Tag Archives: mediterranean diet

Saturated Fats Don’t Cause Heart Disease? New Research Revealed

Are saturated fats inherently bad for you? For years, the idea drilled into our heads has been that the saturated fats found in meat, cheese, and butter are to be largely avoided due to the increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease. But now we’re not so sure.

sat fat

A new analysis of research was released in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine this week, and reported by the New York Times health blog here, cast doubt upon this guideline.

The new research reviewed over 80 studies that looked at what the participants reportedly ate, plus blood test results that measured fatty acids and cholesterol levels. This analysis did not find increased heart disease in those who ate less saturated fat, nor did it find less disease in those eating more unsaturated fat—the good stuff found in natural foods like olive oil, fish, and avocados. It did, however, notice a benefit in those taking Omega-3 fish-oil supplements in preventing the onset of heart disease. (more…)

10 No-Nonsense Tips for Improving Your Heart Health Today

By Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in both men and women. Luckily, it’s preventable and controllable. With new cholesterol guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, more and more Americans will be prescribed drugs known as statins to lower cholesterol. Of course, there’s another way to get results: Diet and exercise are the foundations for heart health and are without the side effects of drugs.
Layne heart

I’m a Registered Dietician, a Culinary Nutritionist, and Author of “Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy” but I have an even deeper personal connection to this topic: I was diagnosed with high cholesterol at age 9.

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A Fork in the Road: European Eating Beyond the Mediterranean Diet

Americans love fad diets. There is a long history of attaching ourselves to the next fad, dating back to the Vinegar diet in 1820. (No wonder I am constantly being asked to find a quick fix to the growing obesity epidemic in our country.) However, this is not the case in Europe where food culture and traditions hold fast against the deep pockets of the weight loss industry. Europeans have an innate sense to diet sensibly without falling victim to the 40 billion dollar weight loss industry that we Americans buy into year after year.

Eiffel tower food

Luckily, the tide may be turning in the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission recently announced an initiative against deceptive claims made by marketers of fad weight loss products. From food additives to dietary supplements, the government is making a move to intervene and crack down on deceptive and misleading propaganda.

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Have a Healthy Weekend! Make the Most of Your Last Saturday and Sunday of 2013!

Welcome to the weekend! Saturdays and Sundays may mean relaxed diet and fitness rules during much of the year, but the timing of this specific weekend—right between Christmas and New Year’s Eve—may inspire you to get in a few final acts of health in 2013. If you’re feeling like you could use a health reboot right now, here are 10 ways to have a healthy weekend.

weekend ahead

1. Limit your coffee intake. Inherently, coffee is full of all sorts of health-promoting properties. The beverage has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. However, regularly loading up on caffeinated coffee can make you moody and dependent on its energy boosting effects; what started as one cup can quickly turn into three or four if you don’t keep your habit in check. So, if you need extra pep have a single cup, then switch to decaf, which has many of the same health-protecting properties but isn’t addictive.

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Finish Summer with a Tabbouleh-Inspired Freekeh Salad Using Garden-Picked Ingredients

It’s very encouraging that we all continue to demand fresher, simpler, healthier recipes, and that they actually exist! Summer tends to inspire this more than other seasons, with the bounty of fruits and vegetables in season this time of year. As we stand to enjoy a few more sweltering weeks of summer sun before the first day of fall on September 22, we present a recipe that meets all of the aforementioned criteria.

freekeh taboulleh

This Tabbouleh-Inspired Freekeh Salad, crafted by guest chef Adriene Rathbun, is a fantastic way to use up the last of your summer garden harvest, as most of these ingredients could be plucked right out of your backyard (or even the farmers market).

We start with all-natural freekeh, pronounced free-kah, a roasted green wheat with a heartier, nuttier taste than bulgur with a texture and appearance similar to other whole grains like rice. It’s as easy to prepare as a pot of rice – you’ll just need a half-cup for this recipe boiled with water (or broth for more flavor) for about 20 minutes. We like ours on the chewier, al dente side, so we reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.

freekeh

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35 Quick and Healthy School Night Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Eat

What’s for dinner is the most impossible question to answer on our best nights, but during the chaos and rush of back to school it feels nearly hopeless. Adjusting to new schedules and adding extracurriculars to an already crammed-tight calendar and you’ve got a recipe for another drive-through dinner.

This year, don’t sweat it. Put prioritizing dinner on your back to school list. Any of these dinners can be thrown together and in the mouths of your hungry family in 30 minutes or less. They’re also healthier meals you can feel good about serving. And in many cases you can eat them on the run.

