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Discovering Arthritis

Posted by rhondascooking on May 25, 2012

Image source Medicinenet, Inc.

Throughout the month of the May, the Arthritis Foundation has been raising awareness about arthritis a through its movement called Arthritis Action Month. The organization is encouraging people to take action in a number of ways to help raise awareness. One way that the Arthritis Foundation is raising awareness is through its Tip Share application (app), which encourages people by share tips and advice. The app is now available on multiple devices.

The following are some key facts about arthritis:

What is Arthritis?
Simply put, arthritis is inflammation in the joint. Though many times the word arthritis is used as if it is one disease, there are over 100 types of arthritis that have been identified to date[1]. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout. There are over 46 million Americans who have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis[2].

What are the signs and symptoms?
The most common signs or symptoms are joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. Depending on the arthritis type, a person could experience these symptoms in the following areas: wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, toes, hips, shoulders and elbows.

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
These two types of arthritis are the most common types.

    Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down. The cartilage is the smooth, tissue that covers the ends of the bones where they meet, preventing them from rubbing each other. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, and usually effects people over age 45.
    Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. RA can affect anyone at any age.

What is gout?
Gout occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid, a waste product of the urine cycle, which deposits razor-sharp crystals in the joint spaces between bones[3].

What tests can be performed to diagnose arthritis?
There is not just one test to diagnose arthritis. Depending on your health care provider and the patient’s symptoms the tests will vary. For instance, conventional medical physicians tend to start with blood tests and X-rays. On the other hand, alternative holistic physicians tend to do a variety of tests understand the cause, some of which include, allergy tests, hormone tests, digestive function tests, tests for parasites, and heavy metal toxicity.[4]

What causes arthritis?
The causes will vary depending on the type of arthritis. For osteoarthritis, some of the causes occurs from wear and tear on the joints over one’s lifetime, obesity, hormone imbalance, or food allergies. On the other hand for rheumatoid arthritis, some of the causes that drive inflammation include, but not limited to food allergies, toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal permeability and microorganisms.

How can arthritis be treated?
Depending on the type of arthritis, the treatment plan will vary. Conventional treatments (ordered by traditional medical physician) tend to start with NSAIDs (Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleeve) and then transitions to a treatment that include COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, Celebrex or Enbrel. Many of these conventional drugs have been known to increase the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac death! Sometimes if NSAIDs aren’t effective, some patients turn to injections of cortisone (corticosteroids) or methotrexate.

Are there any alternative treatment therapies for arthritis?
There are a number of treatment options such as dietary changes (food, vitamin supplements), detoxification, exercise, and stress reduction. However, food is a major factor in triggering inflammation in the joints and by reducing one’s daily intake of foods that are pro-inflammatory, can minimize and stop the pain! To see a list of foods that trigger inflammation, click here.

Even if you do not have arthritis, do your part in raising awareness about arthritis and share this with your loved ones and your social network! Don’t forget to download the Tip Share app!


Sources:
[1][3][4]Kamhi, Ellen and Zampieron, Eugene. Arthritis. Celestial Arts: California, 2006.
[2]”Link Between Arthritis and Heart Disease.” Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/heart-disease-connection.php

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What is Celiac?

Posted by rhondascooking on May 15, 2012

It’s National Celiac Awareness Month. In honor of raising awareness, I’d like to provide my readers with a few nuggets about Celiac Disease as well as helpful websites for additional information.

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac (pronounced as See-lee-ak) Disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestines whenever a person eats anything with gluten. In fact, some research has indicated that 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. [1]

What causes Celiac Disease?
Similar to many other autoimmune diseases, the cause of Celiac Disease is still not known. Consequently, it sometimes takes a couple of years before a person is properly diagnosed with this disease. According to the latest data, about 27 million people in the US walk around not knowing that they have Celiac Disease!

What are the signs and symptoms?
The most notable signs or symptoms include abdominal cramping, stomach bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation, weight loss or weight gain. There are other signs and symptoms, but these are the biggest signs of CD.

