one large package into several smaller containers to help avoid over-consumption.


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Asparagus-Snow Pea Stir Fry

Posted on March 23, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I found this recipe in the Better Homes cook book. It’s a great meal if you want a lot of vegetables in one setting. I usually eat this on top of 1 Cup of cooked whole wheat rice. White rice would be just as good or better, but I prefer wheat.

Nutrition Information Differences in Wheat and White rice.

1 lb Asparagus sears

1 T Cooking oil

2 Tsp Grated fresh ginger

2 Cloves garlic, minced

1 Med. red onion, cut into thin wedges

1 Med. red sweet pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 C Fresh sugar snap peas or frozen sugar snap peas

1 T Sesame seeds

2 T Soy sauce

2 T Rice vinegar

1 T Packed brown sugar


1. Snap off and discard woody base form asparagus. If desired, scrape off scales, Bias-slice asparagus into 2 inch pieces

2. In a wok or large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. add ginger and garlic ; cook and stir for 15 seconds. add asparagus onion, sweet pepper; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add sugar and snap peas and sesame seeds. cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

3. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and  toss to coat.if desired serve with a slotted spoon.

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Quesadilla and Couscous

Posted on March 16, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This next meal idea is something I just put together one evening for my boyfriend and I.  I didn’t feel like taking time to make a complex meal, but still wanted to impress him with my cooking skills. Why not make something traditional (a cheese quesadilla) a little more untraditional (adding some couscous on the side)?

Couscous (pronounced ‘kuskus’) is a North African/Indian meal supplement much like rice or beans is in other countries that is increasing in popularity in the United States.Traditionally couscous is eaten under a meat or stew, but it can also be eaten alone, as a side dish, flavored or plain, or warm or cold.  I love couscous because it is so versatile, extremely cheap to buy in bulk, and literally takes 5 minutes to make! It also makes great leftovers!

Nutrition Facts for 1 serving of Couscous



-1 Cup Couscous

-1 Can Kernel Corn

-3 Onions

-2 Cups Chicken Broth

-1 Whole Cucumber


– 1 Flour Tortilla

– 2 Slices or 1/4 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese ( or any other cheese of preference )


1. Boil the 2 Cups of chicken broth in a medium sized pot.

2. Chop and dice onion and cucumber so it’s ready to add.

3. Once the broth is to a rapid boil pour in the cup of couscous. Reduce heat to low/simmer. Quickly stir in can of corn and onion and then cover for 5 minutes

4. Heat frying pan to medium heat. Place slices or sprinkle shredded cheese onto half of the tortilla. Fold in half and place directly on the pan. Flip over when the side touching the pan is a light brown color. Remove from pan when cheese is melted and both sides of the tortilla are a light brown color.

5. When couscous is ready to eat, add the slices of cucumber for a nice ‘cool’ flavor.


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Chicken Pot Pie

Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Alright! Now that we have covered some essential nutrition topics lets see some recipes and meal ideas!

Do you miss mom’s homemade chicken pot pie? Are you tired of eating the Marie Calender’s microwaveable version that contains loads of sodium,saturated fat, and trans fats? Finding meals that include all of the food groups of the food pyramid can be a difficult challenge. This is a simple solution to add more vegetables into you diet (peas,corn, carrots, and green beans). I came across this idea my sophomore year and while it doesn’t compare with a real homemade pie, it satisfies the stomach and the wallet.


– 1 Large can of canned chicken, or sliced and boiled chicken breast

– 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (corn,peas,carrots)

-1 biscuit package (Pillsbury Dough Boy, Western Family, or whatever other brand you prefer. I like the flaky options)

– 1 can cream of chicken

-1/4 C milk

– Salt and Pepper to Taste


1. Cook the vegetables according to the packaging

2. While the vegetables are steaming, mix the can of cream of chicken, 1/4 C milk, and salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken pieces or can of chicken.