We may not change how you see dinner as a necessary evil, but we can certainly take the devil out of the details!

Mexican and Southwest

quesadilla black beans

Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadillas

For meatless Monday or exclusive vegetarians, hearty black beans and mushrooms melted together with cheese is simple and satisfying.

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw

Fire up the grill and you’re only 30 minutes away from the best tacos ever! Buy pre-shredded coleslaw to really save prep time.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Barr and Table

These peppers use protein-rich quinoa instead of rice and can be prepped and served in just 30 minutes with on-hand ingredients.

Chorizo Nachos

Biggest Loser has a homemade chorizo recipe that tastes and looks like the real deal but is much better for you (just make it in advance).

Apple Sausage Quesadillas

The kids can practically make these themselves and will love every last comforting bite.

Classic Comforts

meatloaf mug

Meatloaf in a Mug – My Recipes

Individual meatloaves are made in minutes in the microwave. Not only are they adorable, but they practically make themselves.

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders

This drive-thru favorite is better than ever when you use panko to get that crispy crunch the kids crave.

BBQ Pork Sliders

It takes only 30 minutes to roast a tenderloin, which you can then shred, toss in your favorite BBQ sauce, and serve!

Turkey Meatball Subs

The sandwich shop has nothing on our effortless meatball subs, made lighter with ground turkey. Serve in hot dog buns for tiny hands.

Pumpkin Chili

Chili in 30 minutes is possible. The pumpkin adds delicious nutrition without influencing the flavor much at all.

Sandwiches

finished pita

Mediterranean Chicken, Pear, and Arugula Stuffed Pitas – Fit Bottomed Eats

Our original recipe for FBE starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in hand-held, get-out-the-door meals.

Best Club Sandwich Ever

We use Applegate Farms ham, turkey, and bacon to craft a cleaner sandwich that’s finished with avocados and veggies.

Oprah’s Love Sandwich

This grilled panini sandwich presses turkey and cheese together for a super-quick, hot and ready dinner.

Almond Butter Banana Crazy

It doesn’t get any easier – we fold almond butter with banana slices and sprinkle a few dried cranberries.

Super Sloppy Joes – Meal Makeover Moms

This family favorite is made lighter with ground turkey and always gets two messy thumbs up from the kids.

 

Meals On a Stick

chicken stick

Maple Ginger Chicken on a Stick – Green Lite Bites

Make the marinade in the morning and dinner is literally minutes away when you get home. Roni says kids will eat anything on a stick!

Bayou Kabobs

Shrimp, sausages, and peppers take less than 15 minutes on the grill.

Fancy Fish Sticks

A Jillian Michaels creation that is super family friendly and way better than any frozen fish stick in a box.

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Bite Kabobs

Hand-held burgers without the bun are stuffed with gooey cheddar cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper for big flavor.

Stuffed Almond Butter and Jam French Toast Kabobs – Nibbles by Nic

It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way! You could even add bites of ham to the kabobs if you’re looking for more protein.

 

Pasta and Noodles

butternut squash macaroni

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

An Abra Pappa original that uses less, but higher quality cheese and a butternut squash puree for a kid-approved mac!

Creamy Avocado Pasta – In Good Taste

One of our very favorite 15-minute dinners. Prepare it meatless or top with shrimp.

Tomato Basil Alphabet Soup

A super simple homemade soup that easily fills thermoses for feel-good brown bag lunches all week long!

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

It’s a no-noodle pasta dish and they’ll never know the difference! More nutritious and just as fast as a heap of spaghetti.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – Picky Eater Blog

Turn a package of store-bought ravioli in to a quick and easy feel good dinner the kids will rave about!

Breakfast for Dinner

waffle panini

Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis – HelloGiggles

If you’ve made the waffles in advance, or have frozen available, the prep time on these is dramatically reduced!

Pigs in Comforters

Biggest Loser’s Chef Devin Alexanders rolls all-beef hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits.

Cornbread Waffles – Edible Perspective

Prepare these heartier waffles with our oven-baked chicken tenders for a better take on chicken and waffles!

Egg and Kielbasa Sausage Pizza – Kid Friendly Home

The eggs form a breadless crust that holds kielbasa sausage, fresh herbs, and both cheddar and parmesan cheeses.

Carrot Cake Pancakes – Grimmway Farms

We crafted these using Grimmway’s famous baby carrots. Topped with cream cheese and walnuts, they’re quite satisfying.

