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Volume III
April 27, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Go Ahead and Eat These Foods!

By Patty Liston

Is it just me, or are there conflicting voices as to what is and is not "good" for us to eat? I remember years ago when the sale of barbeque briquettes plummeted for awhile because someone suggested that using your outdoor grill to cook on was not particularly healthy. Fortunately, barbequing is alive and well as one of America's favorite summer past times.

There are other things that have received a bad rap over the years, some deservedly so; others, like those on the list below, can be taken out of detention and given a second look.

Peanut Butter - Too high in fat

Okay, it is, but that doesn't mean we can't eat it in moderation. Just one tablespoon is 90 calories; surely enough to make a peanut butter and banana, or apple sandwich. (Gotta get your fruit in there!) Peanut butter is a good source of protein and folate, a B vitamin that is necessary for the development of new, healthy cells.

Beef - Not heart healthy due to dietary cholesterol

While this is true of some cuts of meat, lean cuts are a low-fat source of protein and iron, a mineral many women are deficient in. Instead of thinking about prime rib, look for filet mignon (splurge!), sirloin, strip steak, or flank steak. Lean meats are typically a deep red color and have very little marbling - or fat - in them.

Chocolate - lots of fat and sugar (but really, who cares?)

Let's be honest. Chocolate could be responsible for a plague of locusts and we would still have it hidden in our homes. But, if you want to be healthy about eating it, dark chocolate is the best. It actually has "flavanols, antioxidants" that appear to have a blood-thinning effect which can benefit our cardiovascular health.

Do you feel any stress in your life? According to Eating Well Magazine, researchers in Switzerland reported that "eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in highly stressed people". Just remember before reaching for that dark chocolate square, that those 1.4 ounces contain 235 calories.

Nuts - again, the fat

There are good fats and bad fats. Nuts contain the good, heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Pistachios keep your eyes healthy, almonds give you vitamin E and walnuts contain great amounts of heart-healthy omega 3 fats. Nuts are higher in calories, so eating large amounts is probably not a good idea. Pecans are lower in calories so give those a try!

Bread - Carbs,carbs, carbs!

I've got to say, I've never met bread I didn't like. Of course, the refined grain breads (white, sourdough, get the idea), hold no real nutritional value. The new Dietary Guidelines recommend "making at least half of the grains you consume whole grains". In other words, start buying 100% whole grain and fwheat bread. These breads have more of the fiber we Americans are lacking in our diet, are nutrient rich and vitamin fortified. I've made the switch and have my favorites that I look forward to toasting with a little peanut butter on top! If I'm stressed, I'll add some dark chocolate.

Just kidding. Kind of.

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