3. Strain the vegetables from the water and mix in with the sauce and chicken.

4. Pour the mixture into a 8’X 11′ Cassondra dish

5. Pop open the biscuit package and place the dough on top in a row until the entire filling is covered with the dough.

6. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked all the way through. It may require more time for the bottom of the biscuits to cook all the way through.

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The Better Fats For You

Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Here’s a list straight from the American Heart Association to help clear some concerns about where to find these monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated: Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, avocados, and many nuts and seeds.





Polyunsaturated: A number of vegetable oils (soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil), oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel,herring and trout), and most nuts and seeds.  The polyunsaturated fats are either from the omega-3 (for example, seafood) or omega-6 (for example, most vegetable oils) family.

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Saturated and Trans Fats

Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Other health concerns that can weasel their way into the ‘college diet’, are saturated and trans fatty acids. As well as contributing sodium, processed and T.V. dinners can also contain these unhealthy fats because most of them go through the process of hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is when companies add hydrogen to healthier unsaturated fatty acids to make them more solid resisting the changes caused by oxidation (spoiling). Therefore, hydrogenation is how we get our saturated and trans fats.

Saturated Fats:

Top Contributors of saturated fats (percentage equals the total saturated fat intake to a U.S. Diet):

1. Cheese – 13%

The molecular make-up of the saturated fat shown at the top of this figure is straight and will easily stack together with other saturated molecules. The unsaturated fatty acids have a double carbon bond that is easily targed for breakdown by the body.2. Beef- 12%

2. Beef- 12%

3. Milk- 8%

4. Oils -5%

5. Ice cream/sherbet- 5%

6. Cakes/Cookies/Doughnuts- 5%

7. Butter- 5%

8. Other Fats ( Shortening and Animal Fats)-4%

9. Salad dressings Mayonnaise-4%

10. Poultry-4%

Trans Fats:

Top Contributors of Trans Fat ( I don’t have percentages for these food items because it is low, but a low percentage of trans fat can still raise lipoprotien  blood levels).

1. Fast Foods


3. Cookies

4. Crackers

5. Cake Products and Frosting

6. Breads

7. Stick Margarine

8. Commercially Fried Chicken

9. Commercially Fried Fish Products

10. Other Commercially Prepared Foods.

Trans Fatty Acids raise  the levels of lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood and has the ability to lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ( good cholesterol).

Daily Recommended Intake:

The Daily Recommended Intake for these fats are to eat the minimum amount while while still eating a nutrient rich diet. The American Heart Association says to “limit saturated fat to less than 7% of total calories consumed.” From the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it says to “keep trans fat intake as low as possible”. This answer is extremely vague. Keep trans fat as low as possible? How do we know when we’ve had too much? What’s a safe amount? Well, from my basic nutrition class at BYU, we decided that a diet with less than or equal to 2-3 grams of trans fat for an adult active male was best so there is some kind of number to reference off of.

As a replacement for trans and saturated fats, we can use monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These fatty acids have a different molecular make-up that is broken down by enzymes in the body. From the book Trans Fatty Acids and Heart Disease it states that, “based on the effects of TFAs on lipid levels, it has been estimated that replacing all of the TFAs from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in the U.S. diet with cis-unsaturated fatty acids could lead to as much as a 3 to 6 percent reduction in heart disease risk”.

The best diet to help increase your heart health includes an adequate supply of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains that supply abundant nutrients including fiber  as well as antioxidants.

Misconceptions or Questions:

All fats are bad for the body.

Because there has been a large concern with the health risks associated with saturated and trans fats, most people believe that any kind of fat is bad for them altogether. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are actually good for the body. Fats help the feeling of satiety (fullness) after a meal by slowing down the process of digestion so we don’t need to constantly be eating all the time to subdue hunger.

When purchasing ground beef, which packaging has the least fat?

