February 12, 2014

Megan's Fabulous Foods

Don’t Let Sugar Break Your Heart This Valentine’s Day!
  In a recent study out of JAMA internal Medicine,1 it was found that Americans who get 25 percent or more of their calories from added sugar are nearly three times more likely to die of heart disease than those who consumed less than 10 percent.
  While it should in no way surprise us to hear that a diet of jelly doughnuts, soda, and brownies is bad for our bodies, it is pretty powerful to discover what an impact our sweet tooth can have on one of our most valuable organs. 
  The thing is, most of us don’t even realize all the different ways we are consuming sugar, so it’s easy for sugar intake to go unnoticed. Let’s say you eat cereal for breakfast. Well, there is likely sugar in that and, depending on the brand, there could be quite a lot of it. If you decide to make a healthy choice for lunch and go for a salad, your dressing could be loaded with a few heaping tablespoons of it. When dinner time comes around and you decide to make spaghetti with whole wheat pasta, unfortunately if you’re not reading the ingredient list on the bottle of pasta sauce it could be filled with sugar. Crazy, huh? 
  While Valentine’s Day usually equals sugar-laced candy and chocolate, why not feed your Valentine something that will nourish their body and their heart! I am going to share two of my most favorite sugar-free recipes. 

  First off, these chocolate chip cookies are not only super simple to make (my two-year-old can help), they taste about as close to the real thing as you can get, especially fresh out of the oven. Also Whole Foods now sells chocolate chips sweetened with Stevia instead of sugar and I will bet that you can’t tell the difference! 
Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies  
 cup coconut flour
   ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
   ¼ cup honey
   1 tablespoon vanilla extract
   2 whole eggs
   ½ cup chocolate chips. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt coconut oil (over low heat in a small sauce pan on the stove).  Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips until they are combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips. On a Silpat (or greased pan), divide dough evenly into 12 small cookies. Note: The cookies will stay the same shape, so remember to flatten them or place them down the way you would like to look when they come out of the oven! Place the cookies in the oven for 14 minutes or until brown on the edges. Allow to cool before serving. 2

  Second, a sugar-free raspberry ripple which is a great option to substitute for traditional chocolate covered strawberries. Plus it comes from Sarah Wilson who permanently gave up sugar. Her website (link below) is chock-full of ideas on how to begin cutting sugar from your diet and great recipes when you start. 

Sugar-Free Raspberry Ripple 

   ⅓ - ½ cup coconut oil
   ⅓ cup salted butter
   2 tablespoons raw cacao, or cocoa *
   1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
   ⅓ cup coconut, shredded or flakes
   ⅓ cup frozen raspberries

  Melt the butter and oil (in a pan or microwave…the oil takes longer to melt so add the butter a little after); stir in the cacao and syrup. Arrange the berries and coconut on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray or plate (a dinner plate is ideal – the slight indent creates a good shape but you could pick up a heart shaped mold from a craft store). Pour the coconut oil mixture over the top and pop in the freezer. When firm either break into shards or cut into wedges. 3

  * The difference between cacao and cocoa is explained very well by the people at a popular cooking blog: “While you might hear the words used interchangeably in colloquial English, cacao actually refers to the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate which retains more of its natural nutrients and is typically used in raw recipes. Cocoa is the type of powder we more commonly see on the grocery store shelves and use in our baked goods.” 4

1. JAMA internal Medicine. Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults.  Pub. Feb 03, 2014. https://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1819573

2. Megsvegucation.com. Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies. Accessed Feb. 11, 2014. http://www.megsvegucation.com/#!coconut-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies/c21fn

3. Sarahwilson.com. Sugar-Free Raspberry Ripple. Accessed Feb. 11, 2014. http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/2012/04/my-sugar-free-raspberry-ripe-2/

4. Noshon.it. The Difference between Cocoa and Cacao. Accessed Feb. 11, 2014. http://noshon.it/tips/the-difference-between-cocoa-and-cacao/

February 10, 2014

Short and Sweet

AARP lists drugs that may cause memory loss: antianxiety drugs, cholesterol drugs, antiseizure drugs, antidepressant drugs, narcotic painkillers, Parkinson's drugs, hypertension drugs, sleeping aids, incontinence drugs, and antihistamines. http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-05-2013/drugs-that-may-cause-memory-loss.html?intcmp=AE-HEA-RELBOX
Unprocessed baby foods lead to fewer allergies: A new study found that babies who ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer packaged foods were less likely to develop food allergies.http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Health-News/childrens-allergies-unprocessed-baby-foods-homemade-foods/2013/08/09/id/519638#ixzz2c565ykOX
8 drugs that even doctors won't take: Follow the link to learn why doctors avoid these drugs. Advair (for asthma), Avandia (for Type 2 diabetes), Celebrex (pain reliever), Ketek (antibiotic), Prilosec and Nexium (stomach acid blockers), Pseudoephedrine (a popular decongestant), and Visine (eye drops). http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Health-News/drugs-doctors-warning-dangers/2013/12/06/id/540421#ixzz2mjY6SnG1 
Exercise plays a 'significant role' in reducing risk of dementia: Cardiff University’s long-term study which began with 2,235 men from Caerphilly in 1979 found factors including diet and avoiding smoking had an impact on preventing illnesses developing in older age. Yet, exercise had the single biggest influence on dementia levels. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25303707#story_continues_1
A meal at a sit-down restaurant may be just as bad — or worse — for your health than eating fast food: Researchers from Drexel and Penn say they analyzed the nutritional content of 2,615 items from 21 chains and then compared them to United States Department of Agriculture guidelines. http://www.jneb.org/article/S1499-4046(13)00708-2/abstract
Wonderful story: Oklahoma’s 'Grocery Store Samaritan' Has Amazing Reaction To Having Her Wallet Stolen! This story is too good to miss. Please follow the link to read the full (short) article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/25/jessica-eaves-grocery-store-samaritan_n_4164691.html