Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fish for Babies? Yes!

Should you give your baby fish to eat? New research implies the answer is yes! In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, it was found that feeding as little as one portion of fish to babies less than 9 months may cut the risk of eczema by almost 25%. Eczema is a chronic skin condition affecting 10-15% of children and is related to other allergic (atopic) conditions like asthma, hay fever and food allergies. The study was done at the University of Sweden and involved about 5,000 infants.

What type of fish? It didn't matter--however --fatty fish like salmon, add brain building fat (DHA) that babies may not be getting enough of.

What About Allergies?

In the past, the standard recommendation was to delay introducing potentially allergenic foods like dairy, nuts, and fish way past 1 year. However, that advice recently changed. From the summary portion of the latest American Academy of article about this topic:

Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease
in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction,
Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed
Formulas by Frank R. Greer, MD, Scott H. Sicherer, MD, A. Wesley Burks, MD, and the Committee on Nutrition and Section on Allergy and Immunology.

PEDIATRICS Volume 121, Number 1, January 2008

"Although solid foods should not be introduced before
4 to 6 months of age,there is no current convincing
evidence that delaying their introduction beyond this
period has a significant protective effect on the development
of atopic disease regardless of whether infants
are fed cow milk protein formula or human
milk. This includes delaying the introduction of foods
that are considered to be highly allergic, such as fish,
eggs, and foods containing peanut protein

In a nutshell, the article summarizes that EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING for at least 3-4 months does reduce the incidence of some atopic diseases. Research proves once again that breast milk is the ultimate Super Food!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are You Bashing Your Diet with a Bad Breakfast?

The Good News:

After years of hearing that breakfast is sooooo good for you, you've decided it add it to your schedule!

The Bad News:
You may be doing your body more harm than good if you are eating a typical fast food breakfast!
Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, the authors of Eat This, Not That, have revealed the 8 worst breakfast foods--their results may surprise you!!

Worst Side Dish:
Large Hash Browns from Burger King:

620 calories: (which would cover an average breakfast for most people)
40 grams of fat, (11 g saturated, 13 g trans) More trans fat than you should have in a day!
1200 mg of sodium: half the recommended sodium for a day

Worst Sandwich:
Hardee's Monster Biscuit

710 calories
51 g fat (WOW!)
2250 mg sodium (about a person's limit for the day)

Worst Pastry:
Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll
813 calories
32 g fat (5 g trans fat)
117 g carbs

Worst Smoothie:
Smoothie King Grape Expectations II (40 oz.)
1,102 calories
256 g sugars
740 mg sodium

Talk about surprising! Ya think you've finally got it together by drinking a fruit packed smoothie--but the calories in this thing will bust any diet! And with the amount of sugar in this thing...well...just watch out! And please don't drink this if you have diabetes!

What to Eat Instead: Bridget's Favorites

My favorite fast food breakfast:
McDonald's Egg McMuffin:
310 calories
12 g fat (5 g saturated)
820 mg sodium
30 g carbs

Even if you really went for it and ate 2, the diet damage would be less than other fast food breakfasts.


Unless it's for a meal replacement, order the small size and make it sugar free, because smoothies can be a good way to a get a fruit or two (or in many cases, a fruit juice or two)

I recently went to Smoothie King for the first time. Besides being a pricey after-school snack (about $11 for myself, my son and his friend--and we ordered smalls) I also suspected that there was mucho sugar syrup added to the smoothies. I ordered mine sans sucre--a Splendafied version of the Mangosteen smoothie, which was absolutely delish!)

Cinnamon Rolls

I have to admit, that as a cinnamon lover, it's really hard to resist the tempting smells of the spice when I'm at the mall or airport. And for the first time in years, I did indulge while at the San Jose Airport--opting for the cinnabites--and sharing it with my sister. But just looking at the nutrient info on the classic roll is kind of disgusting!! Only eat this if you can share it with your 4 best friends!!

Hash Browns and Other Breakfast Potatoes

A potato is a really healthy food! But as a breakfast food, it takes on a cloak of "Super-Bad". Be it fried potatoes or hash browns, it's got it in for you in the fat and sodium department. If you really want a potato, wait until lunch, and have it baked! (Use more sour cream than butter to cut the fat and go easy on the cheese and bacon.! You can also mix in some low-fat Italian dressing to moisten it) If the skin is well scrubbed, I like to cut it into pieces and dip it in light Ranch. The skin has lots of fiber and nutrients.

