Saturday, August 17, 2019

Keeping calories under control when dining out

There are plenty of fun places to dine in San Jose California not only is the city a fun place to visit but the area also contains some of the best restaurants in San Jose. Ever wonder how you can possibly lose weight when the average dinner out contains so many extra calories? Well, don’t worry this post might be able to help! Keeping yourself in shape when dining out is simply a matter of ordering the right things to eat.

Here are 6 tips for having a healthy dinner out (and keeping all those extra calories in check) Tips that will help you turn just about any restaurant into one of the healthy restaurants.

Watch Your Drinks

By not ordering an alcoholic beverage, you've saved yourself a considerable number of calories. Try sipping iced tea sweetened with a noncaloric sweetener, a diet soft drink, or water with lemon. You'll be glad you did when you consider the calorie savings.

Have A Salad

One of the best menus choices is a salad, salads are my healthy fast food. Not only will it fill you up so you'll consume fewer calories overall, but it will also give you a hefty dose of antioxidants which are heart-healthy. Be sure to ask your waitress to hold the croutons and cheese which will further reduce your caloric intake. Also, choose your dressing wisely. Avoid cream-based dressings and go for the vinegar-based ones. You also have the option of using vinegar and olive oil which is heart-healthy.

Don’t Order An Appetizer Unless Necessary

Do you know that some appetizers have more calories and fat than the main course? Plus, many appetizers are fried and served with heavy sauces which will add to your intake of saturated fat as well as trans fats and calories. It's not a healthy way to start your meal.

Choose The Right Kind Of Foods

Go for broiled and grilled rather than fried. Not only will you save calories and fat grams, but you'll also avoid trans fats which are so prevalent in fried foods. Instead, consider asking for a doubles order of vegetables with your entree. Very few Americans are getting the 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for optimal health. Plus, by avoiding the starch, you'll be reducing your caloric and carbohydrate intake. Also, stick to tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based and you'll enjoy considerable calorie savings. Lastly, ask for the sauce to be served in a separate dish on the side so you can control the amount you eat.

Don’t Overeat

Today, many restaurants are serving larger quantities of food than in the past. If this is the case, put aside a portion of your entree at the beginning of the meal to take home with you. If you remove it from your plate before you start eating, you'll be less tempted to overeat.

No ” To Sugary, Fatty Desserts

Instead, go for low fat or low carbohydrate dessert selections such as a low-carb cheesecake. These are wise choices for the health-conscious eater that still allow you to end the meal on a sweet note. If a healthy dessert option isn't available, try a cup of coffee with skim milk to help satiate your desire for something sweet.

The next time you go out for dinner, keep the above tips in mind. You will be surprised how many calories you are able to eliminate from your meal just by ordering the right menu selection, turn where ever you dine when you're eating out into a healthy food restaurant by the number of calories you can take away!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Why I love Apples

There are many great foods in the world. Unsigned professional chef (known only to my family) of course I love food. I enjoy cooking it just as much as I enjoy eating it. Nothing gives me as much of a thrill as preparing a great meal for the people I love. I've heard it said many times that a chef must have a hard time choosing a favorite meal. For me, that has never been the case. From the time I was a young boy up until now, I have loved a good apple more than any other food.

I guess one of the biggest reasons that I love an apple is because of all of the childhood memories I have that include apples. My Texas grandparents had several apple trees on their farm, and on the summers my siblings and I would spend with my grandparents we used to enjoy endless hours of wandering through the different fruit trees, picking or favorite fruit, my favorite was of course apples. We would play games and enjoy being out of the city (San Francisco) and when our energy was exhausted we would sit underneath apple trees for hours telling stories and laughing.

Almost since I can remember I had heard the words an apple a day keeps the doctor away but it wasn't until much later that I remember reading some of the information that showed me why those words might actually be true. Now I know that apples are good for the heart and possess a soluble fiber that helps in absorbing cholesterol. Antioxidants also useful in fighting bad cholesterol are packed onto an apple; antioxidants that can also help prevent lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.

