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    Archive for the ‘omega-3 fatty acids’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Flaxseed and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    flaxseed_291_20090115-1524291I saw your recent tweet reminding vegetarians and vegans to supplement their diets with Omega-3 supplements that contain DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids.

    I would rather not take a pill, but can eat ground flaxseeds – how much do you think I should consume each day?

    Otherwise, do you recommend a particular vegan omega-3 pill?

    — Christine Ho
    Location Unknown

    The problem with relying on flaxseeds (or walnuts, for that matter) to get your omega-3 needs is that they only offer Alpha-Linolenic omega-3 fatty acids (ALA).

    The human body can convert ALA into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil.  However, this conversion does not happen very efficiently, and it takes very high amounts of ALA to get the necessary amounts of DHA and EPA (we’re talking ridiculously high amounts — think 1,000 calories just from flaxseeds).

    This is not to say that the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds and walnuts are useless.  They certainly offer their share of health benefits and are worth including.

    However, I strongly encourage people with diets that are low in (or do not include) fish or sea vegetables — the only plant food that offers DHA and EPA — to supplement DHA and EPA.

    In your case, Christine, I recommend looking for supplements that contain DHA and EPA extracted from algae (which, by the way, is where fish get their omega 3s from!).  While there are many brands out there, the one I am most familiar with is VPure (please note, I am not claiming this is the only “good” brand; simply the one I have come across most often).

    The term “vegetarian” on an Omega-3 capsule is by no means a guarantee; often times, that simply means it only contains ALA!

    Aim for 500 – 1,000 milligrams per day (EPA and DHA combined); ideally, you want at least 300 milligrams to come from EPA.

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    What’s for Lunch? Snacks!

    otlMany people I speak with mention that they quickly tire of repetitive lunches.

    Day after day of wraps or sandwiches with a side of chips or baby carrots is certainly a recipe for boredom.

    One of my boredom-beating tactics?  Make a “snack lunch”!

    This is one of my favorite ways to eat lunch, since it is very easy to construct in a nutritious fashion (it’s perfect for lazier days when I don’t feel like dicing, chopping, and stirring!) and allows you to satisfy multiple cravings at once.

    Here, for example, is the snack lunch I ate today:

    • 1 small Granny Smith apple
    • 1 ounce Gruyere cheese
    • 1 ounce whole grain crackers (I love the Mary’s Gone Crackers brand — they are thin, ultra crispy, and made with quinoa, sesame seeds, and brown rice)
    • 3 Tablespoons fresh salsa
    • 1/3 cup baby carrots
    • 3 Tablespoons hummus
    • 2 Tablespoons raw almonds
    • 1 Tablespoon raw walnuts
    • 1 Tablespoon raw cacao nibs

    Deliciousness aside, this combination racks up a more-than-worthy nutrition profile:

    • 710 calories
    • 6.6 grams saturated fat
    • 660 milligrams sodium
    • 16.5 grams fiber
    • 20.5 grams protein

    Additionally, it is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and hundreds of top-notch phytonutrients and antioxidants.  It’s also a good source of B vitamins, phosphorus, vitamin E, and zinc.

    Added bonus?  The almonds and walnuts contribute heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, respectively.

    Depending on your particular calorie needs, you can tailor this meal by increasing or reducing the amounts of certain foods.

    Do you have a favorite “snack lunch”?  Post it in the “comments” section and inspire other Small Bites readers!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Nuts & Cholesterol

    nuts1240705690Are there any nuts that help lower cholesterol, or are they all bad?

    They are high in fat, right?

    — Greg (Last name withheld)
    Los Angeles, CA

    When it comes to lowering cholesterol with food, there are three particular nutrients to keep in mind:

    • Soluble fiber
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Monounsaturated fats

    The above nutrients are ones you want to consume more of.  Ideally, you don’t want to simply add them to what you are already eating, but rather eat them in place of less-healthy foods (i.e.: refined carbohydrates, foods made with corn and cottonseed oil, etc.).

    In regards to your question: nuts are an absolutely wonderful food that I encourage everyone to have a serving of every single day.

    Almonds and Brazil nuts are the nuts with highest amounts of soluble fiber per ounce.  Walnuts, meanwhile, have more omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of Alpha-Linolenic Acid) than any other nut.  The monounsaturated fat category is dominated by peanuts.

    This is not to say other nuts are inferior; others have certain phytonutrients and compounds that have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.

    While we’re discussing these three nutrients, check out this list of best sources (which includes some foods not mentioned above):

    • Soluble fiber: barley, figs, kidney beans, oat bran, oatmeal, pears, psyllium husk
    • Omega-3 fatty acids: chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, halibut, sea vegetables, scallops, walnuts, wild-caught salmon
    • Monounsaturated fatty acids: almonds, avocado, macadamia nuts, peanuts olive oil

    Great news about soluble fiber — every gram of soluble fiber (when consumed in a consistent, daily basis) is linked to a 1 or 2 point reduction in total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

    Above all, please undo the “fat is bad” mantra that has pervaded the American dietary landscape for the past two decades.  Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats not only lower total and LDL cholesterol, they also increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Cinnamon-Walnut Whole Grain Muffins

    cinnamonThis past weekend I craved muffins to go along with my recently-purchased hazelnut-roasted coffee.

    Instead of treking down to a local bakery for a gigantic 500-calorie bomb, I decided to make my own.

    Apart from pairing up perfectly with a hot cup of coffee on a brisk autumn day, these muffins are 100% whole grain, vegan, and chock full of omega-3 fatty acids.

    See how you like them!

    YIELDS: 18 mini muffins

    INGREDIENTS:
    2 cups whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat white flour)
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
    4 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
    1 Tablespoon coconut oil
    1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
    (NOTE: You could omit the coconut oil and instead add an additional tablespoon of canola oil)
    1/4 cup agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup water

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Place all dry ingredients (from whole wheat flour to cinnamon) in one bowl.

    In another bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (from applesauce to water).

    Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients bowl.

    Mix together lightly, making sure not to overmix.

    Scoop mixed batter into muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit

    OPTIONAL (but recommended): Once out of the oven, sprinkle additional cinnamon on top of muffins.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (for 2 mini muffins, with coconut oil):

    184 calories
    2.5 grams saturated fat (if using only canola oil: 0.5 grams saturated fat)
    320 milligrams sodium
    4.4 grams fiber
    7.2 grams added sugar
    4.5 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Manganese, selenium

    Good Source of: Alpha Linolenic Omega-3 Fatty Acids, copper, magnesium, phosphorus

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    You Ask, I Answer: Side Effects from Fish Oil Capsules?

    sealogix_oil2Are you aware of any side effects resulting from ingesting fish oil capsules?

    Specifically, a relative of mine is very sensitive to many compounds (a number of prescription drugs in particular). Her (highly regarded) general practitioner advised her to start fish oil supplementation, possibly in connection with high cholesterol.

    Since taking the supplements, she has experienced itchiness, has developed some sores (similar to psoriasis) and says that she has experienced cuts more frequently with higher than normal bleeding from the cuts.

    Have there been any studies conducted that point to such possible side effects?

    — Bill M.
    Via the blog

    This is actually a two-part question.

    Before I go any further though, let me make something very clear.  Clearly, your relative’s body is sending her a message — “these supplements do not agree with me.”  She needs to listen to that above everything else.

    Side effects to fish oil supplementation have indeed been reported and are mentioned in the literature.

    The itchiness and sores could very well be the result of a fish oil allergy or, if she is taking these supplements in capsule form, possibly an allergy to an ingredient in the capsule shell.

    If it is the latter, than switching to a liquid supplement would resolve that issue.

    What worries me most, however, is the excessive bleeding.

    Although omega-3 fatty acids have anti-clotting, blood thinning properties (which are a good thing!), I suspect such a dramatic effect may be the result of the fish oil working in conjunction with something else.

    Does she take a daily aspirin?  Similarly, is she currently on Coumadin, blood pressure medications, or any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?

    If the answer to any of those is ‘yes’, she needs to tell her general practitioner immediately and stop taking fish oil supplements.

    In the meantime, while this gets sorted out, she can take the following nutrition-related steps to help lower her cholesterol:

    • Increase her intake of soluble fibers (oatmeal, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables)
    • Make an effort to make most of her fats monounsaturated (by consuming avocado, olive oil, peanuts, and sesame seeds)
    • In the event that she is allergic to fish oil, consume omega-3 fatty acids from other sources (ground flaxseed, walnuts)

    Even if she eventually gets the green light to resume fish oil supplementation, the above-mentioned steps are absolutely worth keeping in mind.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Fats in Avocado

    hass avocado openIs the fat contained in avocado 100% good?

    How much fat is too much?

    — Coco (last name unknown)
    Via the blog

    Avocados are largely made up of healthy monounsaturated fats, hence its status as a nutritional darling.

    However, there is no such thing as a “perfect” fat.

    The “downside” to avoados, for example, is that they offer a fair share of omega-6 essential fatty acids and practically no omega-3 fatty acids.

    Although both omega-6 and omega-3 fats are essential (meaning we must get them from our diets), the typical US diet is too high in the omega-6 variety and too low in omega-3s.

    People — and diet books written mostly by quacks — love to characterize foods as “100% good” or “100% bad”, but nutrition is more complex than that.

    Avocados are an absolutely wonderful addition to the diet (the fact that they are high in omega-6 does not make them “bad”), but they should not be your only source of fat.

    Look to other sources for omega-3 fatty acids (flax, hemp, walnuts, fatty fish, brown kelp seaweed).

    Remember, too, that different fats offer a variety of different antioxidants and polyphenols.

    Olives and olive oil, for example, offer a high amount of monounsaturated fats along with exclusive components that have been found to benefit cardiovascular health.

    How much fat is too much?  Again, it depends on what kind of fats you are speaking about.  Here are some general guidelines:

    • The majority of your fat intake should come from monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids
    • Saturated fats are okay in smaller amounts (for healthier saturated fats, look to coconut and cacao).
    • Avoid trans fats at all costs

    Remember, too, that most foods are a combination of different fats.  Avocados and olive oil contain some saturated fats; similarly, bacon contains a fair share of monounsaturated fats.

    In general, you can safely have up to forty percent of your diet come from fats (remember the hierarchy, though!)

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    You Ask, I Answer: Omega-3 Content of Seafood

    shrimp[Your post on fish oils had me wondering] if anchovies, shrimp, crab, and clams were good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

    — Corey Clark
    (Location withheld)

    Anchovies are a great source.  A 3-ounce serving delivers an impressive 1.2 grams of DHA and EPA (that’s total, not respectively).

    (Reminder: DHA and EPA are two essential fatty acids predominantly found in fish; vegetarian sources like walnuts and flaxseed offer ALA, another type of omega-3 fatty acid).

    Crustaceans and mollusks offer lower levels.

    A 3-ounce serving of shrimp, for instance, averages 0.37 grams (that number could be slightly higher or lower depending on the specific variety of shrimp).  That same amount of crab averages 0.29 grams, while 3 ounces of clams average 0.1 grams.

    Apart from the well-known salmon and tuna, here are other very good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:

    • Bluefish
    • Dogfish
    • Herring
    • Lake trout
    • Mackerel (caution: very high in mercury!)
    • Sablefish

    FYI: Catfish and tilapia not only offer very low amounts of Omega-3s, they are also quite high in Omega-6 fatty acids.

    Although both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential (meaning we must get them from the diet), the typical US diet is very high in Omega 6s.  This imbalance promotes inflammation, which consequently raises one’s risk for a variety of diseases and conditions.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Fish Oil Supplements & Mercury

    fish-oil-tabletsIs there anything in particular I should look for when buying fish oil supplements?

    Also, should I be worried about mercury levels?

    — Dennise O’Grady
    Bay Head, NJ

    The main thing you want to look for is the presence of DHA and EPA (you want anywhere from 500 to 1,000 milligrams of each of those essential fatty acids).

    Oil from krill (small, cold-water crustaceans that live in the ocean floor) is apparently starting to be considered the golden standard in some circles since it appears to be the most easily absorbable, and also contains antioxidants not found in oil from fish.

    That said, oil from actual fish is just as good a source of those two fatty acids.

    Since fish oils are extracted from fish that are very low on the food chain (e.g.: mackerel, herring, sardines, cod), mercury contamination is not a concern.

    My rule of thumb is: food first, then supplements.  If you can get your omega-3 fatty acids from eating fish, that is best.

    However, I realize there are some barriers.  Some people do not like the taste of fish, others are vegetarian, and, as is the case with salmon, there is always the doubt of whether the fish you are eating is wild or farmed (farmed fish tend to have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids).

    For those interested in eating their DHA and EPA, I highly recommend sardines.  They are never farmed, so you can always expect a good dose of those two omega-3 fatty acids!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Aluminum & Plastic Wrap

    aluminum-foil-00A lot has been written and said about the negative effects of aluminum – especially in regard to Alzheimer’s disease.

    Is there any evidence that aluminum in cooking foil and and deodorant is present in levels high enough to cause concern?

    While we are on the subject of foils and wraps – is cling-film plastic something we should be wrapping our food in?

    Lastly, is it true that micro-waving food wrapped in cling-film is yet another way to slowly kill yourself?

    — Jake Shields
    Valley Stream, NY

    Great questions — let’s cover them one at a time.

    The connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease is still being determined.

    What we do know is that the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease contain much higher concentrations of aluminum than those of individuals who do not have the neurodegenerative disease.

    What we don’t know is whether those high concentrations of aluminum cause Alzheimer’s disease or if they are a manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease.

    If you look at the scientific literature, there is no clear consensus either way.

    As far as aluminum intake from the diet is concerned, we know that acidic foods cooked in aluminum pots absorb higher amounts of the metal than non-acidic foods.

    We also know that a very small percentage of the aluminum in aluminum foil can be leached into foods when exposed to high heat (e.g.: a baked potato wrapped in foil).

    As with anything else relating to nutrition, it is important to keep context in mind.

    I, for instance, use aluminum foil in my cooking approximately once a month (there’s a particular dish I make that requires me to cover it in foil during the first 15 minutes of cooking).

    I don’t worry about it, in the same way that I would not be concerned if someone with consistently nutritious habits eats a large Big Mac value meal once a month.

    If lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is a concern, there are more established things you can do:

    • Follow a heart-healthy diet (rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids)
    • Engage in strenuous physical activity three or more times a week
    • Continually challenge your brain (whether it’s by doing crossword puzzles or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand)

    These three things all help to lower risk either by keeping certain parts of the brain active or by keeping arteries healthy.  Remember, the health of your arteries has a significant effect on your neurological health — the brain needs adequate blood circulation to remain in tip-top shape.

    Remember, too, that many over-the-counter antacids contain very high amounts of aluminum (about twenty or thirty times as much as you would from cooking with aluminum pans).

    As far as clingwrap goes, studies have found that foods high in fat can absorb plasticides in traditional clingwrap (which is made from polyvinylidene chloride, also known as PVC).

    While pretty much all clingwrap was once made from PVC, alternative varieties made from low density polyethylene are becoming more common.

    These newer varieties do not leach plasticides and are considered microwave-safe.  Of course, you can always  err on the side of caution and heat food in other containers (glass, ceramic, etc.)

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    You Ask, I Answer: Omega 3/6/9 Supplements

    omega3-6-9-capsMy dad was prescribed Omega 3-6-9 supplements by his doctor to improve his heart health.

    I swear I remember reading somewhere that we don’t need omega 6 and 9 — we get way too much 6 in our diet as it is, and 9 isn’t essential. To me this means that if anything, my dad should only be taking omega 3 supplements.

    I’m finding it hard to find anything but retail sites when I search on this topic.

    Do you know any more about this? I don’t want to question his doctor but the whole concept of a 3-6-9 supplement seems strange to me.

    — Meredith (last name withheld)
    (Location unknown)

    Your suspicions are absolutely right.

    In fact, you probably read those facts about omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids right here on Small Bites!

    To summarize: omega-9 — also known as oleic acid — is not essential (in the field of nutrition, an ‘essential’ nutrient is one we must get from food since our bodies are unable to produce it).

    This does not mean omega-9 has no importance to human nutrition; it certainly does.

    However, since our bodies are able to make it from other unsaturated fats in the diet, there is no reason to buy it in supplement form or hunt it down in food (in case you’re wondering, omega-9 is found in olives, avocados, and most nuts).

    While omega-6 fatty acids are essential, the standard “American diet” (FYI, I have a real problem with using the word “American” as a synonym for “belonging to the United States”) is excessively high in them.

    That is why, when increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the most effective thing you can do is replace omega-6 fatty acids with omega-3 ones (as opposed to consuming a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids and supplementing omega-3 fatty acids on top of that).  Otherwise, the omega-3’s are not able to perform their health-promoting duties effectively.

    PS: I don’t see anything wrong with questioning a doctor on nutrition matters, given that the vast majority of them receive absolutely no nutrition education in medical school.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Eggs

    s_half-dozen-eggsCan you talk about eggs?

    You have mentioned before that there is no nutritional difference between white and brown, but what about all of the other labels we find on eggs these days, like free-range, cage-free, and organic?

    The cage free eggs I buy at the grocery store seem better than the regular ones (the shells are thicker and the yolks are more yellow), but sometimes I feel like it’s just a big marketing scheme.

    I have heard that cage free chickens often live and are treated the same as the caged ones, only without the cages.

    If that’s the case, the eggs shouldn’t be much different.

    What eggs should we buy and what should we look for on the packages?

    — Kristin MacBride
    (Location Unknown)

    The marketing of eggs is among some of the most confusing — and meaningless — I can think of (yes, even worse than whole grain trickery!)

    Let’s break down the most popular terms and reveal their true meanings:

    • Free range eggs are produced by hens that have access to the outdoors.  Read that again.  Free-range hens only need to have access to the outdoors.  In other words, they may simply be housed somewhere with no doors.  Or, the doors to their abode may be open for twenty minutes a day. Additionally, the “outside” only needs to offer them five feet of space.  It is not required to be a grassy field with lots of vegetation.  A dirty concrete backyard that is accessible twenty minutes a day can still fall under “free range.”
    • Cage-free eggs are produced by hens that are not in cages.  Keep in mind, though, they can still be crammed alongside other thousands of hens in a small space.  They simply are not confined by a cage.  Many “cage-free” hens have no room to walk around.  Additionally, their beaks are still cut off without anesthesia and they may be fed very low-quality feed with antibiotics, hormones, and genetically modified crops.
    • Organic eggs are produced by hens that are fed organically.  While these hens may not legally be in cages, they may suffer the fate of cage-free hens (have no more than an 8.5 by 11″ space to themselves, but just not inside a cage).  They may also have their beaks cut off without anesthesia, and never see sunlight.  This claim refers more to how the hens are fed, than to specific living conditions.
    • The same goes for eggs labeled as “vegetarian feed” or “Omega-3 fortified.” This claim ONLY refers to their feed, not to the conditions they live in.  FYI: I always chuckle when I see eggs advertised as being produced by “vegetarian” hens, since they are naturally omnivorous.

    Is it possible to consume eggs from hens that had a decent life?  Yes.

    The keyword you want to look for is “pasture fed.”  These hens exclusively eat worms, insects, and vegetation found outdoors.  The only caveat is that these eggs are only available at local farmers’ markets.

    Although slightly pricier than other eggs, they are more nutritious.  Studies have found that pasture-fed eggs offer more Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and beta-carotene than eggs produced in any other ways.  This is, partially, by the way, because of their omnivorous diet.

    Eat Wild is a wonderful website for all things pasture-fed.  Click here to see where you can find pasture-fed eggs in your state.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Cooking with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

    HempSeedNutShelledHempSeed_MH10101.jpegAre the omega 3 oils in flax, hemp, and chia seeds destroyed when cooking?

    If so, at what temperatures can the omega 3 withstand?

    If we eat chips and crackers with these seeds are we not gaining the value of the omega 3?

    — Julie Stone
    (Location Unknown)

    Great question!  I have seen so much misinformation on this topic that I am chomping at the bit to set it all straight.

    As far as flaxseeds go, feel free to use either whole or ground flaxseeds (AKA flax meal) any which way you want.

    Multiple studies — in reputable publications like the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the British Journal of Nutrition, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — have concluded that the Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed are resistant to oxidation even when cooked for sixty minutes at 660 degrees Fahrenheit!

    In fact, the consensus is that there is no difference in Omega-3 fatty acid content between raw and cooked flaxseeds or flax meal.

    The most likely explanation is that the lignans (a particular variety of plant compounds) in flaxseed have a protective effect on the oil.

    Keep in mind, this does NOT apply to flax seed oil, which does not contain lignans, and is therefore is extremely susceptible to oxidation (even at temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit).  Flaxseed oil is best suited to salad dressings or raw dips.

    Hemp and chia seeds are slightly more delicate than flaxseeds.  It is recommended they be exposed to temperatures no higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    FYI — don’t be scared to use hemp or chia seeds in muffin recipes.

    Although heating instructions may specify the oven temperature to be set at 350 or 400 degree Fahrenheit, the internal temperature of a muffin right out of the oven is usually no higher than 250 ot 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

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    A Burger Your Heart Will Love

    fb_world_catch_salmonWhite, fiberless flour.  A slab of artery-clogging beef.  Two slices of sodium-laden processed cheese.  One tomato slice.  Iceberg lettuce.

    Those are the components that come to most people’s mind when they hear the word “burger.”

    Well, it’s time to expand that vision.  As you know, part of this blog’s mission is to make healthy eating enjoyable and palatable.

    With that in mind, next time you’re in the mood for a hamburger or a fast food fish sandwich, opt for this ridiculously quick (don’t give me the “I don’t have time!” excuse) and easy substitute that provides Omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of fiber, and lots of taste… at a lower cost!

    WHAT YOU NEED:

    • 1 frozen salmon burger patty (see recommendation below)
    • 1 whole grain hamburger bun (see recommendation below)
    • 1 tablespoon chopped onions (optional)
    • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise (regular, light, or canola-oil based, your choice)
    • 1 lemon wedge
    • dill (for seasoning)

    Salmon burger recommendation: My two favorite brands are WorldCatch and Wild Grill.  Both are made from wild Pacific salmon, and provide no more than 110 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium per patty.  You can find them at health food stores, Whole Foods, and even Sam’s Club.

    Whole grain hamburger bun recommendation: My absolute favorite bun is the Food for Life sprouted sesame hamburger buns.  Not only do they obtain the perfect texture when lightly toasted, they also each provide 6 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.  You can get them at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or your local health food store.

    All you need to do is spray a small pan with cooking spray, cook the patty to your liking, toast the hamburger bun, and then top the patty with onions, mayonnaise, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and dill.

    I’ll assume you have onions, mayonnaise, and dill in your kitchen already, so the basic cost of this burger (the salmon patty and the buns), with tax, adds up to $2.48 per burger.

    Now, let’s take a look at some fun comparisons.  This salmon burger…

    • is 65 cents cheaper than McDonald’s Filet O Fish and Burger King’s Big Fish Sandwich.
    • contains 800% more heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids than McDonald’s or Burger King’s fish burgers
    • adds up to 330 calories (versus McDonald’s 380 and Burger King’s 650)
    • provides 6 grams of fiber (100% more than Burger King’s and 200% more than McDonald’s)
    • contains 29 grams of protein (14 more grams thanMcDonald’s and 5 more grams than Burger King’s)
    • adds up to 1.5 grams of saturated fat (2 fewer grams than McDonald’s, 4.5 fewer grams than Burger King’s)

    Who says healthy eating is expensive and laborious?

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    Give Hemp A Chance

    hemphearts_detailIn a case of culinary irony, more people are familiar with the idea of wearing or smoking hemp than they are with adding it to salads, soups, and yogurt for a low-calorie, high protein, healthy-fat punch.

    So, while Woody Harrelson lights up his eleventh “hemp ciggie” of the day, let’s talk about the seed’s nutritional profile.

    Two tablespoons of shelled (AKA free of their outer shell) hemp seeds add up to 160 calories and:

    • 2 grams Omega-3 ALA fatty acids (almost as much as one ounce of walnuts)
    • 11 grams protein (like soy, hemp is a complete protein, since it contains all the essential amino acids)
    • 20% of the Daily Value of iron
    • 52% of the Daily Value of folic acid (as much as one cup of spinach)
    • 15% of the Daily Value of potassium (as much as a small banana)
    • 60% of the Daily Value of manganese

    Shelled hemp seeds have a distinct, yet subtle, nutty flavor that goes perfectly with soups, yogurt, and stir fries.  Look for them at Whole Foods or your local health food store. 

    NOTE: If adding shelled hemp seeds to cooked food, sprinkle them on after you have plated your meal, so as to not damage the Omega-3 fatty acids’ composition.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Exercise

    Is exercise enough?

    I know plenty of long distance runners that subsist on ice cream and candy bars, even well into their middle-age, and have perfect health.

    Can exercise overcome poor dietary choices? If so, to what degree?

    — Corey Clark
    (Location withheld)

    Exercise in itself is NOT enough.

    Sure, exercise can help with cardiovascular heath, respiratory health, and musculoskeletal maintenance, but you also need proper nutrition to keep all systems running properly.

    Exercise does not provide Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, monounsaturated fats, or phytonutrients.

    How do you know these long-distance runners who subsist on junk are in perfect health? Have you seen their blood labs?

    Just because someone is thin and has a six pack does not necessarily mean they are in perfect health. They could have high blood pressure, low bone density, and low intakes of most vitamins and minerals.

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