Sunday, June 26, 2011

B 12

I just read an interesting article on Medscape News that said that Metformin, a medication used to manage Type 2 Diabetes, can reduce the absorption of B12.  Higher doses of the medication were more likely to lower B12 levels and people who took a multivitamin were less likely to have low B12.  In one of the studies B12 deficiency was reported for 22% of the Metformin users.

B12 is a vitamin that is found in all animal source foods.  The body produces a protein called "intrinsic factor" that is necessary for the absorption of B12.  Vegans (people who don't eat any animal foods) are at risk for B12 deficiency as are the elderly (who tend to make less intrinsic factor).  There are a number of medications and stomach/intestinal problems that can also contribute to B12 deficiency.

Many people are aware that iron is related to anemia, but there are also forms of anemia that are related to B vitamin deficiency.  Deficiency of  B12 or Folic Acid can both cause anemia as well.  Since the symptoms are similar for both B-vitamin caused anemias, a blood test is required to choose the correct treatment.  The Merck Manual has more information about B12 and Folate.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nutrition Challenge #1

Becky shared with me that her biggest challenge to healthy lifestyle and living is "balancing my new eating habits and needs with those necessary for teens and those for a exercising high cal eating husband."
"I think planning weekly menus would assist but find when I do that hubs and kids sometimes make the food I had planned to have for dinner for their lunch! "  
That is a challenge!  Here are a few ideas that might help fill up your bottomless pits (in a healthy way) without de-railing your nutrition goals.
  • Plan meals and snacks when you write your menu.  Have high nutrient snacks for the high calorie gang and low cal options for those with lower calorie needs.  Focus family meals on foods that are high in fiber and vegetables that are beneficial for everyone. 
  • Establish "fair game" & "off limits" sections of the fridge.  Put any leftovers that are up for grabs as well as snacks for the high calorie eaters in the family. An upper shelf is good for this so it becomes the first thing that is seen when you open the door. (In contrast, put your low calorie snacks in an opaque container, which serves as a cloaking device to teens.)
  • Set aside a shelf in the cupboard or pantry for high nutrient snacks.  Stock it with individual portions of nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, instant breakfast drinks, and instant oatmeal.  Snack size baggies are good for this to discourage the entire container from disappearing.  
  • Make high nutrient snacks like energy bars, and bean dips  that are ready to eat.  (The teens I know always chose the path of least resistance.)   
  • Dried milk can be added  as a protein supplement to foods that are warm and moist like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, or casseroles. 
I'll work on some meal ideas and post them in a few days. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deli Cheat

I would like to say that every meal at my house is cooked from scratch and reflects perfectly balanced nutrition.  Mind you, that does happen several times a week.  But sometimes I want a healthy meal that takes only 10 minutes to put together.  

A roasted deli chicken provided 2 great meals for the 4 of us.  The night that I brought it home, we had "wraps".  A hearty serving of lettuce from the garden, combined with shredded carrots, tomato & avocado provided the veggies.  Some shredded cheese for a little calcium, and the chicken for protein.

We LOVE ranch dressing at our house and I make mine with a store brand ranch powder packet, buttermilk and a combo of fat-free sour cream & mayo.  The buttermilk and sour cream help reduce the fat and the mayo keeps it from tasting whimpy.

While I'm putting away the leftovers, I make deli salads in 6 cup reusable containers for lunches (or suppers) the next day.

To make things come out evenly, I usually portion out the meat and let everyone else select the amount of the other items they want on their wrap or salad.

This works with any combo of meat and veg.  Tonight I served pre-cooked frozen shrimp with left-over roasted corn, some toasted almonds & pumpkin seeds. While the pan for the nuts was warm, I sliced up a cheese called "Idaho Golden Greek" from Ballard Family Dairy. They call it a "Halloumi style grillin' cheese".  Just toss it into a pan on medium heat and it gets an amazing golden crust on it, while maintaining it's shape.  Next time I'll remember to take a picture of it before I eat it all.  

Next time you're crunched for time, pick up some salad veggies and a deli chicken and make several healthy meals at once.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Mmmmm.   Strawberries.  Trust me, these were even yummier than they look.  I found them in the section behind the weeds that is my much neglected back yard strawberry patch.  I have a few under the roses in the front yard too...but someone always gets to those before I do.  I have a long range goal of getting all the Potentilla groundcover out of the front perennial garden and replacing it with strawberries.

These 4 delicious gems were only 16 calories, but had 1 gram of fiber and 44% of recommended daily intake of vitamin C!  If I get serious about this groundcover scheme, I could protect the whole neighborhood from Survy!  Well, if you talk me into sharing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Choose My Plate

USDA has announced their new logo "Choose My Plate" this morning, which will be replacing MyPyramid. 
Their new logo and revised website to help us to understand the updates to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.  The goal is to start by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.  At least half of the grains should be “whole grains” like whole wheat, brown rice, or oats.  Add variety to your protein choices by including fish and beans.  By choosing skim or 1% milk, you can get all the vitamins, minerals and protein without the extra fat and calories. 

The website still has some great free resources.  “Get a Personalized Plan” allows you to enter information to get a daily food plan that lists the recommended number of cups or ounces of each food group you should eat.  The “Analyze My Diet” option allows you to enter everything you eat for a day and get a detailed nutrient breakdown that includes calories, fats, fiber and 17 vitamins & minerals. 

Go check it out!