I have found that ground round beef is the best option with a 3oz. package containing about 1.5 tsp. of fat and 4 g. of saturated fat.

  • Ground Round

– 10% fat, 180 calories/ 3 oz., 1.5 tsp fat, 4 g. saturated fat

  • Commercial ground Turkey

-13% fat, 200 calories/3 ox., 2.25 tsp fat, 3g. saturated fat

  • Ground Chuck

-16% fat, 220 calories/3 oz., 3 tsp fat, 6 g. saturated fat

  • Regular Ground Beef

-23% fat, 260 calories/4.5 tsp fat, 8 g. saturated fat

Long-Term Health Effects:

  • High Blood pressure
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
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Posted on March 10, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Having a diet low in sodium is a common concern for most Americans right now. Nutritionists have come out and warned us of the long term effects, and that we should limit our overall consumption of it. Here’s a basic overview of where we find sodium, how much we should be consuming and the long-term effects from having too much.

Sodium: We hear a lot about it these days, but where exactly do we find it?

We get sodium from salt (regular table salt, sea salt, seasoning salt, onion salt, or garlic salt), soy sauce, and condiments and other sauces. When consuming large amounts of sodium, it is best to drink a lot of water to help flush it out of the kidney’s.

Sodium Intake:

The Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for sodium

  • 1,500 mg for healthy active young adults
  • 1,300 for those who are 51-70
  • 1,200 for those 70+ years of age.

Because Americans consume an average of 3,000 mg./day (8 grams of salt)  there is a set tolerable upper intake level of 2,300 mg/day


Eating too much salt will make you gain weight

–  Eating a lot of salt without proper hydration will actually make you gain water weight rather than fat.

Foods that are high in sodium are only from fast food and convenience meals.

– Although is true that the foods containing the most sodium per serving are usually from fast food restaurants and T.V. dinners, salt added at home (either in cooking, added at the dinner table, or in the form of sauces and condiments) surprisingly contributes to 15% of the total sodium in the U.S. diet.

Long-term Health effects of High Sodium Intake:

Even increasing your sodium intake by small increments can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk hypertension, heart disease, cerebral hemorrhage or hypertension-related sodium.

High Risk Candidates of high blood pressure from sodium:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney Disease
  • African Ethnicity
  • Direct Genetic history in handling sodium
  • Over the age of 50
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Food Safety

Posted on March 9, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

quickly rinsing fruits and vegetables can remove dirt and germs that may infect your food

Food Safety

I’m sure by now most of us know that we should wash our hands, use separate utensils when cutting raw meats and vegetables, and refrigerate our milk, but just in case I wanted to go over some of the basics.

For more information on food saftey, click here. There is also a short video describing the following information.

Buying Tips

  • Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged.
  • When selecting fresh-cut produce – such as a half a watermelon or bagged salad greens – choose items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
  • Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry and seafood products.

Storage Tips

  • Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below.
  • Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled.

Canned Foods

  • Avoid buying canned goods that show signs of bulging, denting or leaking.
  • Throw away any canned goods in your pantry with similar signs of bulging, denting or leaking
  • Store canned goods in a cool, dry place–not above the oven or under the sink.
  • As a general rule, canned goods can be kept up to 12 months unopened
  • Clean cans before opening them to avoid contamination of contents

Preparation Tips

  • Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.
  • All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.
  • Many precut, bagged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed. If the package indicates that the contents have been pre-washed, you can use the produce without further washing.
  • Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.
  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
  • Drying produce with a

If you forget or have a hard time telling when your meat is done cooking like I do, here are the exact temperatures for most of your carnivore cravings.

Minimum Cooking Temperatures

Category Food Temperature (°F)
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160
Turkey, Chicken 165
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145
Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165
Poultry breasts, roasts 165
Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165
Duck & Goose 165
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 160
Fresh ham (raw) 160
Precooked ham (to reheat) 140
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm
Egg dishes 160
Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers 165
Casseroles 165

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