How is Celiac Disease diagnosed?
There are special blood tests that can be used to test for Celiac Disease. Please visit the Celiac Disease Foundation site to view the list of tests and discuss it with your health care provider. Request that you be tested for Celiac Disease if you possess many of the signs and symptoms.

Is there a cure for Celiac Disease?
There is no medicinal cure at this time for Celiac Disease. The only way that someone can be healed is to transition to a 100% gluten free lifestyle–diet, cosmetics, household goods, etc.

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. Note that gluten does not impact everyone.

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.


[1]”Celiac Disease.” Celiac Disease Foundation
.

Other Sources:
http://celiacdisease.about.com/b/2012/05/01/happy-national-celiac-disease-awareness-month.htm
http://www.csaceliacs.info/celiac_disease.jsp

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May is National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

Posted by rhondascooking on May 11, 2012

The Center for Disease Control has marked May as National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month in an effort to raise awareness of its impact on one’s health. According to research, 1 out of every 3 American adults faces high blood pressure and every 40 seconds someone has a stroke! High blood pressure is the fourth leading cause of death in United States of America! [1]

The following are FIVE things you should know about this health issue [2]:

1. The definition of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (sometimes called hypertension) is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. It can cause a number of things to occur such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, etc.

2. How would I know if I have High Blood Pressure?
Sometimes the symptoms aren’t obvious, such as numbness or weakness of the arm or leg or trouble seeing in one or both eyes, and other times the symptoms are distinguished like chest pains/tightening, severe headaches, slurred speech, dizziness, trouble walking/balancing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical assistant immediately!

3. How to interpret blood pressure levels
Blood pressure is measure by Systolic and diastolic numbers. A normal blood pressure should have a systolic number of 120mmHG and a diastolic number of 80mmHG or lower for each. If the numbers are higher, then you will be categorized as the following:

  • Pre-hypertension: 120 – 139mmHG (systolic) or 80 – 89mmHG (diastolic)
  • High blood pressure (Stage 1): 140 – 149mmHG (systolic) or 90 – 99mmHG (diastolic)
  • High blood pressure (Stage 2): 150mmHG or higher (systolic)or 100mmHG or higher (diastolic)

4. The Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are a number of factors that could cause high blood pressure to occur. This is a subset of some of the causes.

  • Stress
  • Unhealthy Eating Lifestyle (High sodium diet, large intake of processed foods, large amount of alcohol consumption, smoking, or lack of physical activity.)
  • obesity
  • Age
  • Certain medications
  • Kidney or thyroid disease
  • Sleep apnea

5. Ways to prevent or reduce blood pressure?
First, consult your health care provider before beginning any changes in diet or medication. Secondly, work with your health care provider/nutritionist to transition to a healthier lifestyle one that includes exercise with a healthy diet—more vegetables, less sodium and less processed foods. You will start to see improved results!

High blood pressure impacts many families, especially many African American families, including mine! Let’s do what we can to spread the awareness!

Sources:
[1]“May is Stroke Awareness Month; Know Your Risks.” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Million Hearts™. April 23, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HighBloodPressure/&gt;.
[2] “What Is High Blood Pressure?” National Heart Lungs and Blood Institute. April 01, 2011. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/&gt;.

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Whole Foods Market Partners with Rhonda’s Cooking for Celiac Awareness Month

Posted by rhondascooking on May 4, 2012

Rhonda Peters, Founder of Rhonda’s Cooking, LLC and author of the award winning cookbook So, What Can I Eat Now?!-Living Without Dairy, Soy, Eggs and Wheat, is partnering with several Whole Foods Market stores in the Phoenix Metro Area in an effort to celebrate Celiac Awareness Month and highlight cooking options for Celiac Disease sufferers. Throughout the month of May, Ms. Peters will be onsite at various Whole Foods Market locations  performing cooking demonstrations; all of which will feature tasty, gluten-free dishes.  To date, the only cure for Celiac Disease is consuming a gluten-free diet.  The schedule of cooking demonstrations is as follows:

  • Sunday, May 6, Whole Foods Market Chandler, 3pm (5120 S Rural Road, Tempe AZ 85282)
  • Thursday, May 17, Whole Foods Market Paradise Valley, 6pm (10810 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85028)
  • Sunday, May 20, Whole Foods Market Scottsdale, 3pm (7111 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85054)
  • Sunday, May 27, Whole Foods Market Tempe, 3pm (5120 S Rural Road, Tempe AZ 85282)

To register for any of these free classes, email AZSpecialEvent@wholefoods.com.


