MILK – for the health of it

Living with LI doesn’t mean living without dairy

Living with LI doesn’t mean living without dairy

Been diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance? Don’t despair, you can still enjoy dairy like cheese, yogurt and even milk! Think you might be Lactose Intolerant – make sure you check with a doctor before self diagnosing. You know what? Lactose-free milk taste just like real milk. It even has the same mouthfeel. That’s because it is real milk, which means it has the same valuable nutrition just without the lactose. Lactose-free dairy products are the same as regular dairy products except the lactose – the sugar naturally found in milk – is already broken down or removed. Lactose intolerance doesn’t mean you have to avoid all dairy. Not only are there lactose-free versions of milk, but there is also ice cream and cottage cheese that is made lactose-free. Many cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss naturally have minimal lactose. And the active cultures in yogurt help to digest lactose. The month of February is Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month, and it is all about educating people about what lactose intolerance is and how you can still enjoy the foods you always did while not upsetting your digestive system. Often people will confuse a milk allergy with lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is usaully something that starts at a young age and often disappears as we age. Lactose intolerance usually develops later in life and is less common in young children. Our bodies make an enzyme called lactase that aids the digestion of lactose in dairy. As adults, our bodies may make less of the enzyme than when we were young, which can make it difficult to digest dairy. A milk allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in milk. While people with a milk allergy need to avoid dairy, the same is not true for those with lactose intolerance. If you unnecessarily cut dairy out of your diet, you are missing out on some key nutrients such as calcium, potassium and vitamin D. It can be difficult to get enough of these nutrients without dairy foods in your diet. The National Dairy Council has several suggestions for how those with lactose intolerance can continue to enjoy their favorite dairy foods and get the recommended three servings of dairy each day without the gassy or bloated feeling. Sip it. Start with a small amount of milk daily and slowly increase over several days or weeks to build up your tolerance. Try it. Opt for lactose-free milk and milk products. Stir it. Mix milk with other foods such as soups and cereal; blend with fruit as in a smoothie or drink milk with meals. Solid foods help slow digestion and allow the body more time to digest lactose. Slice it. Top sandwiches or whole grain crackers with natural cheese that is low in lactose. Spoon it. Enjoy easy-to-digest yogurt with the aid of those live and active cultures. The National Dairy Council also offers more information, tips and recipes on its Website, www.eatconfidentlywithli.org. You can make almost any recipe LI friendly by using lactose-free dairy products or the cheeses mentioned above. The following is a recipe from that site. Children and adults will love it. Cauliflower Cheese Puffs 1.5lb cauliflower, roasted 2 eggs 10 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, reduced fat, grated 3/4 Cup bread crumbs 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional) Ranch- Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce 1 packet ranch seasoning, 0.4 oz size 2 Cup Greek yogurt 1 Tbsp lemon juice   Combine dipping sauce ingredients and let set in the fridge for 1 hour. To roast the cauliflower – Wash and dry cauliflower and cut into...

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Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating

Many of us set health and nutrition goals as part of our New Year’s resolutions, but rather than making ourselves follow a list of oppressive and restrictive rules about what we can and cannot eat, why not just think before we eat. Ask ourselves – Am I hungry or am I just bored or stressed? Do I know anything about where my food came from, how it was processed? What is really in it? Rather than reaching for the third baggie of that 100-calorie snack, make calorie choices that give you optimal nutrition and will leave you feeling full. One rule, that’s all – Think before you eat.  By Kelly Koss Student in the Food Sciences and Human Nutrition graduate program at UMO Have you ever found yourself eating a quick breakfast in your car on the way to work? Are your snacks consumed in a hurry before you have the chance to sit down and enjoy it at a table? Do you catch yourself reaching into the candy bowl on your coworker’s desk even though you aren’t hungry? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have experienced mindless eating. In our fast-paced living and working environment where convenience is king, it is no wonder so many Americans find themselves not giving much thought as to what, where, and why they are eating. This thoughtless way of eating is dangerous, because it often leads to overeating and excessive weight gain. Consider what you are eating: In order to eat mindfully, it is necessary to understand what foods are good for our health. A healthy diet includes a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose whole grains like oats, barley, rice and whole wheat bread. Lean meat and protein sources should be selected, such as fish, skinless chicken, tree nuts, beans and tofu. When cooking, use healthy sources of fat, including olive oil or canola oil. Last, but absolutely not least, non-fat or low-fat dairy, including milk, cheese and yogurt, can provide a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients. These foods support our bodies with the nutrients necessary to grow and stay healthy. Good sources of fiber, healthy fat and high-quality protein can also keep us feeling full and satisfied longer. Mindful eating involves considering how the food we choose to eat is produced and its effect on the lives of all those involved in the growing, processing, packaging and transporting of food. An easy method is choosing local food. Purchasing local food at farmers’ markets, winter markets and grocery stores supports Maine farmers, offers an opportunity to learn where and how the food was grown, and can foster a sense of community. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association has identified 20 foods that can be produced locally and are available year round including blueberries, potatoes, carrots, beets, milk, cheese, seafood, dry beans, maple syrup and wheat.   Consider where you are eating:                 The best place to enjoy a meal or a snack is sitting down at a table with minimal distractions aside from a pleasant conversation with your family or a friend. Unfortunately, this may rarely be the location of choice. Brian Wansink is a professor and researcher at Cornell University and has conducted many studies regarding the factors influencing what we eat, how much we eat and why we eat. In his book, “Mindless Eating,” Dr. Wansink describes diet danger zones including parties, restaurants, desks and dashboards. In these environments it is easy to mindlessly overeat. The food table at parties is always enticing. Dimmed lighting...

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Fall. Food. Fun.

Fall. Food. Fun.

Whether you are entertaining or just looking to make something easy, good and healthy for the fam, you can use local, seasonal ingredients.     While others might bemoan the coming of fall with grumbles of snow, ice and cold, I am someone who will gladly trade in her flip-flops, shorts and tanks for boots, jeans and hoodies. I welcome autumn in all her glorious reds, golds, and steel gray skies, warm sunshine and brisk winds. And the harvest! Apples, pumpkins, beets, carrots, squash, cranberries – the flavors and the colors make everything delicious AND gorgeous! You can see by my over use of exclamation points that I get really excited about fall! My favorite holidays – Halloween and Thanksgiving (and my birthday) – are also in the fall, which gives me plenty of reasons to bake and cook and come up with awesome dishes (and steal a few ideas from others) that highlight seasonal and local foods. And while people often start fretting about the weight they are going to gain over the holidays, there really is no reason that you can’t keep it healthy and yummy. This past weekend, I had a pumpkin, a bushel of apples and a bag of cranberries sitting on my butcher block. What to do, what to do … So I thought about a fall fruit salad. Actually, it’s so pretty, I should call it an autumn fruit salad. That makes it a little fancier (I think I read one too many Fancy Nancy books during my former life as a school librarian). Anyway, I use about half of a medium to good-sized pumpkin. Take the guts out, cut the peeling off, chop it into cubish pieces and fill the bottom of my baking pan with it (I also drizzled a little maple syrup over the pumpkin, but I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary unless you are like Buddy the Elf and me and consider maple syrup to be a food group.) and sprinkled cinnamon over the top. I put that into a 350 degree oven because I wanted the pumpkin to cook longer than the apples, which I like to still have a little crunch to them and the cranberries, which just need long enough to pop. So that cooked for about 10 minutes while I cored, peeled and chopped up four or five large apples. Then I took the pumpkin out, put the apples and cranberries on top and put it all back in the oven for another 10 or 15 minutes. The best part of my whole concoction was the maple yogurt I put on top after I dished out the warm fruit salad. Just mix 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into 1 cup of yogurt. I used homemade yogurt, so it came out a little runnier, but any kind of plain yogurt will work. I ended up eating this on its own after the pumpkin/apple/cranberry was gone. If you wanted to be super Martha Stewart-y, you could put the fruit salad inside a hollowed out pumpkin. I also have been playing with pumpkin yogurt parfaits recently. You can use canned pumpkin for this but it’s really easy to do your own pumpkin puree. Again, I cut up, gutted and peeled the pumpkin, and then cooked it on the stovetop like you would potatoes or squash. Once it’s softened up and cooled, you mash it up and add pumpkin pie spice and a couple slurps (excuse my measurement lingo) of maple syrup to sweeten it up. Then layer it with plain or vanilla yogurt and top...

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Why breakfast?

We all lead busy lives, and there’s always something that just has to get today. (Here in Maine we call it being “right out straight.”) While this is true for everyone, one of the most important things you can make time for is breakfast!  Eating breakfast can give you the stamina needed to accomplish all those other important tasks. You’ve heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Probably you’ve heard it so many times because it’s true. When you eat breakfast you have more energy, you can keep your focus easier, and you are more apt to eat healthier throughout the day. Many people believe that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight, but if you eat a healthy breakfast it will actually kick start your metabolism, and that full feeling will keep you from consuming empty calories later on. When children have a nutritious breakfast, they do better in school and are more likely to participate in sports. Kids who don’t eat breakfast have a more difficult time paying attention in school, which often leads to poor performance and behavioral problems. They also miss more school and are more likely to have a higher BMI (body mass index), which means they may be overweight. To learn more about the connection between nutrition, physical activity and academic success, read the Wellness Impact Report executive summary at http://www.genyouthfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The_Wellness_Impact_Exec_Sum.pdf or the long version is at http://www.genyouthfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The_Wellness_Impact_Report.pdf/. While any breakfast is better than no breakfast at all, it’s important to try and eat things lower in calories, sugar and fat. Save those sprinkle-covered, jelly-filled doughnuts for once in a while treats, and add some variety to your breakfasts by trying to include at least three of the five main food groups: Dairy Grains Fruits Vegetables Meat Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information and tips about how to ensure you are getting the right amount of servings of each food group each day. Ingredients for a healthier breakfast are: Dairy Products – milk, cheese, and yogurt are all sources of high quality protein you can add to make a healthy breakfast! Fruit – Top your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt with fresh or dried fruit! Vegetables – make an omelet with some veggies like peppers and tomatoes in it. Protein – try adding some eggs or nuts to your breakfast. Grains – go for the whole grains. Ideas for a healthy breakfast: Omelet with cheese and veggies French toast or pancakes made with whole grain bread or flour (add some fruit on top) Cereal with milk and fruit Whole grain English muffin with cheese and a side of fruit Yogurt parfait with fruit and granola Fruit smoothie made with milk and/or yogurt Oatmeal cooked in milk (or soak a half cup on rolled oats in 1 cup of  yogurt, milk or a combination thereof overnight and it will be ready when you get up in the morning). Still too busy? Like I said earlier, any breakfast is better than no breakfast, here are some quick breakfast ideas you can either prepare the night before or grab on your way out the door: Fresh fruit and cheese English muffin with peanut butter and a cheese stick on the side Yogurt with a trail mix Cold leftover pizza. That’s right folks, I said it – pizza. Make sure it’s a whole grain crust, low-fat cheese and lots of veggies like peppers, spinach, fresh or sun dried tomatoes, even sweet potato or cubed squash. Pizza is not junk food if it’s made correctly. I just found this recipe from Food Recipes HQ on...

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