Apples are a form of health food that can help improve the bacteria that live inside our large intestine and affect the metabolism inside the digestive tract by eliminating bad bacteria and toxins maximizing your nutrient intake. Talk about a great snack food for diabetic patients apples slow down the digestion of food which can lessen the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. The high levels of potassium in apples prevent the loss of calcium in the blood which prevents the loss of calcium in the bones for good bone density.

I also learned over time that eating apples activate saliva to kill up to 80% of the bacteria in your mouth and that protects your teeth and gums. The free radicals that can lead to oxidative stress and has been linked to fatigue can be counteracted by the high vitamin C and antioxidants biologically sealed inside an apple. Vitamin C can even help protect against exercise-induced asthma, mix some apple juice with an equal amount of carrot juice for a good way to relieve constipation.

Most people know about the great taste of an apple depending on the variety of apple you enjoy, but now I eat them with the knowledge that eating apples are truly good for me and the apple's usefulness when it comes to your health is wide. The decline of acetylcholine can be prevented with an apple in your diet thus preserving your memory. Adding some apple to your diet has also been shown to slow the mental decline in people suffering from Alzheimer's.

My father did most of the cooking when I was a child but I actually think my love for cooking started in my grandmother's kitchen filled with the smell and taste of apple pie. It was my grandmother who taught me how to tell when an apple was just right for picking and then again when it was just right for eating. Unlike many families, we always ate our apple cold out of the refrigerator. Grandma always said that there was nothing as good as a cold apple.

My children now live on their own, but when they were younger and still living at home I was convinced that there is no food quite like the apple. It seems to be the perfect fruit and frankly, I'd say it is the perfect health food. I try to eat an apple a day and still see my doctor once a year no matter what, and I've been encouraging my kids to start doing the same. To me, a cold apple is still a treat but the information I wanted to get across in this post is that apples not only make a great tasting snack they are also healthy and good for you.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Organic Tea

The word “organic” seems simple enough but when it comes to shopping for organic our Numi organic tea there can be confusing. So let me share with you my inside look at the standards and laws governing organic tea companies that sell tea labeled organic. For me, it all started with a question, "what exactly determines if a particular tea is grown organically?

The Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) passed by the US Congress back in 1990, required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop national organic standards for the labeling of organic tea. The National Organic Program (NOP) and OFPA developed regulations requiring products labeled “organic” originate from a farm, or handling facilities, that are certified by either State or private agencies that have been accredited by the USDA. The regulations further state that farms or handling facilities may not use any genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge, yikes!

Further stipulating that organic crops must be grown without the use of most conventional pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers and again sewage sludge-based fertilizers. The USDA is required by OFPA to review the certification programs under which imported organic products, like tea, are produced. Which means that certified agents in foreign countries must apply for USDA certification. In lieu of USDA certification, foreign governments can assess and accredit certifying agents, under National Organic Program requirements, with USDA approval.

An equivalency agreement negotiated between the US and a country’s government may also be used in lieu of certification. So what are the organic tea brands labeling standard? Organic labeling is the simplest part of the certification process and the aspect that is most confusing for consumers. Where I live the word “organic” on a label simply means you pay more, certification wise what the organic label means is that the tea follows the standards based on the percentage of organic ingredients in a product, and by law must be identified with a 100% organic label and must contain only organically produced ingredients.

Produce labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients and display the USDA Organic Seal. Processed produce that contains at least 70% organic ingredients can only use the phrase “made with organic ingredients”. Processed products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients cannot use the term “organic” accept to identify the specific ingredients, on the ingredients list that is organically produced.

