Reducing your consumption of sugar is not only beneficial for trimming your waistline; it will also reduce your risk of heart disease, hyperactivity, arthritis, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Sugar is found in obvious foods and beverages like cake and soda. It is also hidden in a number of surprising food items, such as ketchup, soup mixes, canned meat and tomato sauce. Learning how to read ingredient labels in order to find hidden sugars will help you to follow a sugar-free, healthier diet plan.
Sugar by Other Names
Read food labels whenever possible. In addition to looking out for sugar in ingredient lists, be aware that sugar may be listed as corn syrup, fructose, lactose, maltose, malt, glucose, mannitol, maltose, sorghum, turbinado, crystalline fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sucrose, or maple syrup. There are many forms of sugar, some healthier than others. For example, agave syrup is a natural sweetener that has a low glycemic impact. If you are currently ?addicted? to sugar, making the switch to less processed sugars such as agave may be an important and effective first step in following a sugar-free diet.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
It may be tempting to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (also known by its brand names Equal, NutraSweet, Equal-Measure, and Spoonful). However, aspartame is one of the most dangerous food additives, and can lead to cancer, depression, headaches and insomnia.
Prepare Your Own Meals
The best way to avoid sugar in your diet as much as possible is to prepare your own food. This way, you can be certain that no sugar is added to your meals. When dining out, don?t hesitate to call ahead of time to ask what options are available that are free of sugar. As more people are requesting sugar-free meals, restaurant managers and chefs are learning to create healthier, delicious options.
Avoid Processed Foods
Grocery stores are chock full of processed foods. Whenever possible, avoid the middle sections of grocery stores and, instead, shop around the perimetre of grocery stores where you will find a wide selection of unprocessed, whole foods including fruits and vegetables. Many grocery stores now have bulk sections where you will find ingredients such as rice, pasta, flour, nuts, seeds, and other essentials that do not include additives. Bulk bins usually contain an ingredient list where you can check for sugar and sugar additives that go by other names.
Soon enough, your body and taste palate will adjust to your sugar-free diet. It will then be easier than ever to maintain a diet that offers many health benefits.
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Nut allergies affect millions of people around the world. Individuals with nut allergies may be allergic to tree nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds, or may be allergic to peanuts. It is common for people to be allergic to both tree nuts and peanuts. Even if you are only allergic to one type, many healthcare experts will recommend that you stay away from both since allergies can develop over time from repeated exposure.
In order to know what is safe for you to eat when following a nut free diet, it is important to determine what foods and beverages are unsafe.
The following nuts and products that contain nuts should be avoided:
- True nuts including almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
- Peanuts (beer nuts, monkey nuts, ground nuts)
- Nut oils (including arachis oil, which is peanut oil)
- Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.)
- Chocolate nut spread
- Marzipan, praline, nougat
- Crushed nuts, mixed nuts, nut pieces, nutmeat
- Peanut flour, almond flour, or any flours derived from nuts
- Pesto (usually contains pine nuts)
- Nut based liqueurs (e.g. Frangelica, Amaretto, Nocello)
- Satay sauce, peanut sauce
There are many types of foods that commonly contain nuts, including granola, granola bars, cereal, ice cream, baked goods, candy bars, trail mix, and fudge. Your best bet against consuming foods that contain nuts is to become familiar with ingredient labels. Particular attention must be shown to the allergen statement on a label, as many products may not contain nuts but are processed on the same machines where other products have been that do contain nuts.
In addition to reading labels when grocery shopping, it is also important to learn to safely order nut-free meals at restaurants. Nut allergies are one of the most common types of food allergies and potentially the most fatal if someone is anaphylactic. These days, most restaurants will offer safe alternatives or will modify meals so that nuts are not included. Since cross-contamination is prevalent with nuts, you may want to call the restaurant ahead of time to discuss your diet, especially if you have severe nut allergies.