About Rhonda’s Cooking

Founded in 2005, Rhonda’s Cooking LLC is an award winning publishing company with a mission of distributing healthy cookbooks and promoting alternative cooking options for food allergy sufferers and those who are ordered to consume restricted diets. Rhonda Peters, CEO of Rhonda’s Cooking and author of So, What Can I Eat Now?!, is a Hypoallergenic Food Specialist, Certified Nutritional Counselor and the featured Gluten Free Examiner for the Phoenix, AZ area. To follow Rhonda’s Cooking on Twitter, visit www.Twitter.com/RhondasCooking or become a fan of the company on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SoWhatCanIEatNow.

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CDF: Arizona East Valley Chapter hosts First Annual Celiac Awareness Week

Posted by rhondascooking on May 3, 2012

May is Celiac Awareness month, and in an effort to continue to educate the community about Celiac source arizonaceliac.orgDisease and provide support to those with the disease, the Celiac Disease Foundation: Arizona East Valley Chapter is hosting its First Annual Celiac Awareness Week. There will be a number events ranging from Celiac night with the Arizona Diamondbacks to Celiac movie night at Harkins Theaters to a gluten free cooking class at Williams and Sonoma, there will be a host of activities for everyone to enjoy!

For a list of the events and information on where to register, please click here.

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Rhonda’s Cooking Attends Annual Phoenix Gluten-Free Expo April 21, 2012

Posted by rhondascooking on April 15, 2012

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, we will be attending the annual Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF):  Greater Phoenix Chapter’s Annual Gluten-free Expo signing copies of my award winning cookbook, “So, What Can I Eat Now?! Living Without Dairy, Soy, Eggs, and Wheat”.  This year, we are so excited because this year we will be one of the five bronze sponsors for the expo.   The expo will be held from 10am to 4pm at The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Paradise Valley-Scottsdale.   There will be a host of vendors sampling foods and disseminating information so this would be a great opportunity for those looking to transition to a gluten-free diet.

2012 Gluten-free Expo
When:  April 21, 2012
Where:  The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Paradise Valley-Scottsdale 5401 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Time:  10am – 4pm

The following is the list of Sponsors for the expo:

In addition to the list of sponsors, there will be many more awesome gluten-free vendors, both local and nationwide!

The cost of the expo is as follows:

  • $5 per adult when paying in advance before April 15th (see Pre-pay Using PayPal page); after April 15th the entrance price is $7 (cash only) on-site the day of the event.
  • Children 12 and under are free

For more information visit the Chapter’s website: http://www.phoenixceliac.com/or follow on them on Twitter @PhoenixCeliacand/or like them on Facebook.

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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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XBox 360 w/ Kinect Changes the Game of Health

Posted by rhondascooking on November 24, 2011

I’m not a hard core gamer, but since Microsoft released its Kinect for XBox 360 I’ve turned into a HUGE fan thanks to games like “Your Shape”, “The Biggest Loser”, and “Adventure Games.”    I’m sure you’re wondering why and the answer is simple–these games make me sweat!    After setting up my Kinect and launching the first game, it was so much fun, and it left me drenched in sweat with an elevated heart rate and gasping for air!   I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m out of shape!”

XBox 360 w/ Kinect

Also, with games like  “Your Shape” I’m able to have my own personal trainer in the comfort of my home–no need to pay gym membership and trainer fees.  This game is truly amazing; I’m can set workout routines that complement my goals and body profile.   There is no special device  to hold during the workout; the Kinect senor senses my body and all I have to do is just get moving!

