Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good-bye Food Pyramid, Hello Food Plate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is retiring the Food Pyramid and replacing it with a plate icon. The new image is expected to be revealed on Thursday, June 2, 2011.

I'm not sorry to see the food pyramid being replaced. The design presented challenges in counseling and education.

The USDA said in a statement this week that the new food icon would be "part of a comprehensive nutrition education initiative providing consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with additional information, and other tools and resources."

The plate design will be a welcomed change. One of the advantages in using a food plate is the ability to visually demonstrate portion sizes.


The History of Plate Sizes

Fast foods do not have a monopoly on super size. The plate industry has had its own growth spurt during the past 50 years. In the 1960's dinner plates were about 8.5 to 9-inches in diameter and held about 800 calories; by 2009 plate size had grown to 12-inches with the capacity to hold about 1900 calories. The calorie differences are illustrated in the graphic below. (Calorie amounts will vary depending on the foods you choose.)

Graphic 1

Our Eyes Can Deceive Us

Last night, I tried an experiment with my family. First each person was presented with dinner on an 8.5 inch plate. Then I removed the plates and set out the 12-inch plates. When asked which plate had more food, five out of six said the 8.5 inch plate.

The amount of food was identical, but when comparing the two sizes the participants looked to see how much food filled their plate.

                                                                                       Graphic 2

This is a further illustration of the same amount of food on different plate sizes. The larger the plate, the smaller the food appeared.

Next, I wanted to see how much food the different size plates could hold.  The calorie amounts differ from graphic 1 due to the foods I used, but there was a significant increase in calories as the size of the plate grew.

I am looking forward to the unveiling of the new icon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Traditions and Safety

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials of soldiers who lost their lives protecting our freedoms.  On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. At 3 p.m. local time, a national moment of remembrance takes place.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season. Families gather together for a long weekend marked by barbecuing, fireworks and trips to the beach. This is an important time to remember food safety practices.

The History of Memorial Day


Safe Summer Grilling Advice
from the Department of Agriculture

Food Safety Advice for
Beach and Boat Outings

Friday, May 27, 2011

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is the leading consumer and community-focused health organization dedicated to the prevention of osteoporosis and broken bones, the promotion of strong bones for life and the reduction of human suffering through programs of public and clinician awareness, education, advocacy and research.

The drastic consequence of osteoporosis is visible in the lives of the millions of sufferers worldwide. Researchers today know a lot about how you can protect your bones throughout your life. Getting enough calcium, vitamin D and regular exercise are important for your bones.

Feed Your Bones Today

Nutrition and Health: Osteoporosis
by The Dairy and Nutrition Council of Indiana and Indiana Dairy Farmers

You’re never too young or too old to improve the health of your bones. Osteoporosis prevention should begin in childhood. But it shouldn’t stop there. Whatever your age, the habits you adopt now can affect your bone health for the rest of your life. Now is the time to take action.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Older Americans Month
May 25th: National Senior Health and Fitness Day

2011 Theme: "Older Americans:
Connecting the Community"

Resources and References
to Help Eating Well as We Age

Celebrate the 18th annual National Senior Health and Fitness Day.100,000 older adults will participate in activities at more than 1,000 locations throughout the U.S. The goal is to help keep older Americans healthy and fit. National Senior Health and Fitness Day is the nation's largest annual health promotion event for older adults.

The Mature Fitness Awards are designed to encourage and recognize regular physical activity among adults age 50, 60, 70, and over. The program offers 25 activities with something for everyone, from beginning exercisers to long-time fitness enthusiasts. Many activities are appropriate (or can be adapted) for disabled participants. When selecting an activity, find one that you enjoy and that fits into your daily or weekly routine so you will be likely to stick with it.

Shopping and nutrition tips for senior citizens,
from Elisa Zeid, MS, RD

Gotta Dance The Movie captures the adventures of the first-ever senior citizen
hip hop dance team for the New Jersey Nets Basketball Team,
from auditions through to center court stardom.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May is National Hamburger Month

The Burger has many variations. The article looks at the nutrition information
of Fast Food Burgers, varieties, recipes and food safety.

