Google+ Food and Environment

Pages

Quick Dieting Tips on Fiber

Introduction to Dukan Diet

By Prihta Mala

The consumption of high fiber dietary can reduce the risks for stroke, diabetes type 2, heart problems, as well as can increase the skin’s health, and maintain or lose weight. Eating fiber can help you to feel full sooner because fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods. Fibers such as fruits and vegetables are low in calories, so it helps you to lose weight. Furthermore, consuming high fiber can move fat through your digestive system faster resulting in less fat is absorbed. Eating plenty of fiber foods give more energy for working or exercising. It is suggested to consume minimum 25 grams of fiber every day for women aged 18-50 years old while for women over 50 years old need at least 21 grams daily. The source of high fiber foods are whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, flax seed, chia seed, quinoa, oatmeal, beans, nuts, vegetables, for examples, carrots, celery, tomatoes, also, fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (see Figure 1.), blackberries, apples, citrus, grapefruits, pumello and pears. It is recommended that starting your day with plenty of fiber, whole-grain cereal with adding wheat bran, as well as, dried or fresh fruits to the morning-cereal. Also, you can change white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain foods or have a habit of snacking on fruit and vegetables, such as the right protein bar for diet has maximum 9 g of fiber. Moreover, you can improve fiber consumption by adding nuts, seeds, kidney beans, peas, or black beans in to the salads, or having high intake of barley, peas, lentils, or brown rice to soups and stews. There are more recommendations on healthy diets such as GNC, Ideal-Shape, Medifast, Ayurvedha, or Dukan Diet for well-balanced diet and quality dietary supplements, healthy meal plans, smoothies, shakes, and other online healthy foods.
In addition to the dieting tips, an example is the Dukan diet designed by the French Dr. Pierre Dukan. The protein-based diet is a weight loss and nutritious plan translated in 14 languages or in 32 countries. Some of the dieting tips basically consist of losing the weight and keeping it forever, as follows.
1. Set the commitment or willingness power that should be trained mentally such as having regular workouts at least 3 times a week for 3 weeks.
2. Have a realistic objective or motivation, such as losing 5 lbs or more in 3 weeks.
3. Give a reward for yourself with some clothing or running shoes or reading books for the whole week.
4. Prevent “dangerous” situations such as party places or big restaurants that connected to consume non-dietary foods.
5. Set experiments to eat diverse foods when dieting and rotating the exercise, try cooking new recipes and jogging different routes or using new gym equipment.
6. Keep tracking the (slow/immediate) progress by starting dieting plans or losing weight daily.
7. Have a motivated exercise by having it regularly such as workout results on the scale in 3-4 days.
8. Have a commitment diet by not eating forbidden foods, such as fat-friendly snacks or high in fat or rich in carbohydrate foods.
9. Try to reduce your alcohol consumption with minimal frequency because alcoholic and high in sugar drinks can ruin the diet. Then, if you drink them, you tend to eat more food or you will be weaker and even tempt to eat junk food.
10. Find a support system by engaging with your families, friends, colleagues, and online communities to not give up on your diets, so they can be proud of your achievements on exercising and share your happiness to keep your motivation on the diets (such as trying to cook the new recipes from Dukan Diet at http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/lifestyle/lifestyle-galleries/35238/10-dukan-diet-recipes.html).



Figure 1. Fresh Raspberries and Blueberries from British Columbia, Canada (http://nutritionexplorations.org)