You can find the complete article (and the rest of the Worst Breakfast foods) at http://health.msn.com/nutrition/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100216490&page=1

BOTTOM LINE: breakfast really is a good thing for your diet, health and waistline, depending on what you eat.

The MSN article mentioned a study showing that high quality protein breakfast helped with weight loss. That study was done with EGGS, yes, eggs!! Just watch what company your eggs keep on your plate (skip the bacon and sausage; add ham if you're not watching your sodium. Even better, make a veggie omelette or frittata. Some other breakfast favorites of mine:
  • Nutrigrain Whole Grain Blueberry Waffles with peanut butter and honey or blueberries
  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal spriinkled with Salba and fruit and topped with Horizon Organic Skim Milk
  • Eggs scrambled with onion, tomato and garlic served with fat-free refried beans and avocado slices and a tortilla or toast

Ok...and sometimes I eat some hot French Bread with Kerrygold Irish butter. Yum!

BPA Concerns Revisted

Last week, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association about BPA and the risk of heart disease gives more power to the argument that BPA may indeed be hazardous to our health. BPA or biphenol-A, is a chemical used to make plastic hard, is widespread in the environment--from CD cases to water bottles and baby bottles. It is also used in the plastic liners of cans.

The problem, researchers have been saying for years, is that some of the BPA in plastic can leach out of the plastic and into our food or water--especially if the plastic is exposed to chemicals or high temperatures. Animal studies have linked BPA, which in the body can act like estrogen, to breast, prostate and reproductive system problems as well as a few types of cancer. A recent report also stated "some concern" as to the effects of BPA on the brains of fetuses. infants and children.

This study looked at more than 1400 adults and measured the level of BPA in their blood as well as chronic disease diagnosis, blood markers of liver function, glucose and a few other blood tests. The results showed that the higher amounts of BPA in the urine was associated with diagnosis of heart disease and diabetes. You can see the study at http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300.11.1303


This study did not determine that high levels of BPA causes heart disease or diabetes--it only showed that there is an association. What it does do is point to BPA as a chemical we might want to have less of in our food supply until more research is done. Until then, choose food storage containers that don't have BPA:

Plastics with the recyclying code of 1,2 or 5.
Glass or ceramic
Plastics labeled "No BPA"

Forward thinking companies are rushing to the market with BPA free products, so it shouldn't be hard to find them!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back to School--What's For Dinner??!!

Yesterday I was trading stories with my friend Millie about the craziness of the Back to School Schedule. We agreed, between School Open Houses, College Night, Sports Practice and Girl Scouts, it's hard to all sit down together at once, much less have the time between driving to put together a meal! Be both use non-traditional menus to keep our sanity during this busy time. Millie said sometimes it was fruit, yogurt and nuts at her house, or some scrambled eggs.
Ditto I agreed--eggs and bean burritos were the fave in this part of Texas.

Was this a guilty admission among friends? No! Because these foods make for healthy dinners that kids eat!

Sometimes we think that "dinner" has to mean meat, veggies and potatoes or the like. In my book, good dinner can be just about whatever you can throw together that has protein, fruit or vegetables and a source of complex carb.

Whether you're the mom of 3 like Millie, with kids from elementary to high school-- or an empty nester staring at the fridge and not liking the idea of cooking, these 12 days of dinner ideas are for you!

  • Whole grain waffle with peanut butter & honey with a fruit yogurt smoothie

  • Scrambled eggs on a whole grain engish muffin topped with salsa and avocado

  • Grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fresh fruit on the side

  • Rotisserie chicken sliced over a green salad with cherry tomatoes and julienne carrots

  • Bean burrito using canned beans

  • Microwaved vegetarian lasagna with a side caesar salad

  • Crock pot beef stew

  • Tuna fish salad served in a scooped out tomato

  • Pasta salad made with leftover pasta, with added thawed frozen veggies (one with black bean and corns is good), cherry tomatoes, grated low fat cheese, and leftover chicken

  • Deviled eggs served whole grain crackers and a yogurt fruit parfait for dessert

  • French bread pizza using jarred pasta sauce, grated mozarella, and thinly sliced mushrooms and black olives