The Fast Food Burger
Burger Love Handles is a song written by Don MacLeod about his personal battle with being overweight. The song focuses on the fast food burger as one of his difficulties in losing weight.

Many fast food items are high in Fat, Cholesterol, Saturated Fat and Sodium and are Risk Factors associated with Heart Disease. However, the informed customer can make healthier choices at fast food restaurants. Below is the nutrition information of some Fast Food Hamburgers. Calories range from 140 for a White Castle Slyder to 1061 calories for a Burger King Cheeseburger, Double Whopper.

Burger Variations
The variations of burgers are constantly changing and expanding to meet our personal preferences, cultural differences and/or nutritional needs.

A burger is not just a ground beef patty served on a bun with the numerous extras, such as tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, jalapeno, cheese, ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish - the list is endless. Today, you can prepare or order a burger made from just about any food you can ground up and serve on a bun.

Some of the ground beef alternatives include:

In addition, to the variations listed above, there are numerous variations based on the percent of fat in ground beef and ground poultry.

Recipes using Alternatives to Ground Beef
Click the recipe title to obtain a copy of the recipe.

Black Bean Burgers. courtesy Sandra Lee from Sandra's Money Saving Meals. This recipe is 302 Calories and 5 g Fat

Stuffed Turkey Burgers, Ellie Krieger, Show: Food Network Specials Episode. Calories 286 and 10 grams Fat.

Food Safety
Memorial Day is quickly approaching and many Americans will be using the Barbecue to prepare there favorite Burgers. It is extremely important to practice good food safety techniques.

Safe Summer Grilling Advice from the Department of Agriculture
Food safety officials and partners have some tips for a successful barbecue season.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
can help answer your questions about the safe storage, handling
and preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Stephen Colbert - Thought For Food
Cereal, Foot-Long Cheeseburger & Ecobot III

Stephen Colbert has a unique take on food and portion control.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Forest Biodiversity, Earth's Living Treasure
May 22, 2011

2011 is the International Year of Forests and forest biodiversity is the theme for this year's International Day of Biodiversity (IDB).

From  Forests cover a third of the Earth’s surface. They are home to over half of terrestrial species and hundreds of millions of human beings. For 7 billion people the forests are resources for the food they eat, the air they breathe and the medicines they consume.

The United Nations recognition of forest biodiversity is an opportunity to discover, rediscover, celebrate, cherish, describe, protect and use these ecosystems more sustainably. 

Forest destruction is not inevitable: throughout the world, people are fighting to save them. Citizens, scientists, politicians and businesspeople warn us about the threats forests face and suggest alternatives to protect them. This year is an opportunity to celebrate their initiatives and their efforts.

Of Forests and Men
Yann Arthus-Bertrand was appointed by the United Nations
to produce the official film for the International Year of Forests.
Narration by Edward Norton.

International Year of Forests 2011 (PSA)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Artichokes - from the Garden to the Table

May 21-22, 2011
52nd Annual California Artichoke Festival held in Castroville, CA, the Artichoke Capital of the World.

Artichoke Field Harvest, Castroville, CA

Artichoke Preparation and Cooking

Artichoke Nutrition

Featured Recipe, Modified
Couscous Stuffed Artichokes
from the California Artichoke Advisory Board
Makes 4 generous servings

4 large California artichokes
1½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon curry powder
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup instant couscous
¼ cup currants
½ cup sliced green onion
½ cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped
½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Plain lowfat yogurt, optional

Wash artichokes. Cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Stand artichokes upright in deep saucepan large enough to hold snugly. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 to 3 inches boiling water. Cover and boil gently 35 to 45 minutes, or until base can be pierced easily with fork. (Add a little more boiling water, if needed.) Turn artichokes upside down to drain. Carefully remove center petals and fuzzy centers with a spoon and discard. Keep warm or chill as desired.

