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Calcium plays a very important role in our bodies. It is a mineral we need each day. Calcium makes up about 99% in our bones and teeth and the other 1% is found in the blood and soft tissue. Adequate calcium intake is essential for maintaining healthy bones. If calcium intake is inadequate the body will demineralize our bones to maintain normal blood calcium levels. When calcium levels are inadequate it is considered a deficiency. Low blood calcium levels usually implies abnormal parathyroid function and is rarely due to low dietary intake. Chronic kidney disease, vitamin D deficiency, and low magnesium levels, that occur mainly due to alcoholism, can cause low calcium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is needed for optimal calcium absorption. That is why most calcium supplements contain vitamin D. The recommended amount of calcium for children ages 1-3 are 500mg/d, ages 4-8 800mg/d, ages 9-18 1300mg/d, for adults up to age 50 you need 1000mg/d, 51 and older need 1200mg/d, during pregnancy women need 1300mg/d if under 18 and if they are older than 18 they need 1000mg/d.
There are many good sources of calcium. It is best to obtain as much calcium from foods since calcium in foods is accompanied by other nutrients. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheeses, yogurt, tofu, spinach, rhubarb, white beans, kale, pinto beans red beans and broccoli.
My family goes through 3 gallons of milk a week. I personally am not a big milk drinker. I only have about a glass of milk a day with my dinner. I do take a calcium supplement because I know that I don’t get enough calcium through the foods I eat. I will eat yogurt but I can get tired of eating it. Now my son and husband will drink milk plain with no food or anything. I can’t do that. I don’t care for the taste of it. There is nothing wrong with taking a supplement. If you do take calcium supplements make sure to take it with food and not to take it with a multivitamin. The reason is that food helps calcium get absorbed better in your body. The iron in a multivitamin will prevent calcium from being absorbed properly. So just try to remember those tips if you take a supplement. Not everyone needs a supplement.
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My husband will sometime complain about why we always have to have whole wheat bread and pasta etc. I don’t think he knows the importance of a high fiber diet. He has gotten used to pretty much everything whole wheat in our house though. What fiber does is add bulk and speed the passage of food through the intestine. It helps to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. The fiber in fruits, vegetables, beans and oatmeal help to lowe cholesterol. Most adults need 30-35 grams of fiber per day. How do you know if a product is high in fiber? If you look on the food label where it says fiber and it says 5 grams or more that is considered high fiber, if it is 3-4 then it is a good source of fiber. When buying whole wheat products make sure to look at the ingredients to make sure whole wheat is number one. Many bread say wheat bread but if you look at the food label under ingredients enriched flour is the main ingredient and therefore is not high in fiber. If you are not used to wheat products it may take some getting used to.
Here is a good high fiber recipe that I got off of Giant Eagle noodle package. I used whole wheat noodles.
1 (12oz) package wide noodles
1/2 lb sliced much mushrooms
1 1/2-2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sliced zucchini
1/2 cup red bell pepper, Julienne
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 T butter (I didn’t use butter, only cooking spray)
1lb of turkey sausage
8-10 cherry tomatoes (I omitted)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Cook noodles. Meanwhile in a large skillet saute vegetables, oregano and garlic powder for 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add sausage and cover. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and half of cheese. Add noodles to sausage mixture and mix. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
I enjoy eating out and never really thought about the kids menu until I had my own. Once Tyler, my son, was old enough to eat solids I found it hard to find good food for him to eat when we went out to eat. I would usually bring some fruit and vegetables with me when we would go out to eat because many restaurants either have one or the other. It is very rare to find restaurants with both fruits and vegetables as an option. When we were on vacation in Myrtle Beach we went to a bar and grill type of restaurant and they had no fruit, vegetables or even milk. Now how can you not have milk? I don’t even think they had a kid’s menu come to think of it. I was totally appalled. Most of the food options were not very healthy either. I wish I could remember the name of the place, it was in Surfside beach. But there are some restaurants that we have been to that have offered both fruits and vegetables. Bob Evan’s has a good assortment of vegetables and fruit! They even have other offering besides the standard grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese, hot dog, chicken fingers that all restaurants have. They have grilled chicken, shrimp, and a fruit and yogurt plate, which Tyler likes. Another good place is Sunny Street Cafe, I think this is mainly local, but they have a good selection of meals for kids. Many restaurants like Applebee’s,O’ Charley’s, Olive Garden, Cheeseburger in Paradise only have vegetables as an option, if that. Olive Garden only had a salad. Even if you do get vegetable from a place they put so much butter and other stuff to distort the taste that it makes the nutritional value go down. I usually try to tell them just to steam it and not put anything on it. We went to Max and Erma’s one time and I ordered broccoli for Tyler and he wouldn’t eat it because they put so much butte on it. He isn’t used to eating broccoli that way. My family and I maybe eat out once a week. It is just so hard sometimes to find good and healthy things for my child to eat when we go out. I usually bring some fruit or a vegetable with me when we go out. It helps to hold him over until our food comes also.
The above restaurants are just a few of the places we have been and what I have observed eating there. I just wish that most restaurants would offer more of a selection of fruit and vegetables, let alone more of a meal option. Why do places have to have the same old same old for kids? Do they think that is all kids want to eat? Well if they don’t have other options, then yes I guess that is what they will have to eat.
