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Meatless Monday

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Meatless Monday

As journalist and social critic H.L. Mencken wrote, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” Avoiding all carbohydrates such as pasta just because they are carbohydrates seems to fit this notion.

This was me…I once avoided all pasta because it was a “carb”.  I now have more knowledge and have successfully added pasta back into my diet.

Pasta has been unjustly vilified in recent years as a leading culprit in the rise of obesity around the globe. It has been attacked as a (gasp!) carbohydrate, a food type many health experts say we should avoid.

The truth is, pasta is and has long been a healthy carbohydrate and broadly considered one of the best lifestyle diets for maintaining a healthy weight.

How did pasta get such a bad rap? The primary reason is a simple misconception — that pasta is akin to bread made from wheat. In fact, pasta is made from durum, a wholly different species from bread wheat in that it contains a third fewer chromosomes. Durum is an older species and a hybrid of wild grasses; modern bread wheat is more domesticated.

The second reason why pasta gets criticized is what we tend to do to it: over-process it and top it with salty and fatty goo. This is what has turned inherently healthy pasta into something far less desirable.

What makes pasta healthy is the fact that it has a low glycemic index (GI) — a modern concept of how fast glucose, a sugar from carbohydrates, is absorbed into the bloodstream. The GI runs from zero to 100, and foods with a higher index number tend to spike the blood with sugar. This taxes the organs — in particular, the pancreas — and can lead to diabetes and obesity.

Pasta is remarkably low on the glycemic index. Pasta is around 25 to 45, depending on the type. That’s in the range of many fruits and (non-potato) vegetables. Compare this with two staples of the American diet: white bread, with a GI of about 75; and potatoes, with a GI of about 80. (Mashed potatoes come in at 90.) Did you have corn flakes from breakfast? They have a GI of 80, as do many breakfast cereals.

Pasta should be cooked al dente, or slightly firm. Anything longer slightly raises the GI. Pasta becomes unhealthy when it is overly processed, such as the mushy stuff in a can, or when it is topped excessively with fatty meats and cheeses.

Source: Mother Nature Network

 

Meatless Monday

In a turn of events for today’s Meatless Monday post I am not distributing information, but seeking it. I have heard so much about Kale Chips I want to know if they’re really as good as the internet makes them out to be. I like Kale in smoothies and sautéed/boiled, but I don’t know that any preparation would make Kale taste like a potato chips.

Yes, the reviews on the internet claim that spraying Kale with oil and baking it will make them as crispy and as tasty potato chips. I have a hard time believing this so…..for those of you that have tried Kale chips please let me know what you think. Did the internet get this right or is this a case of “believe none of what you hear and half of what you read?”

 

Photo: Nomnompaleo.com

Meatless Monday

According to a United Nations report the livestock industry creates almost 1/5 of all greenhouse gases and takes up 30% of the earth’s usable land .  By eliminating 1½ pounds of meat (about what a family of four eats for dinner) once a week, Gidon Eshel, a professor of physics at Bard College, says, “ you’ll get almost the same benefits as trading in a standard sedan for an ultra-efficient Prius hybrid.”

Source: Fox News 

Meatless Monday

There is a lot of talk about steel-cut oats and how they’re healthier than rolled oats. I wanted to find out if this was true. Do you prefer oatmeal made from steel-cut oats? If so, why?

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 1. What is a Rolled Oat?

Rolled oats originate from something called groats, which are the hulled cores of the grains. The oats are then formed into flakes via a rolling mechanism. You can easily recognize rolled oats by their flat, flake-like shapes.

2. Study Steel-Cut Oats

Upon a quick glance at a bag of steel-cut oats, you’ll see that they are noticeably smaller than rolled oats and are similar in appearance to cut-up pieces of rice. A whole-grain oat, the steel-cut variety, is made of the inner kernel (groat) and has been split in two to three sections. Other names you might encounter for such oats include coarse cut, Irish and pinhead.

One primary difference between the two foods is that it takes longer to cook the steel-cut oats than the thinner, rolled flakes. Understand that cooking such oats will take at least 50 percent more time than it would with the flakes. Still, this does depend on the cut of the oat and the recipe you are following.

3. Understand the Uses for Both Oats

You can make oatmeal with both rolled and steel-cut oats. Some people prefer steel-cut oats in their recipes because they have a more substantial texture or a bit of a crunch. Additionally, steel-cut oats have a nuttier flavor over rolled or regular oats. This can lend a toasted quality to an otherwise ordinary bowl of oatmeal.

As far as the nutritional content of rolled and steel-cut oats is concerned, you’ll find that they are both healthy. Oats possess vitamin E, iron and a wonder antioxidant known as avenanthramide. As published in “The Journal of Nutrition,” this unique oat compound helps to prevent damage to LDL cholesterol, making it a very heart-healthy choice.

As of late, it’s been the popular opinion that steel-cut oats have more health benefits than rolled oats. However, experts say that these grains have equal amounts of fiber and nutrients. In a nutshell, both add to a healthier diet and can help lower your cholesterol. Simply put, the primary difference between these two oats rests more in what you use them for and what taste you prefer.

Source: Livestrong.com

Another Reason To Eat Your Veggies

According to a new scientific study from the University of Oxford, vegetarians have new ammunition in their anti-meat crusade. The study claims that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower for vegetarians than for people who eat meat and fish.

The Oxford researchers examined 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland, an enormous sample size. Of this group, 34 percent were vegetarian. This high proportion of vegetarians is rare, making this particular study unique in reaching its conclusion.

Other factors which contribute to heart disease such as age, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, socioeconomic background, and education level were taken into account. Afterwards, the researchers arrived at the figure of 32 percent, the amount of reduced risk of heart disease for vegetarians.

In the study, vegetarians had lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels, as well as a lower body mass index (BMI) and fewer cases of diabetes.

 

Source: Environmental News Network

Meatless Monday

Food for thought……

If you aren’t ready to commit to a vegetarian or vegan diet full time, consider opting for a meat-free meal once each week, which can save 84,000 gallons of water per year.

Source: Earth911