Rhonda’s Cooking


Archive for September, 2008

Part 2: Water: Which to Drink—Tap, Bottled, or Filtered?

Posted by rhondascooking on September 27, 2008

Last week I addressed our need for water and daily requirements. If you didn’t get a chance to read that, be sure to check it out.  This week, I want to briefly discuss the different kinds of water.  Many times people ask me which kind of water to choose and to explain the differences between bottled, tap, and filtered water.  So, I decided to briefly summarize.  

1.      Tap Water—water that comes from the water in lakes or rivers (surface water), or from water that comes from wells (groundwater).1 This is also known as water from faucet.

2.      Bottled Water—water that comes from Springs or Artesian Wells from the ground that have been tested and approved, or from public treated water supplies that often use processes to further enhance the quality of the water.2

3.      Filtered Water—water that has passed through sand or some sort of screening process to remove heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.  Water can be filtered by using the following filters:3

a.    Carbon filters—these are inexpensive and common entry-level filters that utilize a carbon filter.  These filters are typically used in special water pitchers or attached to a faucet.  Unfortunately this process doesn’t remove many toxins, heavy metals, etc. 

b.    Water distillers—distillers that use electricity to heat tap water to the boiling point, separating impurities from the “steam”, which becomes the clean drinking water. This method removes everything including the good minerals.

c.     Reverse Osmosis (RO)—tap water that passes through an extremely fine membrane that removes everything. Water from these systems are the optimum level of water filters.  Sometimes bottled water companies use this process as the source of their water.

d.    Alkaline Water Filters—tap water that passes through alkaline filters, which use an electromagnetic process to separate acidic water from alkaline water.  The acidic water can be discarded and alkaline water is used for drinking and cooking.


So, which is the best?  According to Dr. Don Colbert, filtered water is one of the best kinds of water to drink.  Whatever you decide, make sure that you have the right balance of purity and alkalinity. Do your research or just email me for more sources!


1“Drinking Water.”  Ewg.org. 29 Aug. 2008. 19 Sept. 2008


2“Bottled Water Path to Market.”  Bottledwater.org. 2006.  26 Sept. 2008


3Don Colbert, MD.  The Seven Pillars of Health.  Florida: Siloam, 2007.


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Gadget of the Week: Apple Divider and Corer

Posted by rhondascooking on September 27, 2008


I love this nifty gadget!  I no longer have to mess up my lipstick or make loud noises when eating one of my favorite fruits—apples!  Since we are now moving into the start of apple season, I decided to put this apple divider and corer in this week’s issue.  There are so many different types and brands to select that range in price from $1 to $35.  Now, because I keep it real with my readers, the divider that I have was only $1 and I have been using it for 3 years!  My gadget divides apples into 6 wedges and separates the core!  It’s so easy to use, clean and store. 

Just in case you can’t find the apple divider and corer in your neighborhood, then you can purchase one Amazon for about $7—yes, I know that seven times more!  But look at this way; it saves you on gas and time from running around looking for one for a $1!  LOL!

Check out the MIU Plastic and Stainless-Steel Apple Cutter/Corer, Black.

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A Simple Salad That’s Low in Calories and Fat!

Posted by rhondascooking on September 27, 2008

This week I decided to try and eat salad without oil because I am really trying to reduce my calories and fat intake.  So, I decided to try something a little different with my salad this week and it turned out great!  For the first time ever, I didn’t use oil on my salad, but instead I replaced it with Sabrosa Gourmet Salsa and it was great! This simple substitution is a 30 – 50% reduction in calories and fat without the oil.  Enjoy!


Southwestern Salad:

Serving size: 1 salad

3 cups romaine lettuce

3 tablespoons shredded carrots

¼ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

½ medium avocado, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons Sabrosa Fire-Roasted Gourmet Salsa (or any salsa)

3 tablespoons fresh corn kernels (optional), rinsed and drained


Toss all ingredients in a large salad bowl and serve. If desired, you can divide this recipe in half.    [Nutrition Facts: 250 Cal; 15g Fat (10 Mono, 2 Poly, 2 Sat); (13g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 7g Protein; 240% Vit A; 100% Vit C; 10% Calcium; 20% Iron]


If interested in the Sabrosa Fire Roasted Gourmet Salsa email duane@sabrosafoods.com. 