So what does all this mean to US tea consumers? Since tea is grown outside of the US certification is almost always done by foreign agents. It has become more and more important for consumers concerned about how their tea is grown to be comfortable with their tea supplier. Bio-terrorism laws have impacted tea importation by looking more closely overall at what and who are importing products into this country, particularly food products. While these laws can sometimes impede the smooth flow of tea to us from overseas it may be beneficial overall to consumers due to the “closer scrutiny” by the FDA.

Converting gardens and estates to organic farming is a costly and lengthy process and sometimes not even a consideration for small farmers. In some cases, farmers are already doing a lot right, but they lack the knowledge or funding necessary to become certified. There is an effort by the US tea industry to educate growers on the benefit both economically and ecologically for growing tea organically.

Reliable quality taste has been an issue with organic teas. Gardens converting to organic farming to produce the different organic tea brands or organic tea India have challenges that will require short and long term solutions to producing tea with consistently good taste. Over the years the organic tea growing process continues to improve, the tea farmers gain more experience and with each passing season, the quality and taste of organically grown tea keep improving.

As an importer and supplier of premium teas, the major responsibility is to know the production standards and philosophies of the gardens they work with. Securing quality organic tea with outstanding taste characteristics can be challenging but more flavorful varieties of tea become available each season.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Going Vegetarian

“Several epidemiological studies indicate that vegetarians have lower morbidity and mortality from chronic degenerative diseases.” Even the Utah Beef Council agrees with that data, but let's face it, today, vegetarians only make up about two percent of the population. Still, every day more and more people give up eating red meat or try their first bite of tofu. Aside from ethics, health and ecology seem to be the main reasons people are turning away from meat?

Hundreds of different studies have shown that vegetarians who eat balanced diets have lower rates of coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, and certain cancers. Registered Dietitian Winston Craig says that eating meat costs Americans somewhere between $30-$60 billion per year in medical expenses related to hypertension, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, obesity, and food-borne illnesses associated with meat. Dropping some meats from my diet has helped me tamp down the skyrocketing price of meat from the grocery store. And, I remember feeling particularly pleased during the last major hamburger meat recall since hamburger meat was on my do not eat list at the time.

So far just about all of the information I have learned and tried to put to use has been very positive. I was especially attracted to the lower rates of disease amongst vegetarians which were right in turn with what Dr. Craig says; that a vegetarian diet is associated with lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and less obesity.

In 1997, the World Cancer Research Fund recommended a vegetarian diet for reducing the risk of cancer and it was the numbers they shared that piqued my interest. Lifelong vegetarians have 24% less heart disease, while vegans have an astounding 57% less. I'm afraid I fall into the vegetarian category since I have cut way back on meat, but still part-take of other animal products like cheese and milk. Vegans don't consume any animal products at all.

An all-inclusive study of a vegetarian religious group, the Seventh Day Adventists, found that the study group had half the rate of high blood pressure and diabetes, half the rate of colon cancer, and two-thirds the rate of arthritis and prostate cancer as other groups (2001). Also, Cornell University reported that eating less meat did more to reduce osteoporosis than supplementing your diet with calcium.

I am living proof that you don't need to go completely vegan to enjoy some of the health effects mentioned in this post I have noticed several improvements since my making a real effort to go meat-free (whenever I can) there has been some weight loss and an increase in workout energy.  In 1999, a meta-analysis of several vegetarian and vegan mortality studies was conducted. The results of these studies were compared together and re-analyzed. The researchers concluded that even reducing meat in your diet had a significant effect on lowering your rate of disease. People who ate meat just once a week had a 20% lower rate of dying from heart disease, and their over-all mortality rate was reduced by 10%.

For those who ate only fish saw as much as a 34% reduction in heart disease death, while their over-all mortality was lowered by 18%. My ultimate goal is to go completely vegan, right now my family, and extended family is the biggest enabler to my not being able to go completely vegan. The good news here is the more you reduce the consumption of animal products, the more you appear to benefit. Only 7% of the vegans studied died of cancer (lung, stomach, and colorectal). Worryingly, 19% of over-all deaths in the US are from cancer.