While there are many types of foods and ingredients that contain nuts, you will find that there is still an array of food choices that you can enjoy on a nut-free diet. Fruit, vegetables, nut-free breads, meat, fish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, pasta, nut-free cereals (be sure to read ingredient labels), oatmeal, fruit smoothies, and nut-free baked goods are just a few options. Even foods that typically contain nuts, such as pesto, can be made without nuts and still offer plenty of flavour and nutrition.
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You may have decided to eliminate eggs from your diet for health reasons such as lowering your cholesterol or because you are allergic to eggs. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to be aware that eggs are used in a wide variety of food products. The best way to find out what you can eat on an egg free diet is to first learn what ingredients you’ll need to avoid.
Many types of baked goods are made with eggs. In particular, baked goods with a shiny glaze are most commonly topped with an egg preparation. When shopping for food, pay close attention to food labels. Besides simply looking out for products that include egg, it is important to be aware of hidden egg
ingredients such as albumin, silica albuminate, globulin, vitellan, phosvitin, livetin, and lysozyme. Ove means eggs in Latin, so people who are eliminating eggs from their diet also best avoid any ingredients that include ovo in their name.
If you are eating out, don’t hesitate to ask your waiter if certain dishes are made with eggs. In many cases, the egg can simply be left out of a dish, or alternatives will be suggested.
When baking, you will find that many recipes call for egg as one of the ingredients. However, eggs are primarily used to create a desirable consistency in baked goods, and do not significantly affect the flavour. Learn to use egg substitutes for consistency so that you can still enjoy your favourite baked goods. For example, bananas and applesauce are commonly used to replace eggs in certain baked products. Egg Replacer is an egg replacement product on the market that will not change the flavour of baked goods. With this product, all you’ll need to do is add water, and then add it to your recipe in place of eggs. For a homemade egg replacement, mix together 1 tbsp. of water, 1 tbsp. of vinegar, and 1 tsp of baking powder (equivalent to 1 egg).
Tofu is an ideal alternative for savoury foods such as egg salads, quiche, and frittatas. For example, to make an egg salad using tofu, all you will need is one block of firm tofu, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, ½ tsp lemon juice, ½ tsp. garlic powder, 1/3 cup sweet relish, 1 tbsp mustard, ½ tsp onion powder, stalk diced celery, and a dash of paprika (to taste). Simply mash the tofu with a fork, and then mix in the remaining ingredients. This is just one of many alternatives to dishes that typically include eggs.
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Contrary to popular belief, many modern healthcare experts have found that dairy isn?t all it?s cracked up to be. Many people do not make enough of the enzyme lactase that is found in dairy products. This leads to dairy intolerance. In addition, dairy has been linked to a number of health problems including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Whether you are avoiding dairy because you are lactose intolerant or because you would like to improve your overall health, you will find that there are still plenty of food options available.
If you are concerned about what you will add to your cereal in the morning, rest assured that there are many alternatives to milk. Soy milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are just a few options. These milk alternatives can be used when baking or for any recipe that calls for milk. Ice cream fans will be relieved to find that there are delicious alternatives such as ice cream made with coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk.
Learn to read food labels for obvious and hidden dairy ingredients. The following list will give you an idea of unsuspecting ingredients that are actually derived from dairy:
Avoid these ingredients in addition to any food that contains milk, cheese, cream, or butter. Whatever foods
you enjoy (that contain dairy), find out if there are alternatives. For example, do you enjoy yogurt? If so,
there are soy, almond, and coconut alternatives available these days.
If your goal is maintain optimum health while switching to non-dairy products, avoid highly processed ?fake?
cheeses. You will find that there are better alternatives out there such as nut cheeses or, for a tasty
alternative, avocado spreads or hummus. Since fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods are the cornerstone
of a healthy diet, you may find that these non-dairy choices help with weight management and improved
overall health. Have fun experimenting with new dairy-free recipes. For example, if you love pizza, try
topping your pizza with a cheese alternative or having a delicious pizza without cheese, but that is loaded
with vegetables and herbs.
These days, there are endless options for people who cannot eat dairy due to intolerance or who choose to
not eat dairy for health or ethical reasons. With time, it will become easier to read ingredient lists and to
become familiar with non-dairy foods so that avoiding dairy becomes second nature to you.
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Most people who are eliminating seeds from their diet do so because of digestive problems. People who have Crohn’s disease, for example, find seeds to be very difficult to digest, and they can end up with diarrhea and extreme gastric pain. Whole seeds are also best avoided when one has flare-ups from ulcerative colitis.
The problem is that seeds are hard to digest, and in people who have these conditions, they can be problematic. Even tiny seeds like the ones found on the outsides of strawberries can cause difficulty, and it’s best to avoid even products that contain fruits that have small seeds on the outside. Rye bread and other baked goods containing seeds should also be avoided.
Another problem can be diverticular disease. This means any infection, injury or inflammation to the diverticuli, which are pouches that form in the wall of the colon. The digestive process causes outward pressure on the lining of the colon, and creates these pouches. Eventually, they become thin-walled sacs that can become infected or inflamed. For people with this condition, a high fiber diet is warranted, along with lots of water to keep the stool soft. The research doesn’t indicate that seeds present a problem for this type of disorder, but anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that they do. Often, seeds are undigested, and they could actually become stuck in the diverticuli, so they’re probably best avoided.
If you intend to adopt a seed free diet, you need to know that you will be depriving yourself of a good source of valuable nutrients. You may want to supplement a seed free diet by taking a multivitamin.
On a seed free diet, you should also avoid eating nuts. Any other food, obviously, is not a seed, and therefore is perfectly permissible. Make sure to get enough fiber, though – seeds are a great source of dietary fiber, so you’re going to want to increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
If you think seeds may be causing digestive problems, consult your doctor. Make sure you get regular screenings for colon cancer as well, just in case your digestive difficulties are an indication of something more serious. For most people, eliminating seeds from the diet won’t be any great hardship, so a seed free diet is easy to follow.
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Top 10 Foods for the Brain
When preparing for exams the brain can use all the help it can get to increase learning ability, memory and concentration. Fortunately for test takers, numerous, well-regarded research studies have identified the following top 10 brain boosting foods to improve brain health and function.
Fish—Fatty fish, such as wild salmon and sardines, contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which are associated with improved focus and memory. In fact, the brain requires an adequate amount of omega-3 for optimal performance.
Eggs—This brain boosting food, particularly its yolk, contains choline. It is a substance similar to vitamin B that helps to improve memory.
Avocados—Rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, Avocados promote vascular health and improve blood flow for a healthy brain.
Spinach—These leafy greens are packed with vitamins C and E. These vitamins improve cognitive abilities, according to several scientific studies. In addition, spinach contains a healthy dose of vitamin K.
Carrots and Celery— These two brain vegetables contain high amounts of luteolin. This compound has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain and prevent memory loss.
Berries—Vitamin-rich super berries such as blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are bursting with antioxidants. Researchers believe antioxidants help to create strong connections among brain cells, as well as help to build new cells.
Apples—This flavorful fruit is a fantastic source of the antioxidant quercetin. It protects the brain’s cells from the harmful effects of free radicals and prevents cognitive decline.
Green Tea— Polyphenols in green tea protect the brain from daily wear and tear. A recent study also found that drinking green tea extract enhances memory.
Dark Chocolate—This treat is full of flavonoids, which have powerful antioxidant properties to improve brain health. In addition, chocolate contains the natural stimulate caffeine. But be cautious. Eating too much before taking a test may backfire by over stimulating the brain.
Water—Although not considered a food, water increases brain power by keeping cells hydrated and functioning at their best. Research shows that dehydration can cause brain tissue to shrink, affecting mental performance. In fact, a study found that well-hydrated test takers scored much better on tests compared to those who weren’t.
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