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Part 1. Water: Are You Drinking Enough?

Posted by rhondascooking on September 20, 2008

Water is one of the most essential nutrients for the body.  As a matter of fact, we can’t live without!  Even though we may live a month without food, we cannot live more than 5 days without water1—now don’t you think that this makes water important?! Water transports nutrients and oxygen to the body, eliminates waste, moistens body tissues (such as those in the mouth, eyes, and nose), lubricates joints, and cushions organs and tissues.2  So, if water plays such an important role in our lives, then how much are you drinking?  Do you even know how much water your body requires?


According to the Institute of Medicine, the daily adequate intake of water should be 3.7 liters (125 ounces) for men and 2.7 liters (91 ounces) for women.  That’s about 8-(16 ounce) bottles of water for men and 5 ½- bottles for women per day!  I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a lot!” Some of you may be even thinking, “I don’t like water that much!”  Here are a few tips that I think will help you meet this quota–#1 and #2 are my favorites:


1.    Start your day (when you wake up) with one 16-ounce glass of water.  Repeat every 4 hours until you reach the goal.

2.    Use an interesting glass or bottle for your water. Believe it or not, you eat and drink with your eyes first then the mouth second.  

3.    Add a couple of lemon wedges lemon juice or 1 fresh mint leaf to the water to add a little flavor and garnish; this is good for those of you who don’t like the natural water taste.



1Drinking Water.”  Ewg.org. 29 Aug. 2008. 19 Sept. 2008 http://www.epa.gov/region7/kids/drnk_b.htm
2“Find your water supply.”  Ewg.org. 2008. 19 Sept. 2008

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Are Your Plastic Bottles Safe?

Posted by rhondascooking on September 20, 2008

The week The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reported its findings of the long time debate concerning the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used as an epoxy to line food and beverage containers such as polycarbonate plastics (like bottle tops), drink cans, canned meats and vegetables, baby formula, etc.  In the study, American adult men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 74 were tested and compared with their overall health status.1   JAMA reported that the quarter of the population with the highest BPA levels — which were still at levels the FDA considers safe — were more than twice as likely to suffer from diabetes and cardiovascular disease as those in the quarter with the lowest levels.2 Isn’t this shocking news?! 


In 2007, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) performed a study with about 97 canned foods and found that the highest levels of BPA were found in chicken soup, baby formula and ravioli.3

So the next time you go grocery shopping for you and/or your family please keep the following facts in mind:

  1. Current exposures to BPA has some concern of effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.4
  2. BPA is at unsafe levels in 1 of every 10 servings of canned foods and 1 of every 3 cans of infant formula.3
  3. Glass and recyclable plastic bottles and water bottles do not contain polycarbonates.2
  4. Non-recyclable plastic containers that are made with polycarbonates are marked with the number 7 on the bottom.2
  5. Check the expiration date on bottled water/drinks; sometimes you’ll find some for sale way past that date. Choose from the back because sellers follow the FIFO principle—First In, First Out.

1Lang, Iain A PhD, et al.  “Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults.”  Journal of the American Medical Association. 19 September 2008 <http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300/11/1303>.
2Maugh, Thomas A. “LAT: Researchers Link BPA Exposure to Health Concerns.”  Los Angeles Times.  17 Sept. 2008.  19 Sept. 2008
3“Bisphenol A: Toxic Plastics Chemical in Canned Food.”  Ewg.org. March 2007. 19 Sept. 2008
4“NTP-CERHR Monograph on the Potential Human Reproductive and Developmental Effects on Bisphenol A.”  NIH Publication No. 08-5994. Sept 2008.