 

Mediterr-Asian

Hoppin Johns Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Our “new year” hummus will bring good luck to your pupils. Serve with warm pita and fresh veggies for an easy, filling dinner.

Crispy Pork Wontons

Another winner of a dinner from Chef Devin, these wontons bake up in minutes and are easily eaten on the go.

Mediterranean Fish Tacos – Food Network

A Rachael Ray original that takes only 30 minutes to prep and serve and offers a lighter, cooler meal for those hot and busy nights.

Chinese Potstickers with Turkey – Super Healthy Kids

If you’ve got about 20 minutes, a food processor, and a pot of boiling water, you’ve got time to make a super lean take-out-inspired meal!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is all grown up! We make it better with real mozzarella, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.

meal planner

Keep it all organized! Download our FREE meal planner worksheets HERE!

Raisin and Nut Quinoa Bowl – A Mediterranean Meal for Endurance Athlete Foodies

Many endurance athletes, myself included, find ourselves stuck in ruts when it comes to recipes and meals. We tend to have our staples that provide the nutrients we need to sustain our training, but those staples can get boring and overdone. The challenge to seek out new recipes is good, but searching a foreign region’s menu, was an extra, albeit fun, challenge.

With the mission of choosing a recipe from a specific country in the Mediterranean, a small geography lesson was first required. I think many of us don’t realize that the Mediterranean is more than a portion of Italy and the country of Greece. There are 21 countries that comprise the region. They all share similar ingredients in their recipes, yet they all deliver a unique flair to the table. I got the joy of researching the recipes of Egypt.

The first step was just familiarizing myself with the cuisine of the country. True to Mediterranean food, there were many minced meats, shish kabobs with sides of tahini and pita. Some less common foods included grilled pigeon, fried perch and tuna, and stewed beans for breakfast. While runners need protein, pigeon was not a source I was opting for this time. (more…)

What You Actually Get to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet

This week, the Mediterranean Diet was put in the spotlight after a highly regarded five-year study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found it offers exceptional benefits for heart health. Even the researchers admitted to changing their own diets based on their findings, and people the country and world over are taking a second look at a style of eating that has been lauded as one of the healthiest around. There’s little you can’t attribute to the Mediterranean Diet – of course there is weight loss, but it also improves fertility, reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, manages diabetes, lowers cholesterol, and more. It even adds years to your life; those in the Mediterranean, specifically Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy, live in what are known as Blue Zones, places in the world where the population outlives anyone else.

What is everyone eating who follows this healthful diet? It’s certainly not rabbit food, and it’s not even what most people consider diet food. It’s some of the freshest, most flavorful food in the world. The Mediterranean Diet is largely made up of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, while fish and seafood are also large contributors to the meal plans, followed by less dairy and poultry, and very limited meat and sweets/processed foods. Healthy fats like olive oil are used in place of butter and fresh herbs and spices are used instead of salt.

Take a culinary sneak peek at what a day on the Mediterranean Diet might look like, and consider adopting this style of eating for yourself. (Did we mention there’s wine?) (more…)

Mediterranean Diet Confirmed as an Exemplary Aid in Heart Health

The Mediterranean Diet has long been lauded for its vast health benefits, often being deemed the healthiest of all diet styles. Heart health now joins fertility, Alzheimer’s, longevity, lower cholesterol, and even diabetes as some of the many ways this diet improves health, per a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study found that there is a 30 percent decrease in the development of cardiac disease, including heart attack and stroke, when a Mediterranean Diet is followed. The New York Times reported it was “the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.” (more…)

10 Essential Foods for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Alzheimer’s: The word conjures up scary thoughts of slowly losing your memory as you become a shell of your former self. Experts project that diagnoses of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the primary cause, will triple worldwide by 2050. But scientists tell us that preventative measures can go a long way in protecting the brain from memory loss diseases, and they are as simple as doing things like making changes in your diet.

Here are 10 super foods that work to boost brain power and, in turn, lessen your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. No one food has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but healthy eating habits appear to be one of the top factors in lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

1. Wild Salmon, Tuna, Sardines (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week because it contains vital omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats help the body function properly and may slow cognitive decline by 10 percent, studies show.

“The main concept is that a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids creates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a protein between nerve cells that helps increase the strength between connections,” said Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, author of “Super Body Super Brain.” Trout, mackerel, and herring are also good choices, and taking a fish oil vitamin can also help your body obtain this much-needed nutrient. (more…)