POSTS WITH TAG: food benefits

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    These are unfortunate times to grow up loving sweet stuff. The World Health Organization just popped a lot of our (candy) bubbles when it recently released a study stating only 5 percent of our calories should come from sugar. That's waaay easier to say than do if you're like me and your number one favorite snack in the world is chocolate-covered strawberries dipped in (heavily sweetened) vanilla yogurt. No fair.

    But a fact is a fact. And rather than fight it and risk all of the health consequences involved with overdosing on sugar -- diabetes and obesity, for example -- we can embrace some of the sweet alternatives out there. Lucky for us, one of these sugar substitutes is healthy, not saccharine-sweet, and can be used in more delish recipes than you would believe. I speak of everyone's latest and greatest favorite sweetener: agave.

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    Confession: I sometimes read food labels and make believe the portion I'm eating fits the nutritional information listed for a much smaller portion -- like for 10 or 12 fewer pretzels than I'm actually inhaling. For those like me who don't always exhibit common sense and self-control, the Food and Drug Administration wants to make it easier to not be a total glutton and to actually pay closer attention to what we're putting into our bodies. The FDA has proposed several changes to food labels, including updating info about serving sizes to reflect how much it believes we actually eat, removing the "calories from fat" column, adding information about the amount of sugar that's added to a product, and even blowing up the font for the number we all dread reading: the calorie count.

    Hmmm ... something tells me the real-life results of these changes may not be what the FDA had in mind ...

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    The following is a post from our sponsor, SavingStar.

    I want to save money. I really do.

    But, in my recent commitment to do so, I’ve found that trying to save money is just like trying to lose weight. No one really wants to do it. We all want instant results. And, unfortunately, it only works if you let it.

    That being said, just about any plan works, as long as you follow it. You can cut your carbs or boost your protein, cut out fine dining or put more money into your savings every week. Whichever way you choose, you just have to commit and continue. It’s plain and simple. You’ll lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume. You’ll save money if you spend less money than you make!

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    Is it too early to start talking about pumpkins? What about pumpkin seeds? Because I kind of feel like I'm seeing pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, everywhere all of a sudden. When I was a kid we would roast them, salt them, and then crack each one out of its shell to get to that nutty center. I still remember that smell. But now it's easy to get them already toasted and shelled -- and would't you know it? Turns out pumpkin seeds also happen to be one of those superfoods we should be eating more. Delicious and nutritious? Let's find out what's really going on with pumpkin seeds!

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    My little sister is on top of all things spicy and gourmet. (Oh, and for a while, vegan, but that's sort of beside the point.) So, of course, she's been obsessed with Sriracha sauce forever. She'd use the bright red hot sauce on just about anything, much like our mom has always used Tabasco sauce and I'm currently obsessed with Cholula. I never really thought to cross over to the Sriracha side until recently ... Because now, it's everywhere

    Named for the coast city of Si Racha, in the Chonburi Province of Eastern Thailand, the bright red hot sauce was originally meant to be served at local seafood restaurants. Now, it's a proposed new flavor of potato chips, an obvious accompaniment to beef tacos, and showing up on the tables of pizza joints.

    But how can you really capitalize on the goodness that is Sriracha and what's so great about it anyway?

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    Sometimes I feel sorry for old sugar. It's been catching a lot flack these days and it's time we showed this food staple some love. Fact is, sugar is something we can't live without. We need it to survive (in its carbohydrate form) and we need it to have a little fun, too. Like I always say, when life hands you lemons, make lemon and sugar water.

    Here are 7 amazing things you can do with the deliciously sweet and useful substance.

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    Growing up, my parents (and grandparents) had a dinner table rule for my brother, sister, and me: If you wanted in on the Clean Plate Club, then you had to finish everything on your plate. The rules were plain and simple. That is ... until we noticed the vegetables. My brother hates veggies. It didn't matter how hard you begged or how viciously you threatened him -- there was nothing on this earth that would ever, ever, ever make him choke down a broccoli spear without gagging. He'd sit at the table all night, too, to avoid to the icky taste. On the other hand, I love the little green monsters. I think they keep you healthy, nourished, and alert. So it's amazing to me that my brother -- 6'4" and a former three-season athlete in high school and college -- could be just as healthy (if not more) as I am.

    He's living, breathing, and buff proof that eating your veggies doesn't really matter as much as we say it does.

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    Organic. Eco-Friendly. Natural. Pasture-raised. Grass-fed. So many foods making claims that they're better for you. So little time to figure out what it all means. Food labels, catering to our desire to feed our families the healthiest and most environmentally-friendly food we can, have become as common and as useful as Kardashian tweets.

    Hundreds of new food labels have popped up on both fresh and processed grocery store items in the past few years, and it's enough to make your head spin. But do eco-claims actually mean anything?

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    Being the devout organic shopper that I am, I've occasionally gotten into debates with friends about the benefits of buying organic vs. conventional food. They often snicker, "Is it really worth your 'whole paycheck'?" And my argument has always been that it doesn't have to be your "whole paycheck" if you shop smart, not everything you buy needs to be labeled "organic," and ultimately, yes, I'd rather spend more on my food in the short-term, because I see it as an investment in my long-term health. But researchers from Stanford University seem to have a bone to pick with that argument.

    They combined data from 237 studies and examined a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and meats over the course of four years for signs of health benefits from adding organic foods to the diet. Their sweeping conclusion? Organic food isn't necessarily more nutritious than non-organic. Unfortunately, the study didn't take into consideration the real reasons people like me go organic.

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    You have to hand it to Michelle Obama. The First Lady is  trying her best to get the country on the road to eating healthier. She started the "Let's Move!" campaign to get people to adopt healthier lifestyles. The White House staff is on a diet. And she even planted a White House garden. Now, she has a new book out, American Grown. Obama has been raising greens on the South Lawn and she says that the garden is so famous that people all over the world ask her about it. If her book can accomplish anything, perhaps it's to inspire us all to at least TRY to grow our own food. Let's face it, there is nothing healthier than eating what you yourself cultivate.

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