In medium saucepan combine vegetable broth, curry powder, and cumin; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in couscous and currants. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in green onion and almonds. Combine lemon peel, lemon juice and vegetable oil; stir into couscous.

Gently spread artichoke leaves until center cone of leaves is revealed. Pull out center cone. With a spoon, scrape out any purple-tipped leaves and fuzz. Fill centers of artichokes with couscous mixture. Serve with plain yogurt, if desired. 

Nutritional information per serving: calories 368; protein 11 g; carbohydrate 54 g;
fat 13 g; sodium 135 mg; cholesterol 0 mg; dietary fiber 8 g


Friday, May 20, 2011

May is National Bicycle Month
May 20th National Bike to Work Day

National Bicycle Month and Bike to Work Day are sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.

MissionTo promote bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation and work through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America.

History. The League was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as "wheelmen", were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians.

In an effort to improve riding conditions, more than 100,000 cyclists from across the United States joined the League to advocate for paved roads. The success of the League in its first advocacy efforts ultimately led to our national highway system.

Benefits of Bike Riding
People ride bicycles for all sorts of reasons, from better health, to saving money on fuel, and helping the environment. In addition, bike riding is a lot of fun.

Safety Cycling from the
League of American Bicyclists

Danger Rangers Bike Safety PSA

Food Art: Bicycle Built for Two
The song "Bicycle Built for Two" was written in 1892.
Illustrating the American bicycle history spans over 100 years.

The League provides education for cyclists, including bicycle safety.To learn more about the League of American Bicyclists, visit their website at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

National Employee Health and Fitness Day
May 18, 2011

Employees’ Health And Fitness Programs
Workplace Wellness Programs enhance the
overall health and productivity of your organization.

Benefits For Employers
Increase employee productivity
Improve health care costs
Less illness and injuries
Reduce employee absenteeism

Benefits For Employees
Less stress
Improve physical fitness
Better eating habits or weight control
Increase physical and mental health 

6 Steps to Creating a Wellness Program
Presentor: Mitzi Dulan, RD

Bob Harper from the "Biggest Loser" provides
tips on how to stay
healthy at work.

National Employee Health and Fitness Day™ is the third (3rd) Wednesday in May each year. Administered annually by the National Association for Health and Fitness. NEHF is a national health observance, created to promote the benefits of physical activity for individuals through their work site health promotion activities. Founded in 1989 National Employee Health and Fitness Day has enlisted tens of thousands of participants from employers around the world.

For More Information on how to Improve Employee Health and Fitness visit the following links:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May is National High Blood Pressure
Education Month
World Hypertension Day, May 17th

The World Hypertension League (WHL) is a division of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), and is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO).

World Hypertension Day was established to highlight preventable stroke, heart and kidney diseases caused by high blood pressure and to communicate to the public information on prevention, detection and treatment.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force applied against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body.

Know Your Blood Pressure Number
The first number, systolic blood pressure measures the maximum pressure exerted as the heart contracts. A measurement over 90 and under 140 is generally considered normal for an adult.
The lower number indicates diastolic pressure is a measurement taken between beats, when the heart is at rest. A measurement over 60 and under 90 is generally considered normal for an adult.

High Blood Pressure is a Global Epidemic. Over 1.5 billion people world-wide suffer from high blood pressure (or hypertension).

Prevention and Control of High Blood Pressure

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
2. Eat More Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
3. Cut Back on Salt Intake
4. Exercise
5. Check your Blood Pressure Regularly
6. If you are on medication, take the medication as prescribed.

Hypertension, I Forgot to Mention

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). National High Blood Pressure Education Program

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). High Blood Pressure Education Month

The International Society of Hypertension (ISH).
ISH's main objectives are to promote and encourage the advancement of scientific knowledge in all aspects of research and its application to prevention and management of heart disease and stroke in hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases around the world.

The World Hypertension League (WHL).  The objectives of the World Hypertension League (WHL) are to promote the detection, control and prevention of arterial hypertension in populations.