I know that many Parents struggle with decidng whether to purchase a video game console for their childbren, but I believe that XBox 360 is worth adding to the wishlist!  This console can help encourage children to exercise more which helps in reducing obesity or heart disease, which are ideal.  Just integrate exercise fitness game play with their favorite games, such as for every 15 minutes of regular game play, there will be 15 minutes of fitness game time!   Lastly, not only is the the XBox 360 an awesome gaming console, but also it is a great all-around home entertainment center that delivers both Live and On-Demand content.

So, no matter the occasion, XBox 360 with the Kinect are indeed must have’s for any family!

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African American Boys More Likely to Have Severe Food Allergies!

Posted by rhondascooking on November 13, 2011

A few months ago the results from a study were published that addressed African American boys and food allergies, so I definitely wanted to post these findings on my blog; here’s what I learned.

A food allergy can occur in both children and adults of all ages and races.  In fact, research shows that over 12 million Americans suffer with food allergies—2 to 4% are adults and 6 to 8% are children.[1][2]  What’s even more alarming is that of those 960,000 children with food allergies, African American boys are more than FOUR times likely to have moderate to severe food allergies in comparison to other races of children![3]  Even worse than this statistic is the nightmare that parents have to deal with as they attempt to read food labels and decipher which foods are safe and which ingredients are derivatives of their child’s allergen. FDA officials have even stated that the current warning labels “may not be protecting the health of allergic consumers.”  In a sense, African American parents are often playing a game of Russian roulette when they purchase ANY prepackaged food or beverage for their children.

In my opinion, reading food labels requires a chemistry degree because the ingredients that are in the foods are just ridiculous!  So, for a parent who isn’t knowledgeable nor has access to the internet or time to even research the ingredients, the child can be at a life-threatening risk.

What is a Food Allergy?

Food allergies develop when the body’s immune system reacts to certain foods that are harmless.  When this reaction occurs, the body produces antibodies to the food and releases various chemicals in the body, which triggers allergic reactions such as hives, nausea, swelling, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, etc.[4][5]

What is a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances, unlike food allergies, do not involve the immune system; instead it is a food reaction in the digestive system.

What foods can cause an allergy?

There are many foods that could cause an allergic reaction, but only 8 of them account for over 90% of all food allergies.1,2 These foods are dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, etc.).

Can a person die from a food allergy?

According to the Center for Disease Control each year hundreds die from food allergies (about 150 deaths annually).  Also, over 30,000 people receive life-saving treatment in emergency rooms due to food induced anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction).4

Is there a cure for food allergies?

Unfortunately, today there is no medicine to cure people with food allergies.  The best prescription that many doctors give is for the person to avoid all food that they are allergic to.  Some sources state that people can grow out of their allergies; however this is not always true for everyone.

How can I tell if my child or I have a food allergy?

You cannot look at someone to determine if he or she has a food allergy.  Besides a person breaking out in immediate hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, etc., the first thing to do is to see your health care provider for consultation.  He/she may require that you do a food allergy panel test either via saliva, finger prick or some other form of testing.

So, what’s my story?  I was diagnosed with food intolerances to casein (protein found in milk), eggs, soy, yeast, whey, and sesame at the age of thirty-two.  Once I found out about my intolerances, I learned that many of these foods also triggered arthritic inflammation in my body.   Consequently, I have completely removed all of these foods from my diet, and yes I can tell the difference in how I feel—much better and medication free!


[1] “Healthy Youth! Food Allergies.”  CDC. June 11, 2008 <http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/foodallergies&gt;.

[2] “Food Allergy Information.”  Food Allergy Initiative.  June 11, 2008 <http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/section_home.cfm?section_id=3&gt;.

[3] “African American boys at risk for food allergies.”  KOOH.com.  October 7, 2010 < http://www.koaa.com/news/african-american-boys-at-risk-for-food-allergies?.

[4] “What is a food allergy?”  The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. June 10, 2008 <http://www.foodallergy.org/questions.html&gt;.

[5] “Allergies: Problem Foods: Is It an Allergy or Intolerance?”  WebMD.  June 10, 2008 <http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/foods-allergy-intolerance&gt;.

Posted in Food, Health | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »