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The Other White Meat: Cider-Glazed Pork Chops with Barley and Mushrooms

Home cooks often stick to chicken breasts when they are looking for a quick, healthy meal option, but pork today compares favorably for fat, calories and cholesterol. In fact, many cuts of pork are just as lean – if not leaner – than chicken.  Pork tenderloin,  like skinless chicken breast, meets the government guidelines for “extra lean.” According to The Pork Checkoff, six pork cuts meet the USDA guidelines for “lean,” with less than 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.

If you’re looking for a perfect partner for pork chops, whole grain barley makes a great teammate for any cut of “the other white meat.” Barley is low in fat, high in fiber and extremely versatile for any meal. A cereal grain with a rich, nutty flavor, it has an appealing chewy, consistency that tastes like a blend of rice and pasta.


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The Gluten-Free Diet

I once worked with someone who came down with a mysterious illness. I don’t recall how long it was, but it took a while for her to figure out why she lacked energy and was losing lots of weight.gluten

She had an aversion to gluten, and from what I recall, she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. Classic symptoms of Celiac disease include weight loss and fatigue.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. And it’s estimated that a tiny one percent or less have problems with it. But those people aren’t the only ones buying gluten free foods. According to an article at USAToday.com, between 15- 25 percent of consumers want gluten-free foods. Maybe part of what is driving the mini-trend is the news that even people without the serious gluten problems associated with Celiac disease are making the switch to life sans gluten; and there are still some who have gluten intolerance or sensitivity, causing symptoms ranging from bloating to rashes who depend on eating this way.

Here’s more on the gluten-free approach to eating.