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Many people ask me what a dietitian does. Really if you’re a dietitian you can work in many places. You can work in the school as a food service director, work in a hospital, nursing home, dialysis center, in a doctor’s office or work for yourself. If all really depends on the person. I personally am I clinical dietitian and I work in the hospital. I also work in a high risk OB clinic. I get asked all the time what I do. First off in the high risk clinic I see all the diabetic patients. They could have type I or type II or have gestational diabetes. Most of the time these women’s diabetes are uncontrolled. I will go and speak with the patient and provide them a meal plan to follow that helps to balance their carbohydrate intake throughout the day. I will follow them throughout their pregnancy and check their blood sugars and their diet. Now in the hospital, or the inpatient setting, it’s different. Yes I may do some meal planning with diabetics, but not often. I cover all the floors in the hospital from renal, cardiac, stroke, orthopedic, OB/GYN, cancer, surgery, and some ICU. Every floor is different. I pretty much talk with the patient to see how they are eating and if they need a supplement, like Ensure, Boost, etc. There are some patient who are on alternative nutrition, which is tube feeds, TPN or total parental nutrition or PPN peripheral parental nutrition. I manage all of them. I calculate the total calorie and protein needs of each patient. I spend a good portion of my day looking up the patient information and charting. But in a nut shell that’s what I do.
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Listeria, you’ve probably heard it in the news lately. Listeria is a foodborne illness caused by bacteria.It infects about 2500 Americans each year and 500 of those infected die. It can cause fever and diarrhea in those without compromised immune systems. Those who are at the most risk are the elderly, pregnancy women, and newborns. Symptoms include septicemia, meningitis and may result in a spontaneous abortion, still birth and fetal/newborn meningitis. Sources for Listeria are from the soil, water, plants, cold damp environments, humans, domestic and wild animals. Listeria can be found in unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses (feta, blue cheese, brie), raw vegetables, poultry/meat, seafood, deli meats, and hot dogs. Ways of prevention are use pasteurized milk and dairy products, cook food to proper internal temperature (including deli meats), avoid cross contamination, sanitize surfaces and wash raw vegetables.
This past weekend my family and I went to the Circleville Pumpkin show. There were huge pumpkins weighing in over 1400 pounds. There were pumpkins everywhere. They had so much pumpkin food from pumpkin donuts, pie, cheesecake to pumpkin waffles. You name it and they could probably make it with pumpkin. We didn’t sample much of the food though. The only thing we did try was a pumpkin donut. It was pretty good, you couldn’t really taste the pumpkin in it. The pumpkin helps to keep it moist. Now as all of these people at the show are eating pumpkin I doubt they know the health benefits of pumpkin. The orange color of pumpkins should be a dead give away that pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can help offer protection against some degenerative aging diseases. In 1 cup of boiled pumpkin and drained there are 49 calories, 2 grams of protein and zero fat. There are tons of recipes were pumpkin can be added. One of my favorites is pumpkin bread! So go ahead and try a pumpkin recipe.
This topic has been on my mind for quite sometime now, every since I had children and decided to breastfeed. Which is best breastfeeding or formula? The great debate among many people. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Some of the advantages to breastfeeding are it is bacteriologically safe, always fresh, contains antibodies and immune cells for baby, it is always the right temperature, cost-effective, convenient, baby is less likely to be over-fed and it provides close mother-child contact just to name a few. Breastfeeding can help to lower the risk of the mother getting breast cancer and also helps the mother get back to her pre-pregancy weight sooner. Some disadvantages to breastfeeding are not always publicly accepted and the mother always has to be available to feed the baby unless she pumps a bottle before hand. Now on to formula advantages: anyone can feed the baby and it is easier to go out. Some the disadvantages are cost, you need to warm the bottles, you need to have all the bottles and formula with you all the time, baby may not tolerate formula as well and you need to make sure everything is measured right so baby gets the right nutrients.
I knew that I was going to breastfeed even before I was pregnant. I just knew that it was the best thing for me and the baby. When I was pregnant no one told me which is better or even the advantages and disadvantages. Had I not taken nutrition classes I probably wouldn’t have known all the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby. All through my pregnancies and hospital stays I did not have any one person talk with me about breastfeeding. I had nurses and doctors ask if I was going to and when I said “yes” they just left it at that. But for some reason when I did say “yes” I still received formula and coupons for formula in the mail and at the hospital. Now I’m sure the formula companies provide those for free but I’m never going to use them. How is that promoting breastfeeding when hospitals and doctor offices are providing all these free cans of formula and coupons for formula? I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. So now I have 3 cans of formula that will never be used. If none of my new mothers or pregnant moms need it I’m just going to donate it to the food bank.
I do understand that there are some circumstances where a mother cannot breastfeed. I am not trying to tell anyone which is best. It is a personal decision. Breastfeeding is not easy. I just about gave up on it within the first couple of weeks with my first child. I thought that breastfeeding would be a breeze, but boy was I wrong. I had no clue what I was doing and he didn’t know what he was doing either. Nobody tells you about the engorgement, sore nipples or the leaky boobs. Breastfeeding isn’t pretty at times. But I am glad that I stuck with it. It helped to create a tight bond with my son and now my daughter. Once I got the hang of it, it was a breeze. Yeah the middle of the night feedings suck but well worth it. No matter what a mother decides to do, she is a mother and that bond with her child will last forever!
I currently am a registered and licensed dietitian. I am passionate about eating healthy, working out, trying new recipes, my family and life in general. I have always had a passion to write but I haven’t really had that passion til lately. I decided to start this blog because I want to express my views/opinions on food and nutrition and whatever else. Hopefully I will get some people to follow along and maybe they will learn something new from me.