Being a Vegan, or even a Vegetarian is also good for the planet. How you may ask? Every year, meat eaters contribute to the cattle farming industry. This industry uses farmlands that could be producing food for people to make grain for cows. As most people know, cows produce large amounts of environmentally-toxic methane gas. Raising cows also uses precious water resources. Don't get me wrong I'm not really hating on cows, it's just that back when a cow or cows took care of a families needs the above toxins (methane) and use of the water supply didn't amount to much.

But once cows were gathered by the hundreds to produce milk and other dairy products for the masses it just seems to me that another problem was created. Believe me when I say it was not easy for me to contemplate giving up meat. I come from a long line of hunters, and meat-eaters who do not believe that man fought his way to the top of the food chain just to eat plants. My favorite uncle, Bae Honey, loved to hunt and said to me once "there's room on this earth for all of God's creatures that live in the forest, right next to the potatoes."

This post is meant mainly to share some of the stats I have collected about the health benefits enjoyed by vegans, and vegetarians in the hope you might find it useful and to share some of what I call the negative health effects from eating meat. Moving now to the negative environmental effects of eating meat, did you know that eating meat also contributes to the destruction of the rain forests? I kid you not. In an effort to make a cheaper Big Mac and Whopper, companies are growing cattle in Central America, where labor and other costs are lower. Eager Central Americans are slashing and burning their native rain forests to make room for the beef industry.

It is estimated that a vegetarian diet saves 1.5 tons of greenhouse gas per person per year. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that producing one calorie of animal protein requires ten times the fossil fuel as producing one calorie of plant protein, and according to the New Scientist publication eating a vegan diet reduces more carbon dioxide emissions than driving a hybrid car.

This is not the first time I have heard about the negative stats involving eating meat, and the price we pay for every hamburger that originated from a rain forest. Cow required the destruction of roughly 55 square feet of rain-forest, and too, studies show that one pound of beef requires 2,500 gallons of water. The water used to produce one hamburger patty is enough for two-weeks-worth of daily showers.

Whether you join my crusade to save the world one hamburger at a time or not I hope you will take heed of the health benefits listed above and at least consider
a reduction in your meat intake and if you fear going-totally-vegan, you can at least enjoy a safe space in the middle because between an unhealthy diet and the healthy vegan diet is the vegetarian.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Organic Food

The label "organic" nowadays used to distinguish one tomato from another is a big stretch from the word's original meaning, until the middle of the twentieth-century organic simply meant something living or derived from living matter. In that sense, the idea of an "inorganic tomato" is a contradiction in terms, unless it is, says, a tomato-shaped glass ornament. With very few exceptions just about all of our food is "organic" no matter how it is produced.

The supermarket word "organic" can be traced back to 1942 when J. I. Rodale launched a magazine he called Organic Gardening. Nowadays Rodale is hailed as a pioneer, but then he was often derided as a crank and a throwback to obsolete ways of farming. He advocated maintaining soil fertility and stability by putting organic-matter, animal manure or compost, back into the soil rather than relying on the "inorganic," or synthetic, fertilizers that were then widely seen as the modern way to go.

So in Rodale's usage, it was the fertilizers, and from them, the farming methods, rather than the food, that was organic making the soil his primary concern and not with issues like biodiversity or animal welfare. It wasn's long before the meaning of "organic farming" soon parted company from Rodale's original narrow distinction between fertilizers. Varying definitions spun out of control as different associations of "organic farmers" tried to set standards in accordance with their own values. Some wanted to stick with a narrow definition in terms of what you could and could not put on the soil, the crops, or the animals. Others wanted to include an entire way of life, including healthy living, an equitable form of distribution, concern for wildlife, and so on. Among organizations of organic farmers around the world, the broader view prevailed. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements settled on this definition:

Organic agriculture is an agricultural system that promotes environmentally, socially, and economically sound production of food, fiber, timber, etc. In this system, soil fertility is seen as the key to successful production. Working with the natural properties of plants, animals, and the landscape, organic farmers aim to optimize quality in all aspects of agriculture and the environment.

Such a definition does not, however, lend itself to being reduced to a label that can be put on products to show that they were produced organically. Without specific standards that could be encapsulated in a label, consumers were often unsure what the various "organic" labels used by different associations and producers really meant. Hopefully, by now it is understood that organic foods mean so much more than simply whether or not a pesticide is used or not.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress decided to clear up the confusion by authorizing the Department of Agriculture to establish legally enforceable "USDA Organic" standards and a certification scheme so that consumers could be confident that their food really had been produced in accordance with the standards. That led, in 2002, to a set of standards that most people in organic farming considered a reasonable compromise among the various views of what organic farming is all about. Crops must be grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, and most synthetic pesticides and all herbicides are also banned, although biological and botanical methods of control can be used.

Soil fertility is to be maintained by the use of animal and plant waste (but not sewage sludge, which can contain toxic heavy metals), crop rotation, and growing "cover crops" like clover between other crops. (Cover crops are plowed into the soil to restore nitrogen and organic matter.) Animals used for meat, eggs, or milk must eat organic grains or other organic food and must not be given growth hormones or antibiotics. (Sick or injured animals may be treated with antibiotics, but then their meat, milk, or eggs cannot be sold as organic.) Organically raised animals must have access to the outdoors, including access to pasture for ruminants. Neither plants nor animals can be the product of genetic engineering, and organic food cannot be irradiated.

Reprinted from: The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. Author, Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values. He first became well known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation in 1975. In 2005, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Jim Mason is the coauthor of Animal Factories (with Peter Singer) and the author of An Unnatural Order: Why We Are Destroying the Planet and Each Other, which John Robbins, author of the best-selling Diet for a New America, calls "a wonderful and important book." He is also an attorney and the fifth generation of a Missouri farming family.

So if like me, you are a buy-organic-kind-of-person hopefully you will find this information useful. I know the information above broadened my view of the meaning of the word organic as it relates to the food I buy and consume. Prior to now my view of organic-food was simply, did they spray this with pesticides or not? I also learned the pesticides are necessary even on food labeled organic. You can still be okay if you use the labels currently being placed on supermarket foods, I always read the label, with the overall idea being to minimize or remove toxins from the food I eat, and not to add them.

Saturday, June 1, 2019


Exercise is a very important part of a healthy diet, and done on a regular basis exercise will help you fight off disease and other unhealthy conditions. Exercise on a daily basis helps keep you in control of your weight, boosts your energy level, and enjoy an improvement in your mood. Exercise can be fun, social, and put the spark back in your sex life.

Let me start by saying that if you suffer from any chronic health problems diabetes, arthritis or heart disease you should let your doctor in on any new exercise plan, especially if you haven't exercised regularly in a while. I am not a doctor but my goal, with the posts I write, is to keep you out of the hospital, and healthy by sharing the health news, and tips I find in all my health and wellness online exploration. I also realize that what works for me, exercise wise, may not work for everyone who reads my posts.

Whether you prefer indoor, or outdoor physical activity exercise can allow you to unwind and whether or not you chose to workout indoor or outdoor you can still team up with friends or family to enjoy the social aspect of keeping your body active on a regular basis. When it comes to exercise some exercise is better than none, but exercise on a regular basis is better than over exercising on a once in a while basis. Seventy-five minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, such as running or one-hundred and fifty minutes of moderate exercise activity like walking is a good recommendation for the beginner.

I actually use a combination of the two that involves both walking and some running with strength training for my major muscles at least twice a week. I made my own schedule and depending on the way your day usually shapes up you should too. The important thing is to make some time for yourself,  then take the plunge---start and begin exercising on a regular basis.