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Gadget of the Week: Specialty Glass Bottles

Posted by rhondascooking on September 20, 2008

I know that glass bottles aren’t technically a “gadget”, but I felt that with this week’s topic concerning water, it was a perfect time to discuss.  So, disregard the title and keep on reading! 

A year ago I started looking for large glass bottles with a good seal in order to keep my juice fresh.  I was browsing on the Web and I came across these unique specialty bottles with swing tops and I fell in love!  With all that’s going on in the environment and the fact that we are exposed to so much BPA through food stored in cans or non-recyclable bottles, I decided to start using the glass bottles as my daily water bottles.  I love these unique bottles because they are available in different styles and they are environmentally friendly!

As you read in my previous blog entry on BPA, results indicates that it does have some impact on one’s overall health.  So, if you are having difficulty with finding a water container that does not contain polycarbonate plastics or is not made of non-recyclable plastics, then you should really consider purchasing glass bottles.

You can purchase glass bottles with swing tops at specialty cooking stores and at Amazon.com. They vary in price depending on the size. If you can’t find one locally, click to purchase the 8.5 oz. Swing Bottle 314730ME.



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Sometimes It’s Hard

Posted by rhondascooking on September 7, 2008

Sometimes it’s hard to:

  • eat organic food because it potentially costs more than non-organic food.
  • avoid eating fried foods when you grew up eating it every day.
  • exercise everyday when you don’t have an exercise facility near your house.
  • stop eating fast foods when you have to work 8 hours a day and take care of others.
  • lose 5 pounds when you have a medical problem that causes you to gain weight no matter what you eat or do.
  • stop eating sweets when you are trying to “cut back”.
  • have a positive attitude about life when you know that you aren’t where you need to be in terms of your overall health.

I have felt these challenges and wanted to just give up, at some point in my life!  Nothing that I tried to do worked for me.  The more I tried, the more stressed I got; which led to more frustration and problems; the cycle just kept repeating.  One day I realized that I was my own worst enemy.  I kept putting unnecessary pressure on myself, which caused me to have more health challenges.  Have you ever felt this way?


If you are currently feeling frustrated, talk to someone—anyone!  It can be your doctor, a counselor, a friend, a support group, or even me.  I have found that by expressing my feelings with someone, encourage and help me to see the big picture—that I am on right path of living a healthy whole life!


So, as you prepare for a new week, sit down for a few minutes and assess what’s going on in your life.  Strive to make small changes in your eating habits.  I want you to join me and live a healthy, whole life.  Together, I believe that we can overcome any challenge, one day at a time!  If you are up for the challenge, email me (Rhonda@rhondascooking.com) if you want help with getting started!


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Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

Posted by rhondascooking on September 7, 2008

Fiber is very important in one’s diet despite the fact that many people do not eat enough of it.  Fiber, also known as dietary fiber, is a carbohydrate that is not digested by the body and used as energy like other carbohydrates; instead, the body eliminates fiber.1 I know you are probably asking yourself, “How can fiber be important if the body eliminates it?” 


It is important for the body to remove waste because if it remains in the body for a long period of time, then there is risk for potentially harmful substances to come into contact with the intestinal walls.1 So, whenever fiber is consumed it acts like a broom inside the body and sweeps up the waste in the intestines and colon. This is what keeps you from being constipated—yes, I said it! 


Fiber is not only important for keeping you regular, but also a high fiber diet is important for lowering the blood cholesterol levels and possibly for losing weight!  There are two different types of fiber—Soluble and insoluble.  Soluble fiber, unlike insoluble fiber, dissolves in water; this includes foods such as oat bran and buckwheat.


The amount of fiber that you should consume daily can be found in Table 1. 


Up to age 50

Over age 50


38 grams

30 grams


25 grams

21 grams

Table 1.Daily adequate intake of fiber for men and women.

 (Source: Institute of Medicine).


If you are not reaching your daily fiber target, then try adding variety high fiber foods, such as whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables to your daily meal plan, which can be seen in Table 2.  Notice that the bran and beans contain the most fiber and that foods that are high in sugar such as watermelon, white rice and orange juice contain less fiber.  So, the next time you go grocery shopping; please keep this list in mind!



Fiber (grams)

Post Cereal Bran Flakes


Split peas, cooked


Lentils, cooked


Garbanzo beans, cooked


Psyllium Husks


Barley, cooked


Green peas, frozen






Fresh Spinach




100% whole wheat bread


Brown rice, cooked


Romaine lettuce






White rice, cooked


Orange Juice


Table 2. Examples of low- and high-fiber foods

(Source: Esha Research Food Processor SQL).


1Duyff, Roberta Larson.  Complete Food and Nutrition Guide.  New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.  

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Gadget of the Week: Escali Primo Digital Scales

Posted by rhondascooking on September 7, 2008

At one point in my life, I refused to measure anything that I cooked.  I was so sure that I had enough control and good eating habits to eat without measuring.  Well, those were the “before age 30 days”—the days when everything you ate actually burned off even without exercising!  Now that I moved past those memorable days, I have found that I have to work harder in order to stay healthy and look good, which means that I now have to start watching my portion sizes.  URGH! 


In order to keep me on track, I purchased a digital simple and inexpensive digital scale that I use daily! I know that many of you may be thinking that this is not necessary for you because you’re in control, well good for you.  But, for my friends out there who struggle with their weight and overeating, then you really need to make this small investment.  There are a variety of digital scales on the market that ranges from $25 – $100.  I recommend that you start with the less expensive scales.  However, if you want the scale that has all of the programs in it, then expect to pay over $60 for it.  You can purchase a digital scale at any department/kitchen store, as well as on Amazon.com (free shipping for orders over $25).


Click this link to learn more or to purchase the
Escali Primo Digital Multifunctional Scale.

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What to Eat In Case of an Emergency?

Posted by rhondascooking on September 1, 2008

Each year our world faces many disasters from hurricanes to earthquakes.  Not everyone is impacted by such devastations because of the location of where they live.  Places like my beloved, home state, Louisiana, faces the threat of hurricanes every year, which have gotten progressively worse each year! As a child my mother taught me how to prepare for the good and bad times like hurricanes, winter storms, etc.  So, are you prepared in case of an emergency?  Do you have food?  Do you have water or gas?


Here are a few must do/must have food related tips in the case of an emergency:

1.     Purchase a portable gas burner and fuel if you do not have a stove (range) that is operated with gas.  These burners are safe and easy to use and you can use these burners anytime—even when there is not an emergency. 

2.     Purchase a variety of canned goods (preferably organic) because if the electricity is not working, then you need to be able to have foods that will last during this time.  Make sure that you get items that hold good nutritional value and not packed with all kinds of “crap!”  Read those labels.  See the following emergency Food Essentials:

Emergency Food Essentials (non perishables)

Canned Beans (all varieties)

Water (gallons, individual bottles)

Canned Tuna (in water, any variety)

Canned Vegetables

Canned Sardines (with bones; it has enough calcium equivalent to a 6oz glass of milk!)

Canned Soup (low sodium, all varieties)

Canned Salmon (with bones)

Boxed milk (rice, almond, soy; canned coconut milk)

Crackers (low sodium, whole grain)

Healthy snack foods (cookies, Chips, etc.)

Cereal (granola, rice, etc.)

Popcorn kernels

Fruit/Protein Bars (without high fructose corn syrup!)

Olive oil

Juice (all natural–orange, apple, etc.)

Nut butters (all natural–almond, peanut, etc.)

Nuts, Seeds, & dehydrated fruit (pumpkin, pecans, raisins, etc.)

Vitamins/supplements (multivitamins, flaxseed oil, probiotics, psyllium husks); also refill prescriptions)

Whole grains (rice, oatmeal, etc.)

Dry goods (pasta, instant meals, etc.)

 Table 1. Emergency food essentials to always have in pantry.

 3.      Purchase lots of batteries and flashlights because in order to cook without electricity, you need to be able to see what you are doing!


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