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Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category

NBA and WNBA Encourages Fans to Live Healthy

Posted by rhondascooking on February 1, 2012

Live Healthy Week

Congratulations to the NBA League for encouraging their fans to live healthier through its Live Healthy Week campaign, which started January 26 through February 2, 2012. During this week, fans were encouraged to set personal health goals and make better fitness and food choices. Live Healthy Week was led by a cross-functional NBA/WNBA Fit Team, who joined community members and partners to highlight the importance of healthy living.

All 30 teams and players supported Live Healthy Week. In fact, according to Black Griffin, reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, “NBA FIT Live Healthy Week is a great way to help motivate fans of all ages to stay active and maintain a healthy diet. As a professional athlete and an NBA FIT Team member, I know how important it is for me to exercise and eat well, and I encourage our fans to make healthy, active living a priority.” Other supporters included Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats, all of which are members of the 2012 NBA FIT Team.

Even though the campaign has come to an end, it’s never too late to pledge to eat healthier! So visit the NBA Fit Live Healthy website and pledge http://www.nba.com/nbafit/personalpledge.jsp. You can also follow NBA Cares on Twitter @nbacares and “Like” them on Facebook.

About NBA/WNBA FIT: NBA FIT Live Healthy Week features grassroot programs and events, special oncourt apparel, and in-arena and online programming designed to inspire kids and families across the country to live active, healthy lives. The Team also works with the Let’s Move! campaign, which first lady Michelle Obama established to provide communities nationwide with resources to help kids eat healthy and get active.

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Queen of Butter, Paula Dean, Announces She Has Diabetes…REALLY?

Posted by rhondascooking on January 20, 2012

I had to take some time to really calm down from my initial thoughts about the recent announcement circling in the food world — PAULA DEAN ANNOUNCES THAT SHE HAS DIABETES. REALLY? After years of treating butter like a food group, frying up lots of chicken, baking rich cakes, etc., did she and her loyal fans really think that years of cooking high fat, high sugar meals would not catch up with her? Well, we “reap what we sow” and if we continue to eat unhealthy foods, we will have consequences that could lead to some sort of bad health issue. But I’m not sure that Paula agrees with this. She does not admit that her cooking has played a role in her having Type 2 Diabetes, and that is really sad. In fact, when Al Roker from the Today Show asked her about her thoughts as to how she could have gotten diabetes, she said everything except that. Instead she says what many Americans say, “It’s in my family genes!” Come on people!

Why did she wait so long to tell?
I’m shocked and disappointed with the fact that Paula waited THREE (3) years to tell her loyal fans that she was battling with this disease. WHY? Why did she wait so long to announce something that many people struggle with every day? This would have been the perfect opportunity to humanize her brand even more and tell the world that I’m just like you. Yes, I know people have a right to decide how much of their personal lives they want to share with the world, but come on, it’s not like she had a terminal illness! In fact we’ve seen other celebrities come out and announce worse things than diabetes like Christina Applegate and Guiliana Rancic announcing breast cancer to everyone shortly after the news broke. But no, Paula decided to wait because she said in an interview that she didn’t have anything to give the people.” What does that mean? What does she have to give us, besides truth and transparency?! So now after three years she’s ready to give us something…and it looks like it benefits her and the Dean family:

1. A paid endorsement with Novo Nordisk a drug company making diabetic medication
2. Bobby Dean’s new FoodNetwork TV show called “Not My Momma’s Meals” where he is making healthier versions of Paula’s recipes

Lastly, I want Paula to stop saying that she encouraged everyone to eat in moderation! Just stop it! If by chance she did, it was probably one episode in January when the network decided to have a theme to cook healthy. After that it was chicken and dumplings with sweet tea!

Learning Lesson:
We should all learn from Paula that we are what we eat, and despite the genes in our family, if we continue the tradition of eating unhealthy meals with very little exercise, it will catch up with us! So, take a step back and evaluate your pantry and recipes and determine if it’s worth possibly getting sick. And if you need help with recipes, consider purchasing the cookbook “So, What Can I Eat Now?!

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Weight gain and hair loss due to thyroid disorder

Posted by rhondascooking on July 20, 2011

I was one of the 8 million people who suffered with many problems, and didn’t know what was going on. What was this problem that allowed me and others to walk around not noticing any differences in our health thus remaining undiagnosed–the culprit was Thyroid Disease! There are more than 20 million people suffer from a thyroid disorder, and of that number more than 10 million women have low-grade thyroid imbalance. So, how did I find out I had a problem? A family friend saw me during holiday break and told my mom that I needed to have my thyroid checked because my eyes looked bigger than normal. Though I was really offended at the time, her guess was correct! I had hyperthyroidism for months and never knew it!

What is thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland that sits in the neck and is shaped like a butterfly.

Is the thyroid gland important?
The main function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormone, which regulate the functioning of the body including regulating mood, emotions, and many other brain functions. In fact, this gland controls the body’s metabolism; specifically it controls the amount of energy the body burns.

What happens if there is a problem with my thyroid gland?

If the thyroid gland is not performing correctly, there are two most common problems, which are as follows:
1. Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)–this occurs when there is not enough thyroid hormones thus causing the thyroid to become underactive; according to many studies this affects about 10 percent of the population and is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid.

2. Hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease)–this occurs when there is an excess of thyroid hormones thus causing the thyroid to be overactive.

What are some of the obvious signs of a thyroid problem?
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have different signs or symptoms. The following are a few signs to make note of:

Hypothyroidism: weight gain, tiredness, increased sleepiness, hair loss including loss of eyebrows, joint pain, constipation, forgetfulness, decreased ability to pay attention and focus, cold intolerant, depression, dry skin, etc.

Hyperthyroidism: weight loss, Fatigue, shakiness, increased bowel movement, restlessness, warm intolerant, rapid heartbeat, anemia, increased sweating, irregular menstrual periods, decreased fertility

Is thyroid disease hereditary?
Thyroid disease is an autoimmune disorder, and there is a high percentage that it could be hereditary, but it is not always the case. There could be other factors that trigger this disease and it differs for everyone.

Is there a way to find out if my thyroid gland is okay?
If you are uncertain about whether your thyroid is not properly functioning, please make an appointment with your general physician and ask to have your thyroid levels checked. This is not traditional tested in the yearly physical exams, it is only ordered if necessary or upon patient request. If your thyroid levels indicate that you are hypo or hyperthyroid active, then please make an appointment with an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in the endocrine system which includes the thyroid gland, or a naturopathic doctor who specializes in thyroid disorders.

I am writing this post not to scare you, but instead to give you information with the intent of you being proactive about your health. If you have more questions, please post a comment!  You can also send me comments via Twitter and Facebook.

Posted in Diet, Health, Thyroid | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My Miracle Drink: Increases metabolism and reduces colds and joint inflammation naturally!

Posted by rhondascooking on July 4, 2011

I’m always looking for natural foods that can help heal my body so that it can stay healthy without all of the artificial ingredients.  After spending several years researching foods that could help reduce inflammation, I knew that there were certain herbs and spices that were powerhouses, and could help heal and sometimes cure anything because of its natural properties.  Some of these powerhouse foods included garlic, ginger root, lemon, and cayenne pepper.   One day after catching a cold, I decided to mix up a natural concoction merging these powerhouse ingredients.  Here’s my recipe that I call “Rhonda’s Miracle Drink”:

Rhonda’s Miracle Drink:

1 cup warm (medium hot) water

½ medium lemon, juiced

1/8 teaspoon – ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon Grade B maple syrup or local raw honey (optional)*

Why is the drink awesome?

Lemons:  Excellent antioxidant and source of Vitamin C that boosts the immune system and prevents free radicals from damaging healthy cells that could cause inflammation.

Cayenne pepper:  Excellent source of Vitamin A and C and other important ingredients.  This powerhouse has many natural functions such as aiding in digestion, reducing muscle pain and joint inflammation, clearing mucus, increasing metabolism of dietary fats, and much more!

Ginger root:  Great for reducing joint inflammation and aiding with stomach problems including irritable bowel syndrome, digestion, and gas.  Also, ginger has been known to help treat colds, flu and sinus issues.

Maple syrup:  Natural sweetener that provides lots of vitamins and minerals that varies according to the location and soil where the tree is grown.  Some vitamins include potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, and Vitamin A, B1, B6, and C, etc.

When can you drink this?

You can drink this anytime, but especially if you want to do an internal body cleanse or if you’ve developed a cold or flu.  Drink once every three hours until the cold or flu has ended.  This is especially great for those with sore throats because as the liquid travels down the esophagus, you will start to feel the pepper tingling in the throat—it’s very soothing and with this drink there’s no need for cough drops!  You can also drink first thing in the morning or in between meals after eating a high fat or high sugar meal.  It could help to break down the meat and assist with stabilizing blood sugar levels.

How often should you drink this?

I recommend that people drink at least one glass daily.  Because of the wonderful healthy, natural properties, you would definitely benefit.

Do you have a special natural drink that you use to help with a specific health issue?
Lemons

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Still not sure about gluten free

Posted by rhondascooking on July 4, 2011

Are you still trying to decide if you should consider a gluten free lifestyle?  Here are answers to the 4 most asked questions that I get from people when they are considering a gluten free diet.

Gluten free pasta

What is gluten?
Gluten is made of two protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley and is an important component in baking. Simply put it is the glue-like or sticky texture in baked goods and it is responsible for causing the baked goods to rise.

What does gluten do to the body?
Gluten doesn’t impact everyone. However, gluten does impact people diagnosed with Celiac (pronounced as See-lee-ak) Disease (CD), an autoimmune condition that damages the small intestines whenever a person eats anything with gluten. In fact, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, when people with this disease eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Visit the Celiac Disease Foundation website to find out more about the symptoms of CD.

Should you consider a gluten-free diet?
Yes, you should definitely eat gluten-free if you have Celiac Disease! Also, you should consider a gluten-free diet if you have challenges with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Autism, or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

What foods are gluten-free?
Some examples of gluten-free foods are as follows: brown rice, corn, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, tapioca, brown rice flour, cornmeal, sorghum, beans, soy (use caution), poultry, beef, fish, mushrooms, vegetables, etc. There are a lot of foods that are gluten free, but the key thing to remember is that sometimes foods have hidden gluten ingredients, so make sure that you verify before you purchase. Read the labels or ask questions.

I have been eating gluten-free since 2005, and I have seen major improvements in my arthritis and I have not looked back! Do you need to consider transitioning to a gluten-free diet?  If you have more questions, please post a comment!

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What’s cooking for Easter?

Posted by rhondascooking on April 23, 2011

Easter holiday is a special time for many people around the world, especially for Christians; it’s a time for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Easter holiday marks the end of Lent, which is a time of fasting and praying.  Easter is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world and even within the United States, but the one common thread is FOOD!  Most people celebrate this holiday with a big feast!   I can remember growing up in Angie, Louisiana, my mom would cook a huge meal which included cornbread dressing, collard greens or cabbage, turkey, cream cheese pound cake and pecan pie or sweet potato pie!  In my home town, this was the traditional celebration feast, but it varies throughout Louisiana, because in southwest Louisiana  it was about crawfish boils and boudin!  What type of dinner do you typically cook for Easter?

As time progressed, dinners like the one I grew up eating have become a little different, as a result of my rheumatoid arthritis.  Corn, which is the main ingredient of cornbread dressing,  is on the list of potential inflammatory foods, as well as other foods such as wheat, dairy, eggs, coffee, poultry, pork, potatoes, tomatoes, egg plants, bell peppers, etc, which makes it not a good choice for those dealing with some form of arthritis.  Needless to say, I no longer cook my mom’s infamous cornbread dressing, instead I’ve created my own version—a twist on the old—that I call “Cornless Cornbread Dressing”!  This recipe is perfect for me and those who struggle with joint problems or food allergies to corn or wheat.  My recipe is not only corn free, but it also does not contain, dairy, eggs, soy or wheat!  I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong!  This recipe is absolutely delicious!  In fact, it is so delicious that I decided to put it in my cookbook, So, What Can I Eat Now?!, which  is available for purchase now on my website or on Amazon.com.  To prove that this is really a tasty dish, one customer who purchased the book said that she cooked this recipe for Thanksgiving and her husband and other people who came for dinner loved it!  This recipe is not lacking flavor at all and the best part about it is that it is healthy!  My mouth is watering as I write this post!  I wasn’t planning on cooking Sunday, but after this post, I think I’m heading to the store to purchase the ingredients to cook some “Cornless Cornbread Dressing” (or stuffing)!

So, my Easter dinner menu will indeed be a remix on my momma’s traditional dinner for sure!  My menu will include the following:

  • Cornless Cornbread dressing (free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs)
  • Southern style petite green beans
  • Candied butternut squash
  • Decadent Apple cinnamon cake (free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs)

If you’re celebrating Easter, I would love to know how you and your family celebrate.  Are you planning to throw down in the kitchen and prepare a huge feast or will you just go to someone’s home and enjoy their delicious dinner?    I’d love to read about it!

Happy Easter or Resurrection Day!

Posted in Arthritis, Diet, Food, Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Resources to help understand Arthritis

Posted by rhondascooking on March 31, 2011

(photo source: Rhonda's Cooking)

How did I learn how to live a drug free life after being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis?  That’s the question that I always get whenever I meet people who struggle with this or have family members who do.  For the record, when I say drug free, I mean free from the prescription medications like Plaquenil, Prednisone, Vioxx, Celebrex, Arava, Methotrexate injections (weekly), and cortisone injections, etc.  I took ALL of of those drugs for several years thinking that they would help cure me.  Needless to say, I was wrong!!  Besides a miracle from God, there is no cure for arthritis today.  Did you know this?  I really had no clue, at that time, I was only 25 and I did whatever the doctor told me to do.  So for TEN long years, I just learned how to deal with this dreadful pain that felt so bad that I could not even hold a toothbrush or put on my clothes.  The inflammation in my wrist was so intense that it felt like someone was squeezing my wrists so hard until there was no blood flowing to the fingers!

Thank goodness in 2005, I met Dr. Colbert!  He talked about healthy eating being the natural cure to heal various diseases.  I purchased his books, followed his recommendations and over a period of time, I no longer consumed prescription medication for the arthritis!  Can you belive it???  I couldn’t, but I felt great!  So I continued to study and research, more and more to understand the healing properties of certain foods and I never looked back.!

Listed below are the books that freed me from the dreadful pain and inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis. As I read more, I’ll add to this list.

  • The Bible Cure for Arthritis, Dr. Don Colbert
  • The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, Monica Reinagel
  • Arthritis, Ellen Kamhi and Eugene R. Zampieron
  • The Glycemic Index Diet, Rick Gallop

Do you have any books or resources that you have read that has helped you overcome your pain with arthritis?

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Gluten-free food finds: Blue Bottle Coffee – San Francisco

Posted by rhondascooking on March 7, 2011

Since learning that coffee is an inflammatory food, I have not been able to drink coffee on a regular basis due to my challenges with arthritis.  However, it was very difficult for me not to experience coffee during a trip to San Francisco.  So, I decided to cheat for the day and to indulge in the caramel, nutty, lightly roasted, and rich taste of a delicious cup of coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee.  Tucked in the corner of Mint Plaza in downtown San Francisco, Blue Bottle Coffee is the perfect place for a coffee connoisseur.  In fact this unique coffee bistro, is so popular that the line is oftentimes wrapped around the building!  Upon entering the building, there is so much to hold ones attention. Some customers were enjoying conversations with each other and others working on their computers in between eating the popular Acme toast or local poached eggs.   All of this activity, definitely made me even more eager to get inside and experience the Blue Bottle Coffee!

As I stood patiently waiting, I admired all of the unique coffee gadgets and accessories.  I also was captivated by the coffee making process; it was like being in a physics lab.  There was an interesting glass apparatus with two parts—the bottom filled with water and the top filled with ground coffee—sitting over a bunsen burner.  As the water reached the boiling point, it flowed to the top container holding the ground coffee.  The barista (coffee maker) stirred the coffee slowly with a wooden stick.  After a couple of minutes, the barista slowly inserted a probe into the coffee to check the temperature to insure that the coffee reached the optimal temperature.  Once the ideal temperature was achieved, the coffee flowed to the bottom glass container.  I later learned that this process is called siphon or syphon (also known as siphon coffee).

To my surprise, Blue Bottle Coffee did offer gluten-free menu items such as a gluten-free muffin.  Even though I was unable to eat there due to the lack of vegan and gluten-free options, I still recommend Blue Bottle Coffee as a must try!  Blue Bottle Coffee is located throughout the San Francisco bay area; visit the website to find a location.  In 2010, the company has expanded to Brooklyn, New York.  People can also purchase this delicious light roasted coffee online.

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Whole grain, gluten-free, yeast-free and delicious Purity Bread

Posted by rhondascooking on February 23, 2011

Finding a loaf of gluten-free bread that is moist and delicious is very difficult! Even more so, finding gluten-free bread that is also yeast-free, soy-free and egg-free has proven to be a nightmare until the birth of Purity Bread from Julian’s Bakery! Oh my goodness, after living years without eating sandwiches, now there’s hope.

Many may not believe that this bread would taste good because not only is it gluten-free, but also it is dairy, egg, soy and yeast free and that’s not even the kicker! This bread does not contain any artificial preservatives and it is healthy. In fact, it is great for people with challenge with diabetes because it is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber and protein! One slice (about ¼-inch thick) is only 68 calories and 10g of carbohydrates of which 8g comes from fiber! So for those on the “low carb” diet, that’s only net 2 carbs!

The ingredients are simple and include the following: buckwheat, millet, brown rice, teff, flaxseeds, (sprouted beans of navy, black, red, pinto, baby limas, large limas, garbanzo, great northern, kidney, black-eyed peas, yellow & green split peas and lentils), onion, guar gum and sea salt. According to the bakery, this bread is prepared in a non-gluten environment!!

This bread is savory, which makes it perfect for sandwiches. The onion flavor definitely comes through in this bread, but even when paired with a fruit spread, it’s still a delicious treat for morning breakfast! There are a few tricks to keep in mind before eating this bread and they are as follows:

  • Remove the bread from its original packaging and discard; gently remove any ice on the bread. (Typically when purchasing from the grocery store it will be frozen.)
  • Wrap bread in clean plastic wrap and place in a plastic storage bag; keep refrigerated. The bread will stay fresh up to 10 to 12 days when refrigerated.
  • Slice bread into ¼-inch slices before eating. For best results, lightly toast or bake bread slices before preparing a sandwich. Due to the high moisture content of the bread if you do not toast the bread prior to assembling the sandwich, then your bread may be a little soggy especially if using tomatoes or spreads.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to find this specific brand of Julian’s bread, but when in stock, you can find Purity Bread at Healthy Habit Health Food Store in Phoenix (Bethany Home Road and 7th Street).   If you do not live near this area, you can also purchase this bread online or by phone; it’s just that easy! They offer specials all of the time.  Just so you won’t be caught off guard, this bread retails for $9.99 in store, but $6.99 online (not including shipping)–yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth it!  In fact, currently the bakery is offering $5 off to first time customers with the following promo code 1776 when purchased on the website  www.julianbakery.com.

For more information about Purity Bread:
Julian Bakery
5621 La Jolla Blvd
La Jolla, CA 92037
1-800-98-BREAD

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Is BMI the right calculator for your weight?

Posted by rhondascooking on February 6, 2011

Even though the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart is starting to take center stage these days with the current American obesity epidemic, this chart is not new and has been around for centuries.  In fact, the BMI was developed in the late 1800’s by a mathematician, Aldophe Quetelet; who originally named BMI the Quetelet index.   Without giving a mathematics lesson, the BMI, simply stated is a function of weight and height.  Many times in the past friends and family have said, you’re not overweight you look good; that BMI calculator is not for “us”.  So for years, I ignored the BMI (Body Mass Index) until a couple of years ago when I started studying to become certified to Provide Dietary Guidance.  The more I studied the chart, I learned that there were a few missing things not compensated in the BMI calculation, such as bone mass, sex, age, ethnicity or even body fatness, so I guess that’s why my family was against it.  Instead BMI only includes weight (both fat and muscle) and height.  However, despite what many people feel, studies have shown over the years that there is definitely a correlation between the BMI number and body fatness, which makes it important to consider. What do you think?

Throughout the years, there has been controversy by physicians and other health care providers who question whether or not this number is a good indicator.  But even with this controversy, majority of the health care professionals, feel that this number is a good indicator when determining a person’s body weight status.  The following indicates the body weight categories for a specific BMI.*

Category Adults (BMI) kg/m2
Underweight less than 18.5
Normal 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight 25 – 29.9
Obese greater than 30

*BMI Chart (2010 US Dietary Guidelines)

The traditional way of calculating one’s BMI is to use the BMI chart.  However,  calculating one’s BMI has gotten easier. There are a number of calculators available on the internet through sites like the Center for Disease Control, as well as available on mobile applications such as the “BMI Calculator” app available for the iPhone.

So, don’t ignore BMI,  use it as one more tool in your healthy living tool box!  Determine what your BMI status is and make adjustments if needed.  But remember, only you and your health care provider can determine what’s best for you!

To learn more about BMI and specific details about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, download this full report.

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