Quick Tips on How to Reduce Added Sugars in Kids

Creating Healthy Food Fun for Kids

By Prihta Mala

Sugary drinks and sweet treats have many calories but contain small nutrients. It’s a fact that  the added sugars can be found in sodas, juice drinks, sport drinks, energy drinks, candy, ice-cream, cakes, cookies and sweets. By decreasing these foods and beverages (less than 6 teaspoons of added sugars for female and 11 teaspoons of added sugars for male daily), you help the kids to develop healthy eating habits and avoid health issues, for instance, as follows.
1. Provide small amounts of sweets. It is recommended to gradually minimize the amount of sweets, candy, ice-cream or biscuits your kids eat a day. Serve these kinds of treats in smaller plates, can go along throughout the whole day, and encourage them to share with others.
2. Prevent check-out lanes displaying candy, so we don’t tempt kids who might ask to buy some candy.
3. Drink smarter healthier beverages such as water, fat-free milk, 100% juice when they are thirsty rather than consume soda or sweet drinks which are rich in sugar and calories.
4. Avoid high calorie desserts by providing 100% fruit-veggie squeeze snacks or fruits (see Figure 1.), salads, baked apples or pears for dessert and offer 100% frozen juice bars.
5. Prevent offering sweets as rewards for your kids. Consider rewarding kind words, comforting hugs and presenting some non-food stuffs such as stickers, games, art/music/sport tools etc.
6. Making treats only on special occasions, not daily food. Sweet treats are reserved for special events such as birthday cakes, and are enjoyed most when consumed once in a while.
7. Provide nutritious food for fun by engaging kids to cook healthy snack together and try to be creative. Having fun by a smiley face with bananas and raisins or cutting fruit into happy-face shapes using a cookie cutter.
8. Encourage kids to create new snacks by experimenting original mixes of dried fruits, unsalted nuts or seeds to invent food which kids will like to eat.
9. Do not substitute regular meals by sweets.
10. Teach kids to play a detective in the store, for instance, by discovering the amount of total sugars or carbohydrates on the cereal box the kids love most, then comparing it with the other cereal boxes that have lowest amount of sugars.

Figure 1. 100% Fruit-Veggie Fruitsation Snacks and Bananas (http://nutritionexplorations.org)

Furthermore, making healthy eating habits in kids is important for staying them fit and avoiding health issues. Kids who like to eat sweets and food rich in sugar would skip eating vegetables and fruits. It is recommended that kids are encouraged to eat more vegetables or fruits and ask kids to prepare their own foods then to try the food they cook themselves, but it depends on their ages and cooking skills. Further study is done by Health Canada pertaining to current food skills and fact sheets in Canada (see the attachment, http://www.slideshare.net/PrihtaMala/food-skills-factsheetengfinal).
There are some easy ideas to create healthy snacks for kids, as the following examples.
1. Create smoothies by blending low-fat or fat free yoghurt or milk with bananas (see Figure 1.), peaches, pineapples, berries, and crushed ice or freeze the fruits first. Kids can use fresh, frozen or canned fruits, for the cocktail.
2. Make delicious dippers by whipping up a nutritious dip with yoghurt and seasonings like herbs and garlic to be served with raw vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or with cinnamon raisin and vanilla dip.
3. Create caterpillar cabobs by cuttings slices of melon, orange, apple and pear then arrange them on skewers for a fruity cabob, or try a vegetable version of zucchini, squash, tomatoes, sweet pepper and cucumber.
4. Invent personalized pizzas by engaging the kids in making a home-made pizza. They can use whole-meal English muffins, pita bread or bagels to create a crust with tomato, sweet chilly or BBQ sauce, low fat cheese, vegetables, or fruits for topping. Then put the pizza into the oven to heat it up.
5. Develop potato person by adorning half of bakes potato with sliced cherry tomatoes, peas and low-fat cheese to make a smiley face on the potato.
6. Make a fruity peanut butterfly by utilizing celery sticks to create the body and thin slices of apples to make the wings and assemble them with low-fat peanut butter, then, adorning with halved grapes or dried fruits.
7. Enjoy frosty fruits by consuming frozen treats, especially in summer or hot weather. Provide fresh fruits in the freezer, then inserting sticks into peeled bananas and freezing them to make the fun popsicles.
8. Have homemade trail mix by creating your own trail mix, mixing nuts, such as unsalted peanuts, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds with dried fruits, for instance, apples, pears, apricots, pineapples, raisins, plus add whole-grain cereals to the food.
9. Invent bugs on a log of cucumber, celery, carrot sticks. Then, add peanut butter and top with dried fruit of cherries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries as well as raisins, cinnamon, grapefruits, pummelo etc.
10. Ask kids to be in charge by naming the food (vegetables and fruits). Let them assemble raw vegetables or fruits to create happy shapes. So, lets starting your new experiments and having fun, kiddos! 



Quick Tips on Good Carbs

Makes Taking Fiber Easier

By Prihta Mala

Carbohydrates or fats are an important part of a healthy diet as they give fuel supply you need to get through the day, fight fatigue, and leave you full. But there are problems in choosing the right types of carbohydrates. Healthy carbohydrates have complex structure and rich fiber. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grain, brown rice, whole wheat (stone ground), millet, quinoa, or beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables. The complex ones are rich in nutrients and stay feeling full and satisfied because of long-lasting energy. Simple carbohydrates can be found in white flour, white rice, and sugary food that should be avoided. They have plenty of empty calories and provide only short-lived energy leaving you hungry for more. Moreover, having fibre-rich diets have many health benefits. The positive effects on your digestive health, regular bowel  movements, that helps you avoid constipation so you don’t need medicinal laxatives. Fiber is also recommended as a part of a healthy and balanced diet. There’s a fact that most Canadian women get less than 25 g of fibre every day and Canadian men have less than 38 g of  daily fibre they need as a part of a healthy diet. Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, for example, as listed in Table 1., below.

                    Table 1. The Source of Food and the Amount of Fibre (g)
Food
Fibre (g)
GSK Benefibre1 tsp (Figure 1.)
3
Fruits such as
Avocado, ½ fruit
Pear, with skin, medium
Apple, with skin, medium

6.7
5.0
2.6
Vegetables i.e.
Artichoke, cooked, 1 medium
Broccoli, fresh, cooked, ½ cup
Carrot, cooked, ½ cup

6.5
2.3
2.2
Whole grains for instance
Bran cereal, 30 g
Wheat germ, raw, ¼ cup
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice

12.0
3.5
2.4

It can be difficult to regularly get enough fibre every day from the food you eat. Adding a fibre supplement can be a good choice for many people. BenefibreR is a fibre supplement you can have every day, not a laxative medicine, so it’s safe for daily usage. It can be used by anyone looking to add their fibre intake and can be added into a healthy lifestyle which involves a balanced diet rich with fruits and vegetables and regular exercise. BenefibreR has inulin from the chicory root, 100% natural prebiotic, no sugar added, gluten free, no added fillers and artificial flavours, colors or sweeteners, clear, taste-free, dissolves completely, great for cooking, does not thicken or swell and does not pose a choking hazard, provides only 5 calories per dose, can be mixed in water, coffee, juice or soft food, does not interfere with medications that can be taken with food, promotes regularity, can be given via tube feeding, and requires only 125 mL of liquid or soft food. In addition to the carbohydrates from whey, we should know about certain food additives such as peroxidase in whey products (see the attachment, http://www.slideshare.net/PrihtaMala/document-consultationengwhey-61255442).

So, are you getting enough daily fibre? (See Table 1 and Figure 1.).



Figure 1. GSK BenefibreR Fibre Supplement, Supplement de fibres (www.dieticians.ca)

Universal agreement on climate change – not too far!


Delegates from 194 countries negotiated over a week and finally succeeded to prepare the negotiating text for the 2015 Universal Agreement on Climate Change to be held in Le Bourget, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015.  

On Friday (13th February 2015), delegates participating Geneva Climate Change Talks finalised the content of the new agreement which includes the text about mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. 

 
Participants of the Climate Change Talk in Geneva. Photo credit:  UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has set the objective of the 2015 conference to achieve a universal and binding agreement on climate for the first time after 20 years of UN negotiations by the nations all over the world. Achievement of Geneva talk over the last week is a key milestone towards this objective of UNFCCC. This has given a hope that we are moving in right direction in spite of being very slow. 

According to a press release by UNFCCC, Christiana Figures, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC has expressed her happiness as “I am extremely encouraged by the constructive spirit and the speed at which negotiators have worked during the past week. We now have a formal negotiating text, which contains the views and concerns of all countries. The Lima Draft has now been transformed into the negotiating text and enjoys the full ownership of all countries”. 

The press release further added that “The text was constructed in full transparency. This means that although it has become longer, countries are now fully aware of each other’s positions”.

According to UN News Centre “The next step is for negotiators to narrow down options and reach consensus on the content. Formal work and negotiations on the text will continue at the Climate Change Conference in Bonn in June with two further formal sessions planned for later in the year, as well as ministerial-level meetings that will take place throughout 2015”.

The negotiating text is available on UNFCCC website. 


Quick Tips on Food Safety of Turkey Meat


By Prihta Mala
Back in 2012, Canada produced around 20.6 million turkeys for consumption. Therefore, the business of this lean meat is important until now. But unfortunately, there are currently Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in British Columbia (BC), Canada. There have been ten turkey farms in Chilliwack, BC infected by Avian Influenza (possibly H5N2, H5N8 or H7N3  types). So, the turkey meats are ultimately contaminated by this virus and have been rejected by some importer countries such as Taiwan, China and others. However, CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and/or BC Agriculture closed the possible suspects of contaminated turkey farms immediately, to reduce the AI spread and infections. This is important because turkey meat is a lean healthy one and protein source for human and dog/pet consumption. On the other hand, other turkey farms, apart from BC, are not contaminated such as from Alberta or Manitoba Canada and the U.S. In terms of, the food safety originally from the farm, the consumers also have to be responsible for the storage and the cooking temperature. 

How to make balanced and healthy diets for children using basic food groups



By Prihta Mala
The food groups consist of fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy that have been used as a basic guidance to eat balanced and healthy meals.

Firstly, vegetables have essential nutrients that are needed to grow and stay healthy. For example, dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and collard greens have calcium which the bodies need to grow strong bones. Carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash, and beets have vitamin A which helps to protect and heal the bodies. Beans are also part of vegetable groups. They are good source of protein which is needed to build strong muscles including the heart. Humans should eat different vegetables in order to get different nutrients. Children should get about one-and-a-half cups of vegetables a day, including a small salad at lunch and vegetables at dinner.

Secondly, fruit is also an important part of a balanced meal. For instance, fresh apples, oranges, bananas, and other fruits are loaded with vitamins that are needed for healthy eyes and skin. The fruits also have nutrients that help the bodies to fight diseases. Fresh fruits and vegetables have fiber which the digestive system uses to stay healthy.  Children should have about a cup to a cup-and-a-half of fruit a day. They could have fruits with oatmeal in the morning and some grapes for a snack in the afternoon. Different colors of fruits and vegetables have different nutrients. Therefore, it is good to eat a variety of colorful fruits. Half plate for each meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables.

Thirdly, grains are also an important food group, such as bread, rice, pasta, oats, cereal, and tortillas are all parts of the grain groups. Most grains that are consumed should be whole grain which are more nutritious. White bread, white rice and sugary cereals are made with processed grains, which have lost of a lot of their nutrients. Grains contain carbohydrates which the bodies use for energy. They also contain a lot of fiber which is good for the digestive system. Children need about five ounces of grains a day, They could have half bagel for breakfast, a sandwich with multigrain bread for lunch, and a whole wheat pasta at dinner.

Fourthly, a balanced and healthy meal also has protein. The protein food group includes meats such as chicken, beef, and fish. It also includes eggs, nuts, beans, and tofu. Beans are part of both the protein and the vegetable groups. The bodies use protein to build muscles. Children need about four ounces of protein a day. They could have a piece of wheat toast with peanut butter in the morning, a salad with chicken at lunch and a small piece of fish at dinner. It is better to get the protein from different kinds of foods.

Lastly, dairy is another part of a balanced meal. For example, milk, soy milk, cheese and yogurt are all parts of the dairy group. Dairy foods have calcium which the bodies use to grow healthy bones, teeth and hair. Milk is a great source of vitamin D too which the bodies need in order to get calcium. Children should pick plain milk that is lower in fat, such as skim or 1% milk fat (1%M.F). Chocolate and strawberry milk are not good choices because they have tons of sugar. Children need about two-and-a-half ounces a dairy a day. They can have yogurt with fruit in the morning, small cartoon of milk at lunch and a little cheese at dinner. When children eat, take a look at the plate, because half plate should have fruits and vegetables with a bit more vegetables. The other half should have grains and protein with more grains. There should be some dairy too. It is better to explore foods from all the food groups so that you eat balanced meals and stay healthy.

The next topic is about the reasons why you should eat healthy foods.  This is because food is the fuel for the body. When we eat, our digestive system breaks down food and takes in nutrients. The body needs nutrients to grow and stay healthy. Milk, yogurt, cheese are high in calcium, which is a nutrient the body needs to build strong bones. Vegetables, nuts and beans have nutrients that help to keep eyes, skin and hair healthy. Some foods are not as nutritious or healthy as others such as junk food.

Junk food is food that has few nutrients and is high in fat, sugar or salt. Foods that are high in sugar can change the mood or how you feel. After eating sugary snacks, children might feel really hyper and have too much energy. But the mood can change quickly, and they can get tired or grumpy. Eating too many foods that are high in fat and salt can cause health problems later on. Therefore, it is important to remember about how much to eat from different food groups and keep up a balanced diet (fruits, grains, vegetables, protein and dairy).


 Then, it is essential to know how to choose a healthy breakfast, lunch and drink. After children wake up, their body needs fuel to begin the day. That’s why people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Doughnuts and pastries are high in fat and sugar and some cereals have a lot of sugar too. Bacon, sausage, and hash browns are greasy and have a lot of fat. They are not healthiest way to start your day. Instead, children can eat whole wheat toast or multigrain bagels which have a lot of fiber. They also can have fruits with yogurt, which is more nutritious than doughnuts. Eating a healthy breakfast can give them enough energy and keep them full until lunch.

It is also vital to choose a healthy lunch. For instance, pizza and hamburgers are pretty greasy and they have a lot of fat and salt. The salad has fresh vegetables which are nutritious, plus chicken which is lean, so it doesn’t have a lot of fat. That’s the healthiest choice. When children eat, choose food with fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads instead of white bread. This is because whole grain breads are darker and they have more nutrients. Fruits are high in vitamins which the body uses to stay healthy. Potato chips and corn chips are fried, so they are high in salt and fat. If the chips are baked, they are lower in fat. But they are still a processed food and high in sodium. So, it is better to get unsalted mixed nuts as snacks for lunch. Nuts have protein which the body needs to build muscles.

Moreover, children should choose the healthiest drink. Juices might seem healthy but sometimes they can have a lot of added sugar and artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives. The sports drink sounds like a good choice, but it has weird stuff in the ingredients. A good rule is if you can’t pronounce it, then it is probably not the healthiest choice to eat or drink. Milk is nutritious but chocolate and strawberry milk have a ton of sugar. The healthiest choice is probably plain low fat milk or water.

In conclusion, the body needs healthy food and drink to stay healthy (see Figure 1.), so pay attention to what you eat or drink.


Figure 1. The Food Groups

References:

http://www.brainpopjr.com/the-food-groups


Where to focus to design food security enhancement program

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai


Today, developing countries are facing severe problem of household food and nutrition insecurity caused by multifaceted reasons ranging from low agricultural productivity, limited livelihood opportunities, inefficient food distribution system, weak market linkage, poor infrastructure and lack of awareness on healthy food and care habit. Demographic and Health Survey reports from these countries have shown that proportions of underweight children, prevalence of stunting among children and micro-nutrient deficiency in children, pregnant and nursing mothers are high and widespread. The situation is more severe in the countries affected by conflict and the countries in the transition.

Fortunately, many international development partners and the state governments are working together to fight against this problem and working through several global and national initiatives to attain objectives of Millennium Development Goal 1 by 2015. These initiatives address the growing food and nutrition insecurity emerged as a consequence of soaring food prices and impacts of global climate change among others.

In sustainably alleviating the food security and nutrition situations, it is important to address the issues associated with food availability at local level, access to adequate and safe food and its proper utilization.  The goal of sustainably enhancing food and nutrition security of the targeted communities can only be achieved by strengthening the entire agricultural value chain viz. improving the quality of seeds and animal breed, connecting farmers to local markets and encouraging crop diversity. Commercialization, diversification and quality enhancement of agriculture sector is very crucial in this context. Smart and strategic approach should be implemented to increase agricultural productivity, to decrease poverty through increased income base, to drive economic growth and to reduce under-nutrition among our children and our mothers. Moreover, the programs should be specific to particular geographical terrain, demography, climate, and other problems and opportunities of the countries and the region to be implemented. Therefore, sometimes "one size fit all" program formulated by so called expert without considering ground reality may not be suitable and sustainable in the local context of particular countries/region.

Similarly, generating awareness among vulnerable groups about appropriate food, health and care practices are equally important so that most vulnerable group of people, particularly pregnant and nursing mothers and children under 2 years of age get the appropriate nutrition they need to thrive. It is very essential to always focus the program to small and marginal farmers, poor and disadvantaged communities.

It is desirable to focus simultaneously on the short-term needs and problems to address the emergencies and longer-term solutions and strategies to get rid of the problem sustainably. Food-based nutritional approach is the most sustainable way to fight against the problem of under-nutrition we are facing today. So, in this context our policies and program should be strategic towards nutrition sensitive and sustainable agricultural development. There should be proper integration of agriculture and nutrition intervention which should also be reflected in government plan and policies.

Food security enhancement is so popular development agenda that most of the time there are multiple players on the same ground with same objectives. There is very urgent need for concerted and coordinated efforts within and across all organizations of these multiple players (government and non-government) to bring synergy and to achieve desired impacts on the ground. Development partners who are working for the same cause need a common vision with a coordinated approach.

Hence, we can fight against hunger together by making this a common cause of our time, a cause to feed our children, a cause to fight against one of the most significant development challenges; by specifically designing the program in the most effective way possible and implementing in the area and communities where it is most needed. 

This could be difficult but not impossible.