I spread my exercise activity out over the week so my exercise seldom happen at the same time every day, but I try to stay committed and still make sure that my exercise goal for that day is met. So if you suffer from low energy levels, especially when it comes to experiencing, or enjoying sexual intimacy physical activity on a regular basis can not only raise your energy level it has also been known to increase confidence in your own appearance.

Where intimacy is concerned, women who exercise on a regular basis may experience enhanced arousal due to increased blood flow where it's needed most. Men who get an aerobic workout on a regular basis are less likely to have a problem with ED (erectile dysfunction) than men who chose not to give up the couch for a more active lifestyle. So if you're already on a healthy diet path and you haven't yet added exercise to your daily routine, then take the plunge into exercise on a regular basis.

Bulletproof yourself against many types of cancer, anxiety, and depression, type 2 diabetes, and high-blood-pressure to name just a few of the illnesses and conditions the lack of exercise can leave you open to. Lower your death risk with a regular daily exercise activity of your choice with the emphasis not on how much exercise you can do, but how often you can exercise.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cinnamon and Honey Mix

There is a magic that happens when you mix and boil Cinnamon and Honey together. Cinnamon falls in the sweet spice family of herbs. I have heard that cinnamon is good for improving your sleep, and weight loss but I use it mostly on my oatmeal and as part of my flu and cold elixir I usually put together in the cold and flu season. Honey contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals that can vary slightly depending on the flowers the bees forage but overall it is hard to beat the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities found in pure natural honey.

Mixing the two together creates, in my opinion, a superfood that can be useful for a list of health problems. For someone, looking for help controlling cholesterol levels the mixture of boiled cinnamon and honey can, in about two hours lower high cholesterol levels as much a 10%.  This may sound funny and, I have yet to give this a try, but the mixture of cinnamon and honey on pasta, eaten on bread in place of jelly at breakfast is said to decrease cholesterol in the arteries and protect against heart attack.

Consuming the cinnamon and honey mixture on a regular basis can protect you from organisms like viruses and bacteria strengthens your bodies resistance to these organisms by bulletproofing your immune system. Cinnamon mixed with honey can even provide reinforcement when your body is a war with a cold. A quarter tablespoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of honey taken three days in a row will go a long way in helping you fight off that cold. Honey, doctors have discovered, contains an ingredient that can remove flu bacteria and viruses, how cool is that?

When it comes to your skin and acne a mixture of cinnamon and honey applied to your face before bedtime, and rinsed off in the morning can help reduce the inflammation that causes acne. The mixture of cinnamon and honey, with olive-oil added, can be used to prevent hair loss. Mix one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon honey, and one teaspoon cinnamon applies to your scalp for at least 15 minutes then rinse.

Cinnamon and honey mixed together was already know to have a positive effect on the stomach, by presenting stomach aches, but a more recent study has shown that the combination of these two ingredients is also effective in treating gastric cancer when one tablespoon of cinnamon and one tablespoon of honey are taken over a period of three months. The same combination of ingredients one tablespoon of cinnamon, one tablespoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water helps fix a gall bladder infection by killing harmful bacteria in the gall bladder.

Where we all fall in the list of cures and treatments the combination of cinnamon and honey can provide is beyond me and my abilities to know. My hope is that by spreading health-related information like this we can all get a clearer picture of just how useful these health tips can be and figure out when and where to apply them. So far I have enjoyed success with just about every health tips I have followed and where necessary I have checked with my doctor when thinking about replacing an over-the-counter medicine with a herbal, or more holistic one.

It's not that I don't trust all of the health tips I read across, I just like to balance some of my non-medical knowledge decision-making with some true medical opinion, and I love sharing the health tips I have tried and that have worked for me. I have made a small batch (two small jars) of the cinnamon and honey mix and I'm just finishing my first week of using it each morning in tea. You can bet if  I develop any superpowers that fact will appear in a post.